CALGARY, Alta. — The 2017-18 season is just around the corner, and while there’s a debate on Twitter as to when the season actually starts, it can’t get here soon enough.
Schedules are being released with each passing weekday, and many of them feature early-season tournaments and multi-team events all throughout non-conference play. According to Chris Dobbertean and Blogging the Bracket, there are over 30 multi-team tournaments, and another handful of neutral site showcases and non-exempt events.
So, with the season coming up, we thought we would go through and preview all of the early-season tournaments, the non-exempt tournaments, and a wide array of the neutral site showcase events. In total, we will preview 75 different events over the course of the next 75 days, culminating on opening day.
We selected the events at random, and have broken some up into two pieces, like the Phil Knight Invitational, since there are two separate brackets.
Playing in front of your home crowd in any instance gives a team an initial advantage. When you play in front of your home crowd in a three-game tournament, the odds are on your side to make a statement. On Friday evening, the Hawaii Warriors had that opportunity, as they took on the Auburn Tigers in the third-place game of the 2015 Diamond Head Classic.
The Warriors knocked off the Northern Iowa Panthers in their tournament opener, and gave the Oklahoma Sooners a serious run for their money in their semi-finals loss. They were looking to send their fans home with an extra Christmas present, in the form of a win over a power conference opponent.
While the final score was a double-digit margin of victory, the contest was the true definition of back-and-forth. The teams swapped big leads in the second half, and the final outcome was decided in the final 3 minutes of the game.
Two teams who people didn’t expect to be in the Consolation Bracket of the Diamond Head Classic were the BYU Cougars and the Northern Iowa Panthers. However, after opening game losses, both teams found themselves aiming for a spot in the 5th-place game on Christmas Day.
In winning their second games of the event, they set themselves up for a fantastic showdown on Christmas Day. With talented guards on both sides of the ball, this was a true Christmas gift to any college basketball fan out there.
Both teams were looking for a quality non-conference win to bolster their tournament resumes, should they find themselves on the bubble come Selection Sunday. The game was close early on, but a 15-0 run for the Cougars in the opening half gave BYU all the momentum they needed.
Playing in the 7th-place game at the 2015 Diamond Head Classic was not the position that both the Washington State Cougars and the New Mexico Lobos had envisioned for themselves before the event kicked off. But, after losing their first two games of the tournament, that was the scenario that they found themselves in.
The Lobos and the Cougars kicked off a four-game slate in the college basketball world on Christmas Day, and both teams were given a perfect opportunity to score a big win and get back on track before they made the trip back to the mainland.
With both teams coming off back-to-back losses, they were trying to salvage any sort of positives in their finale. With 7th place on the line, the Cougars came out firing and got big performances from their star players when they needed it.