Feature Presentation - Doug McKinney's Breaking Down The Bracket

  • 11/16 | The 24 Hours of college hoops marathon is about to start and three of my projected Final Four teams are in action in huge games (Kentucky vs. Duke, Maryland vs. Georgetown and Kansas vs. Michigan State). My first Bracketology of the 2015-16 season will come later this week, but in the mean time enjoy the rest of the Breaking Down the Bracket season preview.

  •   Top Early Season Tournaments
    Doug McKinney
    November 13, 2015

    As the 2015-16 college basketball season opens on this Friday the 13th (cue Jason Vorhees, ch-ch-ch-ch-ah-ah-ah-ah), one of the most exciting aspects of any year in college hoops is the early season tournaments. Some teams are magically whisked away to beautiful tropical islands; others go to Alaska (sorry The Last Frontier). Regardless, college hoops junkies are thankful for the plethora of games, allowing them an opportunity to slack off at work and come Thanksgiving week, it’s an excuse to avoid annoying uncles.

    Puerto Rico Tip-Off
    Dates: November 19-20, 22
    Field: Temple, Minnesota, Butler, Missouri State, Miami, Mississippi State, Utah, Texas Tech
    Worth Watching: In what is an interesting collection of teams here, the semifinals could feature Temple, Butler, Miami and Utah; all teams that are Big Dance worthy. Plus, the nation gets their first look at Mississippi State frosh Malik Newman (#15 wing) in action.
    And The Winner Is: Utah

    Charleston Classic
    Dates: November 19-20, 22
    Field: Ole Miss, George Mason, Oklahoma State, Towson, Long Beach State, Seton Hall, Virginia, Bradley
    Worth Watching: More like DMV Classic, am I right? Pretty much the only interesting angle the Charleston Classic has going for it, as UVA should run the table fairly easily.
    And The Winner Is: Virginia

    2K Sports Classic
    Dates: November 20, 22
    Field: Wisconsin, Georgetown, Duke, VCU
    Worth Watching: Unfortunately, VCU drew the national defending champions Duke in the first round…but could a Georgetown-VCU match-up happen in the Big Apple in the consolation round? Oh, and there’s that whole re-match of last year’s championship game.
    And The Winner Is: Duke

    Paradise Jam
    Dates: November 20-23
    Field: Ohio, Tulsa, Indiana State, Norfolk State, Hofstra, Florida State, DePaul, South Carolina
    Worth Watching: Not Paradise Jam’s best field, but Tulsa-Florida State could be an entertaining final to start the Thanksgiving week. Also, not jealous at all that those teams get to spend a weekend in St. Thomas (Virgin Islands).
    And The Winner Is: Tulsa

    Hall of Fame Tip-Off
    Dates: November 21-22
    Field: Purdue, Old Dominion, Florida, St. Joseph’s
    Worth Watching: While St. Joseph’s may be the weakest team in the field, they arguably boast the best player of any roster in DeAndre Bembry (#5 wing).
    And The Winner Is: Purdue

    Gulf Coast Showcase
    Dates: November 23-25
    Field: Murray State, Milwaukee, Pepperdine, Duquesne, Western Kentucky, Drake, Central Michigan, Weber State
    Worth Watching: Yeah, yeah, it’s a tournament for mid-majors; but guaranteed at least one of these teams pulls off an upset during March Madness.
    And The Winner Is: Pepperdine

    Maui Invitational
    Dates: November 23-25
    Field: St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Indiana, Kansas, Chaminade, UNLV, UCLA
    Worth Watching: Always one of the best early season tournaments, an Indiana-Kansas championship game would be must see TV on Thanksgiving Eve (history shows that’s usually the case for the Maui title game).
    And The Winner Is: Kansas

    Legends Classic
    Dates: November 23-24
    Field: LSU, Marquette, NC State, Arizona State
    Worth Watching: One of the more intriguing early season tourney pairings, this semifinal pits LSU’s Ben Simmons (#1 wing) and Marquette’s Henry Ellenson (#18 big) in a battle of highly ranked freshmen.
    And The Winner Is: NC State

    Men Who Speak Up Against
    Dates: November 23, 25
    Field: Clemson, UMass, Creighton, Rutgers
    Worth Watching: It’s for a good cause and it’s in Las Vegas...that’s about it.
    And The Winner Is: Creighton...I guess

    CBE Hall of Fame Classic
    Dates: November 23-24
    Field: Missouri, Kansas State, Northwestern, North Carolina
    Worth Watching: Northwestern-North Carolina is a better game than whoever UNC draws in the final.
    And The Winner Is: North Carolina

    Cancun Challenge
    Dates: November 24-25
    Field: Rhode Island, TCU, Illinois State, Maryland
    Worth Watching: Illinois State should give Maryland somewhat of a test, but not as big of a test as Rhode Island will give the Terps in the championship.
    And The Winner Is: Maryland

    Battle 4 Atlantis
    Dates: November 25-27
    Field: Gonzaga, Washington, Texas A&M, Texas, Michigan, UConn, Charlotte, Syracuse
    Worth Watching: The Maui Invitational of the Atlantic Ocean. While the field may not be as stacked as the 2014 edition, at least five or six of these teams will be dancing come March. Oh and the blue UV lighting looks awesome on TV.
    And The Winner Is: Gonzaga

    Great Alaska Shootout
    Dates: November 25-28
    Field: San Jose State, Toledo, San Diego, Loyola Chicago, Middle Tennessee, Alaska Anchorage, Drexel, UNC Asheville
    Worth Watching: This will help you fall asleep faster than turkey. Or make you want to talk to your uncle.
    And The Winner Is: Middle Tennessee

    AdvoCare Invitational
    Dates: November 26-27, 29
    Field: Alabama, Xavier, Wichita State, USC, Notre Dame, Monmouth, Iowa, Dayton
    Worth Watching: The tournament formerly known as the Old Spice Classic played at the arena formerly known as the Milk House (now HP something something), is currently stacked with a loaded lineup. Any team could potentially win this tourney.
    And The Winner Is: Wichita State

    Wooden Legacy
    Dates: November 26-27, 29
    Field: UC Irvine, Boise State, Boston College, Michigan State, Evansville, Providence, Santa Clara, Arizona
    Worth Watching: 7’6 Mamadou Ndiaye (#22 Big) of UC Irvine is a treat to watch, but the same could be said forl Boise State, Michigan State, Providence and Arizona in this tourney.
    And The Winner Is: Michigan State

    NIT Season Tip-Off
    Dates: November 26-27
    Field: Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Villanova
    Worth Watching: Arkansas is the weakest link, but Georgia Tech and Stanford could surprise some people this season. We all know how good Villanova will be.
    And The Winner Is: Villanova

    Las Vegas Invitational
    Dates: November 26-27
    Field: West Virginia, Richmond, California, San Diego State
    Worth Watching: Better basketball than the aforementioned Vegas tournament, the California-San Diego State matchup should be one of the best games of the entire season.
    And The Winner Is: California

    Emerald Coast Classic
    Dates: November 27-28
    Field: Virginia Tech, Iowa State, UAB, Illinois
    Worth Watching: Eh, I've seen better. Expect Iowa State to get to the final - thanks to Georges Niang (#1 big) - and for the Cyclones to meet Illinois – courtesy of Malcolm Hill (#26 wing).
    And The Winner Is: Iowa State

    Barclays Center Classic
    Dates: November 27-28
    Field: Cincinnati, Nebraska, George Washington, Tennessee
    Worth Watching: A great opportunity for an underrated George Washington team to build their resume.
    And The Winner Is: Cincinnati

    Top 30 Teams
    1. Kentucky
    2. Maryland
    3. UNC
    4. Kansas
    5. Virginia
    6. Duke
    7. Iowa State
    8. Wichita State
    9. Gonzaga
    10. Villanova
    11. Michigan State
    12. California
    13. Oklahoma
    14. Arizona
    15. Utah
    16. Notre Dame
    17. Connecticut
    18. Indiana
    19. Wisconsin
    20. Baylor
    21. Oregon
    22. Cincinnati
    23. Purdue
    24. San Diego State
    25. Georgetown
    26. Texas A&M
    27. NC State
    28. Butler
    29. Providence
    30. Rhode Island

    (Just Missed: Michigan, Boise State, Texas, VCU, Dayton, BYU, Xavier, Valparaiso, LSU, Davidson, Louisville, West Virginia, Florida State, Old Dominion, Florida, Ohio State, Miami, Pitt, Temple, Tulsa)

    Top 30 Guards
    1. Kris Dunn | Providence - JR
    2. Buddy Hield | Oklahoma - SR
    3. Melo Trimble | Maryland - SO
    4. Jamal Murray | Kentucky - FR
    5. Marcus Paige | UNC - SR
    6. Fred VanFleet | Wichita St. - SR
    7. Ron Baker | Wichita St. - SR
    8. Malcolm Brogdon | Virginia - SR
    9. Yogi Ferrell | Indiana - SR
    10. Grayson Allen | Duke - SO
    11. Caris LeVert | Michigan - SR
    12. Monte Morris | Iowa St. - JR
    13. Nic Moore | SMU - SR
    14. Tyler Ulis | Kentucky - SO
    15. Jaylen Brunson | Villanova - FR
    16. Gary Payton II | Oregon St. - SR
    17. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera | Georgetown - SR
    18. Xavier Rathan-Mayes | SO - FSU
    19. Bryce Alford | UCLA - JR
    20. Allonzo Trier | Arizona - FR
    21. Cat Barber | NC State - JR
    22. Sterling Gibbs | UConn - SR
    23. Rasheed Sulaimon | Maryland - SR
    24. Wayne Selden | Kansas - JR
    25. Tyrone Wallace | Cal - SR
    26. Isaiah Taylor | Texas - JR
    27. Demetrius Jackson | Notre Dame - JR
    28. A.J. English | SR - Iona
    29. London Perrantes | Virginia - JR
    30. James Blackmon Jr | Indiana - SO

    Top 30 Wings
    1. Ben Simmons | LSU - FR
    2. Kyle Wiltjer | Gonzaga - SR
    3. Kyle Collinsworth | BYU - SR
    4. Jaylen Brown | Cal - FR
    5. DeAndre Bembry | St. Joseph’s - JR
    6. Brandon Ingram | Duke - FR
    7. Taurean Prince | Baylor - SR
    8. Winston Shepard | San Diego St. - SR
    9. Michael Gbinije | Syracuse - SR
    10. Justin Jackson | UNC - SO
    11. Kellen Dunham | Butler - SR
    12. Troy Williams | Indiana - JR
    13. Caris LeVert | Michigan - SR
    14. Denzel Valentine | Michigan St. - SR
    15. Malik Newman | Mississippi St. - FR
    16. Elgin Cook | Oregon - SR
    17. Dorian Finney-Smith | Florida - SR
    18. Jordan Loveridge | Utah - SR
    19. Josh Hart | Villanova - JR
    20. Damion Lee | Louisville - SR
    21. Roosevelt Jones | Butler - SR
    22. Trevon Bluiett | Xavier - SO
    23. Dillon Brooks | Oregon - SO
    24. Daniel Hamilton | UConn - SO
    25. Jake Layman | Maryland - SR
    26. Malcom Hill | Illinois - JR
    27. John Brown | High Point - SR
    28. Jamel Artis | Pittsburgh - JR
    29. James Webb III | Boise St. - JR
    30. Danuel House | Texas A&M – SR

    Top 30 Bigs
    1. Georges Niang | Iowa St. - SR
    2. Skal Labissiere | Kentucky - FR
    3. Nigel Hayes | Wisconsin - JR
    4. Damian Jones | Vanderbilt - JR
    5. Jakob Poeltl | Utah - SO
    6. Perry Ellis | Kansas - SR
    7. Cheick Diallo | Kansas - FR
    8. Rico Gathers | Baylor - SR
    9. Domantas Sabonis | Gonzaga - SO
    10. A.J. Hammons | Purdue - SR
    11. Zach Auguste | Notre Dame - SR
    12. Kennedy Meeks | North Carolina - JR
    13. Anthony Gill | Virginia - SR
    14. Stacy Davis | Pepperdine - SR
    15. Shawn Long | Louisiana Lafayette - SR
    16. Diamond Stone | Maryland - FR
    17. Devin Williams | West Virginia - JR
    18. Henry Ellenson | Marquette - FR
    19. Jameel Warney | Stony Brook - SR
    20. Venky Jois | Eastern Washington - SR
    21. Brice Johnson | North Carolina - SR
    22. Mamadou Ndiaye | UC Irvine - JR
    23. Amida Brimah | UConn - JR
    24. Ryan Anderson | Arizona - SR
    25. Stephen Zimmermann | UNLV - FR
    26. Josh Scott | Colorado - SR
    27. Malik Pope | San Diego St. - SO
    28. Robert Carter | Maryland – JR
    29. Devin Thomas | Wake Forest - SR
    30. Kevin Larsen | George Washington - SR

    The next update of Breaking Down The Bracket will be come on Friday, November 20
    Home | To contact Doug McKinney for interviews/inquiries: e-mail @ dmckinney@featurepresentationonline.com | phone 240-470-0601