Early season tournaments are always fun to keep an eye on in college basketball. Here are the best ones to watch in 2020-21.
As the 2020-2021 season approaches, college basketball fans look toward the regular season and the NCAA Tournament and see the world of possibilities that surround the teams that we love to watch every day. One of those exciting times comes in the early season tournaments where many teams get the opportunity to watch their team play against non-conference teams. Here are three early season tournaments that I think would be interesting.
2K Empire Classic
Teams: Baylor, Michigan, NC State, Villanova
Winner: Villanova defeats Baylor 69-62
Both Villanova and Baylor will be amazing to watch as they have added great pieces to their already solid teams. Villanova has gained Caleb Daniels, a transfer from Tulane who averaged 16.9 points per game. Still, having a lot of the same core means stronger initial chemistry than a lot of the other teams. Having the same chemistry is similar to what Maryland went through this season as they only lost one key player and ended up performing very well again.
Baylor should be bringing back at least two of their three guards, so they should look to do well in the regular season. However, with the firepower that Villanova is bringing in compared to Baylor, I don’t see Baylor hanging on defensively against Nova’s quick-fire offense.
Rocket Mortgage Classic
Teams: Butler, Colorado, South Florida, Wisconsin
Winner: Wisconsin defeats Butler 75-73
Wisconsin is looking to perform great this year after leaving last year on a high note (#1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament) and they have many of their starters coming back this season. With a frontcourt that consists of Potter, Ford, and Reuvers, I don’t see anyone stopping this team in this tournament.
I do, however, think Butler would compete strongly with them. Butler has a core that has been strong for a while and has proven themselves this season. This early season tournament should be quick in its first rounds but the final matchup will be worthwhile.
Battle 4 Atlantis
Teams: Creighton, Duke, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Utah, West Virginia, Wichita State
Winner: West Virginia defeats Duke 75-68
This tournament was quite the spectacle last year and should be this year as well. Michigan, who no one expected to win, took home the crown and ended up making a comeback to the Top 25 because of this tournament.
The favorites here in this early season tournament are easily Duke, Creighton, and Ohio State. However, I see West Virginia playing on a hot streak and winning it all. Their ball movement and their young core could be shaky at the beginning of the tournament but they will mostly likely quickly adapt and adjust to the situation around them.
Playing against higher competition will most certainly elevate players such as Oscar Tshiebwe and Miles McBride. Duke, with players such as Jalen Johnson and Jeremy Roach, has a lot to prove with another new roster, however, I’m positive their raw talent can take them to the finals.