Thursday, November 5, 2009

Printable Brackets (Fall Edition)

My favorite week of the season is the first week of the NCAA tournament. My second favorite week is Championship Week. And my third favorite week would be Feast Week, with all the holiday tournaments, except that this year I’ll be spending most of Thanksgiving week with family and no internet or cable access. (Hey, family is important too.)

All the major websites have already previewed the Thanksgiving tournaments months ago, and most major websites even have a complete directory of these types of events. And Chris Dobbertean already did a fantastic job breaking the tournaments down by conference. But that won’t stop me from breaking down the brackets on my own.

There are 73 teams in the six BCS conferences. 34 BCS teams participate in eight real tournaments with real printable tournament brackets.
Charleston Classic – November 19, 20, 22
Puerto Rico Tip-Off – November 19, 20, 22
Paradise Jam – November 20, 21, 22, 23
Maui Invitational – November 23, 24, 25
Preseason NIT – November 16, 17, 25, 27
Old Spice Classic – November 26, 27, 29
76 Classic – November 26, 27, 29
Diamond Head Classic – December 22, 23, 25
I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll say it again. Printable brackets are fun. Why do you just print out the NCAA tournament bracket? Print these out too.

21 BCS teams participate in eight hybrid tournaments. These are four team tournaments where the four teams also get two free home games out of the tournament. These are an abuse of the “exempt tournament” rule to some degree, but at least there’s a real tournament at the end. The Gazelle Group events (* below) have a printable tournament bracket. Sadly the rest of the tournaments do not. I recommend you make your own mini-brackets and fill in the match-ups manually. The date listed is for the four team tournament and ignores the preliminary rounds since those do not count anyhow.
2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer Classic* – November 19, 20
CBE Classic* – November 23, 24
Cancun Challenge – November 24, 25
Legends Classic* – November 27, 28
Chicago Invitational Challenge – November 27, 28
Las Vegas Invitational – November 27, 28
South Padre Invitational – November 27, 28
Las Vegas Classic – December 25, 26

2 BCS teams, Oklahoma and Washington St., participate in the Great Alaska Shootout. The tournament which has been struggling for over a year (bottom story in Andy Katz archive) looks like it is on its last legs now that it is no longer televised by ESPN. For those of us who have been following these holiday tournaments for years, it is sad to see such a historic tournament struggle. Consider the late 1990’s when teams like Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky were making the trip to Alaska and winning the tournament on a regular basis. Now the field consists of six teams in two round robin pods, where the winners will meet in the title game.

12 BCS teams participate in creative tournaments. To me these tournaments just look like a way to abuse the “exempt tournament” rule. Find yourself limited to 29 games by the NCAA? Add a creative tournament and you get more games! The worst offenders are Providence, Washington, and Oregon who “host” round robin events. But really these are just events where the schools get 3 home games in 3 days between November 13th and 15th. Texas Tech also participates in one of these tournaments from November 13th to 15th, but at least Texas Tech had the dignity to invite another BCS team in Oregon St. Kansas, Memphis, Arkansas, and Louisville also participate in one of these sham tournaments with three home games against small schools. The only difference is that in their “tournament”, there will be a pair of neutral site games, Kansas vs Memphis, and Arkansas vs Louisville. Finally, the Glenn Wilkes Classic and Philly Classic are a bunch of home games and neutral site games all bunched together in a format that makes sense financially, but really is not a tournament. NC State and Auburn take advantage in the Glenn Wilkes Classic, and St. John’s and Virginia Tech take advantage in the Philly Classic. That’s not to say that some of these events won’t produce good games. But when every game is scheduled ahead of time, this seems like an abuse of the “exempt tournament” rule to me.

Only 4 teams do not participate in an exempt tournament this year: Wake Forest, Georgia, Georgetown, and Seton Hall.

Of course the real winners from these tournaments can be the mid-majors who get to play a BCS team on a neutral floor. Here are some of the non-BCS teams that play in one of the eight legitimate tournaments listed above, one of the eight hybrid tournaments listed above, or the Great Alaska Shootout. I ignore the creative pre-scheduled tournaments and tournaments that do not involve a BCS school.

BYU – Las Vegas Classic
TCU – Preseason NIT
Utah – Las Vegas Invitational
UNLV – Diamond Head Classic

Charlotte – Preseason NIT
Dayton – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
La Salle – Charleston Classic
Richmond – South Padre Invitational
St. Joseph’s – Paradise Jam
St. Louis – Chicago Invitational Challenge
UMass – Legends Classic
Xavier – Old Spice Classic

Bradley – Las Vegas Invitational
Creighton – Old Spice Classic
Indiana St. – Preseason NIT
Northern Iowa – Paradise Jam
Wichita State – CBE Classic

East Carolina – Paradise Jam
Houston – Great Alaska Shootout
Tulane – Charleston Classic
Tulsa – Las Vegas Classic
SMU – Diamond Head Classic

George Mason – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Hofstra – Preseason NIT
Northeastern – Diamond Head Classic
Old Dominion – South Padre Invitational
UNC Wilmington – Charleston Classic

Gonzaga – Maui Invitational
Portland – 76 Classic
St. Mary’s – Diamond Head Classic
San Diego – Great Alaska Shootout

Butler – 76 Classic
Cleveland State – Cancun Challenge
Wisconsin-Milwaukee – Preseason NIT

Nevada – Las Vegas Classic
Hawaii – Diamond Head Classic

Big West
Long Beach St. – 76 Classic
Cal State Northridge – Preseason NIT

Davidson – Charleston Classic
College of Charleston – Diamond Head Classic
Elon – Preseason NIT

Other D-1
Boston University – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Coastal Carolina – Preseason NIT
Colgate – Preseason NIT
Iona – Old Spice Classic
Nicholls St. – Great Alaska Shootout
South Dakota St. – Paradise Jam
Texas State – Preseason NIT
Western Kentucky – Preseason NIT
Western Michigan – Diamond Head Classic
Yale – Preseason NIT

BCS Conferences:

Boston College – Paradise Jam
Clemson – 76 Classic
Duke – Preseason NIT
Florida State – Old Spice Classic
Georgia Tech – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Maryland – Maui Invitational
Miami (Fla.) – Charleston Classic
North Carolina State – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
North Carolina – 2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer Classic
Virginia – Cancun Challenge
Virginia Tech – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Wake Forest – None

Big East
Cincinnati – Maui Invitational
Connecticut – Preseason NIT
DePaul – Paradise Jam
Georgetown – None
Louisville – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Marquette – Old Spice Classic
Notre Dame – Chicago Invitational Challenge
Pittsburgh – CBE Classic
Providence – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Rutgers – Legends Classic
Seton Hall – None
South Florida – Charleston Classic
St. John's – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Syracuse – 2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer Classic
Villanova – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
West Virginia – 76 Classic

Big Ten
Illinois – Las Vegas Invitational
Indiana – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Iowa – CBE Classic
Michigan State – Legends Classic
Michigan – Old Spice Classic
Minnesota – 76 Classic
Northwestern – Chicago Invitational Challenge
Ohio State – 2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer Classic
Penn State – Charleston Classic
Purdue – Paradise Jam
Wisconsin – Maui Invitational

Big Twelve
Baylor – Old Spice Classic
Colorado – Maui Invitational
Iowa State – Chicago Invitational Challenge
Kansas – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Kansas State – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Missouri – South Padre Invitational
Nebraska – Las Vegas Classic
Oklahoma – Great Alaska Shootout
Oklahoma State – Las Vegas Invitational
Texas A&M – 76 Classic
Texas – CBE Classic
Texas Tech – Pre-scheduled non-tournament

Pac 10
Arizona State – Preseason NIT
Arizona – Maui Invitational
California – 2K Sports Coaches vs Cancer Classic
Oregon – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Oregon State – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
USC – Diamond Head Classic
Stanford – Cancun Challenge
UCLA – 76 Classic
Washington – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Washington State – Great Alaska Shootout

Alabama – Old Spice Classic
Arkansas – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Auburn – Pre-scheduled non-tournament
Florida – Legends Classic
Georgia – None
Kentucky – Cancun Challenge
LSU – Preseason NIT
Mississippi State – South Padre Invitational
Mississippi – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
South Carolina – Charleston Classic
Tennessee – Paradise Jam
Vanderbilt – Maui Invitational

A few final notes:

-Why does the Southern Conference get three games in significant tournaments? Is it the Stephen Curry effect even though he is not in college anymore?

-The Big Ten did the best at exempt tournament scheduling. Every team is in at least a hybrid four team tournament. One key here is television. Many of these smaller tournaments are struggling to get the games on TV, and the Big Ten teams come with the Big Ten Network in hand.

-Finally, I mentioned his well-written preview above, but who is Chris Dobbertean anyhow? He’s posting about holiday tournaments (like me), he lives in the DC area (like me), he was probably at the Old Spice Classic last year (like I was). He’s even planning a trip to this year’s 76 Classic where my Gophers are playing. Scary.