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November 20, 2006

SCS.comAfter the Coaches vs Cancer Classic came to a close last Friday following two great evenings of action in New York City, a number of other preseason events will resume and then conclude their activity this holiday week, including the CBE Classic in Kansas City and the Preseason NIT in NYC. Also getting underway this week are the Maui Invitational, the Old Spice Classic, and others. Finally, the upcoming seven days also features what is undoubtedly the best game of the season so far. Florida and Kansas, both rankded among the top three teams in the country in our Preseason Fab 15, will go head-to-head in Las Vegas Saturday evening.


Alabama eliminated Iowa and Xavier took down Villanova Sunday evening, setting up an impressive final between the Crimson Tide and Musketeers Monday evening in the Virgin Islands. The winner takes home the title - and a couple of nice wins - just in time for the Thanksgiving holidays.

MAUI INVITATIONAL - Monday through Wednesday

This is always a classic Thanksgiving week meet down on the beach, and this year is no exception. The top half of the bracket features Oklahoma, Memphis, Purdue, and Georgia Tech, while the bottom portion includes DePaul, Kentucky, Chaminade, and UCLA. The best opening-day matchup appears to be OU-UM, while a Memphis/Georgia Tech and Kentucky/UCLA day two would certainly be a treat.

CBE CLASSIC - Monday through Tuesday

Texas Tech will meet Marquette in one semifinal matchup, while Duke will take on Air Force in the other. The winners and losers will then meet on Tuesday, all of the action taking place in Kansas City.

PRESEASON NIT - Wednesday, Friday

Tennessee will battle upset-minded Butler in one semifinal showdown, while North Carolina and Gonzaga will meet in the other. Butler knocked off both Notre Dame and Indiana this past week and is already one of the hottest teams in the land. North Carolina, though, has to be the early favorite to pull through here after the Heels survived a scare from Winthrop last week.

GREAT ALASKA SHOOTOUT - Wednesday through Saturday

It isn't a great field in Alaska, but this bracket is always worth keeping an eye on. Loyola Marymount, Alaska-Anchorage, UMKC, and Pacific highlight the top half, while the bottom half is made up of Hawaii, Hofstra, Marshall, and California.

OLD SPICE CLASSIC - Thursday, Friday, Sunday

A pretty impressive field of teams is set to gather in Orlando over the holiday weekend. Arkansas will meet Southern Illinois in Thanksgiving day's top round one matchup, while other games that day include Minnesota-Marist, Virginia Tech-Western Michigan, and West Virginia-Montana. The action continues on Friday before a champion is crowned on Sunday.

SOUTH PADRE INVITATIONAL - Friday through Saturday

Eight teams - Auburn, Delaware State, East Tennessee State, Missouri State, Oklahoma State, Sam Houston State, Southern, and Wisconsin - will gather in south Texas over the weekend for a two-day event. The Badgers are likely the best of the bunch, but MSU and OSU may have something to say about that before the weekend is complete.

Winthrop at Maryland - Monday

The Eagles nearly took down UNC and then did knock off Mississippi State last week, so how will they handle test number three against the CvC champs?

Oregon at Rice - Monday

Oregon and super-freshman Tajuan Porter have won four in a row to start the season, but the Owls and their star Morris Almond won't be easy to take down on the road.

Mississippi State at Clemson - Tuesday

Both squads have NCAA hopes this season, but if those dreams are to have a chance to come true, wins like this are a must.

Vermont at Michigan State - Tuesday

After winning at BC, the Catamounts lost at home to Drexel. Perplexing, eh? How will the Spartans bounce back after a CvC runner-up finish?

Valparaiso at NC State - Tuesday

Little is expeted from the Wolfpack this season, and this will certainly test the young NCSU squad and new head coach Sidney Lowe.

Bucknell at Penn State - Tuesday

One of the country's better mid-majors heads out from home to battle a Lion squad hoping to make a move upward this seaon.

Iowa State at Minnesota - Tuesday

Quality Big XII-Big Ten matchup between two teams with much to prove in the days ahead.

Kansas State at New Mexico - Tuesday

The Lobos are pumped after trouncing Colorado last week, and now they'll get a shot at another Big XII team, this one coached by newly-hired Bob Huggins.

Vanderbilt at Wake Forest - Tuesday

The 'Dores couldn't pull through against Georgetown last week but will get their shot at another quality east coast team on Tuesday.

Charlotte at Syracuse - Wednesday

Much is expected of the Orange this year, while Charlotte is still somewhat of a mystery. Will those opinions change after this matchup?

Louisville at Dayton - Friday

The Flyers should give Louisville a good challenge the day after Thanksgiving.

Florida State at Pittsburgh - Friday

Expectations are high for both, though the Panthers' goals are a bit more lofty.

Eastern Washington at Washington - Friday

Star Rodney Stuckey hopes to lead his squad to an upset of their in-state rival on the road.

Western Kentucky at Florida - Friday

The Hilltoppers took down Georgia, but doing the same at Florida will take a much greater effort.

George Mason at Creighton - Saturday

Both teams lost disppointing games this past weekend, meaning this contest becomes all the more important.

Texas Tech at UTEP - Saturday

It's a west Texas showdown when these two in-state squads go head-to-head.

Wichita State at LSU - Saturday

After winning on the road at George Mason last weekend, the Shockers now look to take down one of America's best teams.

Iowa at Arizona State - Saturday

Both teams are in a rebuilding stage, so this matchup should provide a good gauge for where each squad sits at this point.

Kansas at Florida - Saturday

Undoubtedly the game of the week (and the game of the year thus far), this contest is a must-see, even if it means flipping back and forth between it and football. Both teams have legitimate national title hopes this season, and the game will be on a neutral court, which will give it that NCAA Tournament-like feel.

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