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November 22, 2010

SCS.comTexas Southern played at Oklahoma and lost by 30 Thursday night. The Sooners might finish in last place in the Big 12, but that score was no surprise, right?

The surprise came yesterday, when the 0-3 Tigers ó who finished 17-16 last year for their first winning record in seven years ó won in Corvallis and sent another crushing blow to Craig Robinsonís perplexing Oregon State program. OSU is now 1-2 this season and also lost at Seattle; only by three points this time, as opposed to 51 last year. So thereís some progress for Robinsonís program, which has also lost to Sacramento State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Illinois-Chicago, Howard, Yale and Montana State during the past three years.

And somehow, the Beavers have managed to win 15 Pac-10 games in Robinsonís first two seasons. I donít exactly have a point to this diatribe, except to point out that I canít think of team in recent history thatís suffered this many embarrassing losses in such a short period of time. Oregon State players have gone on the record to say this is the most talented team theyíve had in years; maybe theyíll actually beat Howard this Saturday, huh? Itíd be quite the upset.


Maui Invitational (key teams: Wichita State, Connecticut, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Washington, Virginia)

The only enticing opening round game is Wichita State/Connecticut this afternoon. And interestingly, the Shockers of the Missouri Valley are the clear favorite. Theyíre a better team with better players. Simple as that. This is as big as it gets for Gregg Marshall in Novemberóif his team canít knock off UConn in Maui, itíll be tough to convince the nation (and later on, the NCAA Tournament selection committee) that itís for real. The Terrance Jones saga between Kentucky and Washington is the other storyline in Maui, as a potential second-round match-up could pit Jonesí Kentucky team against Lorenzo Romarís Huskies, the team he originally committed to via a ridiculous hat ceremony.

CBE Classic (key teams: Duke, Marquette, Kansas State, Gonzaga)

Itís a big week for Gonzaga. Elias Harris is battling an injury, but the Bulldogs need to recover from that home loss to San Diego State last Tuesday. It was a difficult loss to swallow because it anointed SDSU as the king of the West in front of a nationally televised audience. Things wonít get much easier when the Zags face Kansas State tonight. In the early game, Duke may face some stiff competition from Buzz Williamsí feisty Marquette team, but Iím expecting a Duke/Kansas State showdown in the final.

Pre-Season NIT (key teams: VCU, Tennessee, UCLA, Villanova)

Bruce Pearl is the only guy anyone wants to talk about these days, but the storyline in New York this week is if UCLA can make a statement after last yearís disaster. Something tells me Ben Howland will have his Bruins ready to play this weekóand the rest of the season, for that matter.

Old Spice Classic (Wisconsin, Boston College, Texas A&M, Georgia, Notre Dame, Temple, California)

Itís a Thanksgiving tradition: wake up and watch the Old Spice classic all day. Well, thatís my tradition at least. This yearís field isnít exactly loaded, but itís an interesting one to say the last. Temple/California is the game Iím most awaiting, because Iíve got a feeling Mike Montgomeryís Cal team will shock the world this year.

76 Classic (key teams: Virginia Tech, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Murray State, Stanford, Tulsa, UNLV)

Outside Virginia Tech and probably UNLV, is Murray State the next best team in this field? I can see a reasonable scenario in which Billy Williamsí experienced squad wins this whole thing.

South Padre Island Invitational (key teams: Saint Maryís, BYU, Texas Tech, South Florida)

This tournament doesnít have a website, so it took me awhile to figure out who was actually playing in it. Itís on Fox College Sports and has incredibly low-quality production value, and itís played in an amazingly small gym. And even with all that, it still features two of the best teams in the West.

Last weekís prediction record: 10-4
Overall prediction record: 22-5

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