The Maui Invitational continues on Tuesday, as well as a big group of other games that should be pretty fun. Here’s what to expect on Tuesday.
Best game — Kansas vs. UCLA — 10 ET, ESPN
Kansas still figures to be in the mix at the end of the season despite an early loss to Michigan State. The Jayhawks are coming off of scoring the most points in their decade-plus under Bill Self against Chaminade on Monday. UCLA beat what was a solid, athletic UNLV team behind strong performances from Thomas Welsh and Bryce Alford. Neither of these teams are particularly playing well defensively right now, so this one could get into a pretty high score by the time it finishes up on Wednesday morning.
Second-best game — Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt — 7:30 ET, ESPN
Vanderbilt dominated St. John’s in the quarterfinals, while Wake Forest picked up a nice upset victory over Indiana. While the Hoosiers and Commodores figured to combine to create one of the best offensive matchups of the season, this one should still be pretty fun. The Demon Deacons looked pretty good against Indiana, getting whatever they wanted offensively. The Commodores have a stronger perimeter defense than the Hoosiers though, so it’ll be interesting to see how Danny Manning and Wake try to attack this one.
Another to watch — Valparaiso at
Can Valparaiso pull off against Oregon State what it barely couldn’t at Oregon? It wouldn’t be a surprise at all. The Crusaders are a terrific group defensively with experience all over the floor and a genuine star on the mid-major level in Alec Peters. On the other side, the Beavers figure to be much better this season and contend for an NCAA Tournament bid. Gary Payton II is one of the best defensive players in the country, and he’s surrounded by more shooting and offense than last season. This is going to be a hard-nosed defensive game that could go either way.
Matchup to watch — Ben Simmons vs. Abdul-Malik Abu
Simmons had a terrific game against Marquette on Monday, throwing up a 21-point, 20-rebound, seven-assist night. On Tuesday, he’ll have to go up against a terrific athlete in Abu with length who could give him some issues. Also, given that Simmons’ scoring ability is largely based around finishing at the rim, it might be fun to see him have to do that against Beejay Anya and his 7-foot-9 wingspan. Miss this one at your own peril as Simmons has become appointment viewing at this point in college hoops.
Pick of the night — Indiana -16.5 over St. John’s
Let’s just keep riding against the Red Storm in Maui after picking against them yesterday in their game against Vanderbilt. Indiana should be pretty angry following its loss to Wake, and I’m not sure that St. John’s guards have the speed to really hurt Indiana in the pick-and-roll like the Demon Deacons did. Let’s ride with Tom Crean and the Hoosiers.
- Kentucky is the new No. 1 team in the country, and it takes on Boston University in what should be a relatively breezy early-season affair.
- North Carolina takes on Kansas State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic title game.
- Indiana will look to get back on the right side of the ledger with a matchup against St. John’s.
- Rhode Island takes on TCU in a game that should be interesting as the Rams still adjust to not having E.C. Matthews around.
- Pepperdine vs. Murray State could be a fun under-the-radar mid-major game in the Gulf Coast Showdown.
- Cincinnati takes on Southeastern Louisiana in a game that should be a comfortable win.
- Wofford against Columbia is a mid-major game that should feature a lot of efficient offense.
- Illinois State takes on Maryland in the Cancun Challenge. That seems like a nice way to spend Thanksgiving.
- Marquette vs. Arizona State is the Legends Classic final, in a matchup of former Duke guards that are now coaches in Bobby Hurley and Steve Wojciechowski.
- Finally, Oklahoma plays Incarnate Word in a matchup that should at least bring some points.