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Gonzaga’s 1-2 matchup highlights the UCLA hoops tourney feast

This time of year is all about friends and family, turkey and pie, and lots of football to take the day off.

It’s better to make some room for some basketball as well.

The rise of discounted tournaments over the years has turned the week of Thanksgiving into a reason to be thankful for a few college hoops. Just about every day is overflowing with tantalizing matchups, which not only serve as a Top 25 shake-up during the early part of the season but could also serve as a restart around March.

Whether they’re in the Virgin Islands or the Bahamas, Mexico, or somewhere across the US, here’s a look at some of the early-season tournaments that should provide a televised feast for sports fans.

Empire Classic

May well address the big player first: top-ranked Gonzaga will face No. 2 UCLA at the Good Sam Empire Classic in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, a rematch of the thrilling national semifinal won by the Bulldogs in overtime.

“I was watching our UCLA game last night – they literally have their entire team back,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We’re completely different of course, and to Mick’s (Cronin’s) credit, he used it as a springboard. He’s playing really confidently and a lot like he played in the NCAA Tournament. Was. “

It will be the first time the Bruins have faced the nation’s No. 1 team in the regular season since December 3, 2016, when they defeated top-ranked Kentucky at Roop Arena.

“Mick and I worked really hard to put this game together,” said some. “We realized we needed to do things like this because of West Coast basketball, and we’re going to continue to do that. But with these high rankings it’s time to navigate our way in the sport, whether they’re real or not. No – we’ll find out in February – should make for a fun night out.

Maui Invitational

One of the premier early-season tournaments will be replayed on the mainland as COVID-19 numbers 12 with Houston joining Oregon, Wisconsin and Butler in the Maui Invitational. The games will be played at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, after being played in Asheville, North Carolina last season.

Fort Myers Tip-Off

Seton Hall leapfrogged the then-number one to jump into the top 25 at number 21. 4 Michigan last week. The Pirates will join No. 23 Florida and Ohio State in headlining the Fort Myers Tip-Off at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena.

Battle 4 Atlantis

One of the best early season tournaments is back after the cancellation of COVID-19. Battle 4 Atlantis features a series of big-time matchups beginning Wednesday: No. 22 Yukon against No. 19 Auburn, Loyola-Chicago against Michigan State, Virginia Commonwealth against Syracuse and No. 6 Baylor against Arizona State.

NIT Season Tip-Off

A longtime staple of the New York City hoops scene these days it happens at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Number 25 Xavier will face Iowa State and number nine Memphis will face Virginia Tech in the first round on Wednesday night.

wooden mantle

Number 24 Southern California will no longer have to look far to go when it faces St. Joseph at the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday night. The state of San Diego annexes Georgetown to Wooden Legacy the same night.

ESPN Event Invitational

Fourth-placed Kansas and No. 10 Alabama are headliners at the ESPN Events Invitational starting Thursday at the HP Field House in Kissimi, Florida. The Jayhawks face North Texas and the Crimson Tide play Iona in first round games, while Belmont plays Drake and Dayton plays Miami in the other two matchups.

Emerald Coast Classic

Elsewhere in Florida, LSU played Penn State and Oregon State faced Wake Forest in the main bracket of the Emerald Coast Classic hosted by Northwest Florida State College on Friday. The championship match is Saturday.

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For more NWN College Basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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