College Basketball Early Season Tournaments


The Maui Jim Maui Invitational is one of the many great college basketball tournaments this November.

By Jack Woodard, Sports Editor

College basketball is officially back and November is truly a great time for it.  Every die hard fan knows about the early season tournaments in college basketball and these tournaments are always thrilling to watch.  These early season tournaments happen all over the country, and even out, and usually fall around Thanksgiving weekend. There are way too many tournaments to break down in one article but the following will be a preview of all the tournaments true college basketball fans will not want to miss in the coming weeks.


Myrtle Beach Invitational

When: Quarterfinals on Thursday, November 21, Semifinals on Friday, November 22, and Championship on Sunday, November 24

Where: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Teams: #24 Baylor, Coastal Carolina, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Ohio, Tulane, Utah, #10 Villanova

The Myrtle Beach Invitational promises to be a good one with four big name teams and four smaller teams looking to make a name for themselves.  If all goes according to plan, we will see a top 25 matchup between Villanova and Baylor in the Championship of this tournament. Don’t count out anyone else, however, as teams are still getting into their form and upsets have been known to happen in these tournaments.  Villanova has won its last 6 early season tournaments.

Jack’s pick: Villanova


Charleston Classic

When: Quarterfinals on Thursday, November 21, Semifinals on Friday November 22, and Championship on Sunday, November 24

Where: Charleston, South Carolina

Teams: Buffalo, UCONN, #16 Florida, Miami, Missouri State, St. Joseph’s, Towson, #21 Xavier

Just like the Myrtle Beach Invitational, if all goes as planned, Xavier and Florida will face off in a top 25 showdown for the Charleston Classic.  However, this may not be so simple. Buffalo has been a very good team in recent years and could make some noise in this tournament. Florida needs to prove that they are a contender this year after a less than stellar performance against North Florida and a loss to Florida State to start the season.  Look for an underdog to make a run in this tournament.  

Jack’s pick: Xavier


2K Classic

When: Semifinals on Thursday, November 21 and Championship on Friday, November 22

Where: New York City, New York

Teams: California, #2 Duke, Georgetown, Texas

The 2K Classic raises money for wounded warriors and is truly a great tournament.  Duke comes in as the heavy favorite and will look to continue their hot streak after beating Kansas in their first game.

Jack’s pick: Duke


Air Force Reserve Hall of Fame Tip-off

When: Semifinals on Saturday, November 23 and Championship on Sunday, November 24

Where: Uncasville, Connecticut

Teams: Arizona State, UMASS, St. John’s, #9 Virginia

The defending National Champions, Virginia, will look to add another title to their belt in this tournament.  Virginia’s defense has been suffocating this year allowing just 34 points in each of their first two games (against Syracuse and James Madison).  Expect Tony Bennet’s team to keep up the relentless defense.

Jack’s pick: Virginia


MGM Resorts Main Event

When: Semifinals on Sunday, November 24 and Championship on Tuesday, November 26

Where: Paradise, Nevada

Teams: Clemson, #25 Colorado, TCU, Wyoming

This tournament features teams who are all looking to make names for themselves this college basketball season and will feature some competitive basketball.  Colorado won their first game against conference foe Arizona State and caught the eyes of people all over the country. TCU is expected to be competitive in the Big 12 and Clemson will look to show that they are not just going to fade away this year after a successful season last year but losing to Virginia Tech in their opener.  

Jack’s pick: Clemson


Maui Jim Maui Invitational

When: Quarterfinals on Monday, November 25, Semifinals on Tuesday, November 26, and Championship on Wednesday, November 27

Where: Lahaina, Hawaii

Teams: BYU, Chaminade (D II), Dayton, Georgia, #5 Kansas, #3 Michigan State, UCLA, Virginia Tech

One of the most iconic tournaments in college basketball, the Maui Invitational promises to be a good one yet again.  Michigan State and Kansas will both look to play better on the big stage after opening losses against top ten teams. Chaminade hosts this tournament every year and has given some bigger schools a run for their money in some years.  Sit back and watch college basketball being played from paradise.

Jack’s pick: Michigan State


Legends Classic

When: Semifinals on Monday, November 25 and Championship on Tuesday, November 26

Where: Brooklyn, New York

Teams: #22 Auburn, New Mexico, Richmond, Wisconsin

Auburn comes in as the favorites and will look to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.  Bruce Pearl will have his guys ready to go for this one. However, don’t count out the other teams, as Richmond and New Mexico are tough smaller conference teams and Wisconsin is a tough Big Ten team that took a ranked St. Mary’s squad to overtime.

Jack’s pick: Auburn


Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis

When: Quarterfinals on Wednesday, November 27, Semifinals on Thursday, November 28, and Championship on Friday, November 29

Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas

Teams: Alabama, #8 Gonzaga, Iowa State, Michigan, #6 North Carolina, #14 Oregon, #12 Seton Hall, Southern Mississippi

A classic tournament that all college basketball fans watch on Thanksgiving and this year may just be the best one yet.  This tournament features 4 ranked teams and will have some amazing basketball being played. Many are viewing this as the best November tournament in college basketball this year.  This tournament will give us an insight into some of the best teams in college basketball this year and will certainly satisfy any fan watching. The best team will come out victorious.

Jack’s pick: Seton Hall


ESPN Orlando Invitational

When: Quarterfinals on Thursday, November 28, Semifinals on Friday, November 29, and Championship on Sunday, December 1

Where: Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Teams: Davidson, Fairfield, Harvard, Marquette, #7 Maryland, Temple, Texas A&M, USC

The Orlando Invitational may feature only one ranked team but don’t let that fool you, this tournament is made up of some very good basketball teams.  Marquette is a force to be reckoned with this year and is projected by many to compete for a Big East title, Temple is a very good team that could pull of an upset, Harvard is a team that has always been near tough out of the Ivy League, and Texas A&M will look to make a name for themselves this season.  Maryland appears to be the favorite of this tournament but this one is truly up for grabs.

Jack’s pick: Maryland


Wooden Legacy

When: Quarterfinals on Thursday, November 28, Semifinals on Friday, November 29, and Championship on Sunday, December 1

Where: Anaheim, California

Teams: #19 Arizona, College of Charleston, Long Beach State, Penn, Pepperdine, Providence, UCF, Wake Forest

Another tournament scheduled around Thanksgiving that all fans should keep an eye on.  Arizona will look to live up to expectations and take home a trophy but teams like UCF and Providence will have something to say about that.  UCF will look to have another successful season this year after an NCAA tournament appearance last year and Providence will be a competitive team out of the Big East. 

Jack’s pick: Arizona


Las Vegas Invitational

When: Semifinals on Thursday, November 28 and Championship on Friday, November 29
Where: Paradise, Nevada

Teams: Creighton, Iowa, San Diego State, #11 Texas Tech

Texas Tech will look to repeat their season from last year which ended in the National Championship and they will hope to start by winning a trophy at the Las Vegas Invitational.  Creighton and San Diego State are both very competitive teams that stand in their way. A Texas Tech vs. Creighton matchup seems very intriguing and it would be a great opportunity for Creighton to prove that they are for real this season.

Jack’s pick: Texas Tech


These are just a few of the many tournaments this November that are sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats.  These tournaments set the tone for the rest of the year and almost always bring out the underdogs that make a run, the teams we may have looked past too soon, the overrated teams, and the good teams who live up to expectations.

“I’m super excited to see how these tournaments come out and it’s always really fun to watch them around Thanksgiving.  This is one of the highlights of the entire college basketball season in my opinion,” said senior fan Brook Zeleke.

Who says the NFL on Thanksgiving has to be the main event?  Sports fans, sit back and grab a turkey leg, because November tournaments are here and they are always exciting to watch.