College Basketball is just under 18 hours away. We sat down last night to talk about everything we are looking forward to. As all podcasters learn, you’ll go through some learning curves in terms of recording, audio issues, video issues, and many other problems. We experienced that for the first time last night recording episode 2 of Press Break. Jake and Brandon sat down and talked about how COVID has made it difficult to follow along with who is playing in these opening week tournaments and possible solutions moving forward. They followed that up by discussing some of their favorite tournaments and the teams involved. Unfortunately, the recording and the backup recording did not work well enough to produce an episode. We are still going to bring you our thoughts on several tournaments that will be tipping off tomorrow. We will get the issues resolved and be back to talk about how these tournaments played out and the new Top 25.
Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic:
What I’m looking forward to: Amid recent news that (11) Creighton has withdrawn, Memphis now headlines the tournament as the likely Championship Game opponent for (15) West Virginia. This matchup presents opportunity for West Virginia to grab a quality win for its resume, as Memphis received 69-votes in the Pre-Season Top-25 rankings. I anticipate Memphis will finish in the Top-25 come NCAA Tournament time and, with a top-heavy Big XII, a win here could bump the Mountaineers up a line or two when the committee releases the field of 68.
Who could surprise: Don’t sleep on Utah State. The Aggies return a lot of experience and depth. Marco Anthony looks to shine this year for coach Craig Smith and their size inside could create issues. They’d have to get through West Virginia to reach the title game in this one.
Prediction: (15) West Virginia vs. Memphis in the Championship Game with the Mountaineers prevailing.
What I’m looking forward to: I finally get to watch the Mountaineers play some basketball. I’m looking forward to see how much this offense has improved since a year ago. They will be tested as every team is coming for them in this tournament. I don’t like having to go up against all mid major opponents. The teams that will arrive in South Dakota are all well coached, upper classman teams.
Who could surprise: Memphis and West Virginia are the top tier in this tournament. I think Northern Iowa can give them a run for their money. AJ Green (no not the receiver) is electric and could take over the tournament if teams leave him open. They’ll try to run him off of a bunch of screens but he can also create off the dribble so watch out for him to make the all tournament team.
Prediction: (15) West Virginia vs. Northern Iowa in the Championship Game with the Mountaineers taking home the trophy.
Empire 2K Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project:
What I’m looking forward to: COVID issues have left a lot of teams in limbo, including Arizona State. Bobby Hurley’s squad spent most of the weeks leading up to now preparing for a matchup with (2) Baylor. Then it was possibly (4) Virginia. Now (as of 1:30 PM) it’s Rhode Island. All three of those teams call for a different game plan, so it will be interesting to see how prepared the Sun Devils present themselves.
Who could surprise: Boston College comes into the season returning Jay Heath and Steffon Mitchell, but they also return Wynston Tabbs who, prior a season-ending knee injury, average 14 PPG, 4 rebound and 3 assists. I think Boston College is underrated, with reason, but could make some noise early in their matchup with (3) Villanova.
Prediction: (3) Villanova vs. (18) Arizona State in the Championship Game with Jay Wright’s team hoisting the hardware.
What I’m looking forward to: COVID will be Bobby Hurley’s biggest test in this tournament. No he doesn’t have it. But with the constant changing of games, he will need to have his guys ready for anything. It appears that they’ll now be taking on Rhode Island. This will be a good matchup with both head coaches knowing each other well. If the Sun Devils can get through that game, they are awarded the chance to take on Villanova. Remy Martin is fun to watch so let’s get through these next few hours so we can watch him step on the court and put up points.
Who could surprise: I don’t see many surprises happening in this tournament. Villanova is too good compared to the other teams. The surprise will be who steps up as the second scorer behind Collin Gillespie.
Prediction: (3) Villanova vs. (18) Arizona State in the Championship Game. Jay Wright and the Wildcats cruise to a double digit victory.
Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off:
What I’m looking forward to: Here’s where we get our first look at pre-season #1 Gonzaga, and they’ll be tested right out of the gate. The opening game of this tournament pits (6) Kansas against the (1) Zags. Things don’t get easier from there when they take on Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers. Auburn has lost a lot since their Final Four run in 2018-2019, but you can bank on Bruce Pearl bringing elite speed on the perimeter and a fast-tempo game with length and athleticism. Will the Mark Few and the Zags handle the March Madness-like back-to-back against these opponents unscathed? I’m looking forward to finding out over Thanksgiving.
Who could surprise: Saint Joseph’s seems out of place in this field but I’m not picking them to be a surprise team in this field. I like Auburn, if any, to make a statement in this tournament and put the rest of the SEC on alert.
Prediction: (1) Gonzaga vs Auburn in the Championship Game with the Zags taking care of business in a tightly contested matchup.
What I’m looking forward to: The big matchup to start it all off will be #1 Gonzaga against #6 Kansas. Bill Self will be looking to replace his two best players in Devon Dotson and Udoka Azuibuke. The Jayhawks defense was second in terms of efficiency last year next to Virginia. Marcus Garrett is behind much of that and it should continue in the game against the Zags.
Who could surprise: Bryce Thompson will show he is up to the task of taking over for Dotson at the point guard spot. My big prediction of the week is the Jayhawks win this whole tournament led by Thompson.
Prediction: (6) Kansas vs. Auburn with the Jayhawks taking home the trophy for a huge early season resume builder.