Early-season Tourneys Determine Matchups

It’s mid-July, so of course, we should be talking about holiday tournaments in college basketball.

While it may seem a little early, some of the top early-season tournaments have released their pairings recently, whetting any college basketball fan’s appetite for the feast of hoops to come in the late fall months.

Here’s a quick look at some of the top tournaments featuring eight-team fields and their potential matchups.

Maui Invitational

Last season’s Maui Invitational provided us a classic matchup between Duke and Gonzaga in the championship game, and this season could bring just as big of a matchup. Michigan State — considered by many to be the preseason No. 1 team — and Kansas — also a top five selection in most preseason polls so far — are on a collision course in this one.

The Jayhawks will open against host Chaminade, while the Spartans will take on Virginia Tech in their opener. Other first-round matchups include Dayton vs. Georgia and UCLA vs. BYU, giving the Maui one of the deeper fields of all of the early-season tournaments.

The Maui will be held Nov. 25 through Nov. 27 in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Battle 4 Atlantis

Another tropical location, another loaded field. Ranked major conference teams make up much of this field, with North Carolina, Michigan, Oregon and Gonzaga all participating. The Tar Heels and highly-touted freshman Cole Anthony open with Alabama, while Gonzaga will get Southern Miss in the first round. Michigan will take on Iowa State and Seton Hall will face Oregon in other first-round matchups.

The tournament will run from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29 at Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Charleston Classic

There may not be the depth of some of the other tournament fields in this one, but there are some potentially excellent matchups. Florida is the big draw here, especially with the recent addition of Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr., but Xavier, Connecticut, and Miami are also a part of the eight-team field.

The Gators will open with Saint Joseph’s, while the Hurricanes take on Missouri State in the first round. Other matchups include Xavier vs. Towson and UConn against Buffalo.

This tournament will run Nov. 21, 22 and 24 in Charleston, SC.

Orlando Invitational

Another top 10 Big Ten team, Maryland, is considered the favorite in this eight-team field, though Texas A&M, USC, and Marquette will likely have something to say about it.

The Terrapins take on Temple in their opener, while the Aggies drew Harvard for their first opponent. Other first-round matchups have USC taking on Fairfield and Davidson facing Marquette.

This tournament will run Nov. 28 and 29 and Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

Wooden Legacy

A little less prestigious field gives Arizona a chance to get off to a good start after missing the NCAA tournament last season and dealing with lots of off-court issues.

The Wildcats will open with Pepperdine in the first round, while UCF will take on Penn in another first-round contest. Also playing in the first round will be Providence against Long Beach State and Wake Forest taking on College of Charleston.

The tournament will be played Nov. 28 and 29 and Dec. 1 in Anaheim, Calif.