Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 2021 Jacksonville Classic preview and predictions

Florida State Seminoles forward Malik Osborne (10) watches his team closely from the bench during a game between the Seminoles and the University of Pennsylvania Quakers at Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.Fsu Vs Penn Mens Basketball 111021 Ts 1492
Florida State Seminoles forward Malik Osborne (10) watches his team closely from the bench during a game between the Seminoles and the University of Pennsylvania Quakers at Donald L. Tucker Civic Center Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.Fsu Vs Penn Mens Basketball 111021 Ts 1492 /

The Jacksonville Classic is set to start up. Which NCAA Basketball team is the favorite to win the event?

It’s in-season non-conference tournament time and the NCAA Basketball basketball world is buzzing. Aside from rivalry games, tournaments are a way to get fans hyped up for the potential of their team and see them match up against schools they wouldn’t normally play. The Jacksonville Classic is one of those.

Although the pool of schools isn’t the most exciting, the Classic is bound to bring tons of excitement to fans who tune in.

Duval bracket

Florida State, Loyola Marymount, Missouri, and SMU make up the Duval bracket.

These matchups may not seem too exciting but they are definitely going to be unpredictable. Let’s break down both matchups.


Florida State is off to a pretty decent 2-1 start. They blew Penn out of the water with a 105-70 win and narrowly defeated Tulane 59-54. Their only loss came at the helm of Florida where the Gators pulled out a convincing 71-55 upset over the then-ranked no. 21 Seminoles.

FSU is led by Malik Osborne who is averaging 15 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.


LMU is also up to a decent 2-1 start. After losing their first game 64-75 to Chattanooga, they bounced back to defeat Arizona Christian 74-67 and Little Rock 82-63. Unlike the Seminoles, the Lions have three scorers averaging double digits.

Joe Quintana is averaging a team-leading 20 points per game, Eli Scott with 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds and Keli Leaupepe with 11 points per game.


Someone please save Mizzou. With new faces and a not-so-fun 2-1 start to the season, the Tigers are the most unpredictable team in this pool. They suffered a devastating 80-66 loss against Kansas City with an offense that couldn’t produce much and a defensive breakdown. Nevertheless, Mizzou prides itself on defense but it’s their offense that needs to show up and show out.

They are led by Kobe Brown, 14.3 points and 8.7 rebounds, Ronnie Degray III, 12.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, and Javon Pickett, 11.7 points.


SMU has been playing super well lately, sporting a 3-1 record on the season. All three of their wins have been convincing, an average of 29.3 differential. Their only loss was by 23 points to Oregon.

SMU has a trio of seniors averaging double digits in scoring. Kendric Davis leads the Mustangs in point per game with 17.8 followed by Michael Weathers 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds and Emmanuel Bandoumel rounds it out with 10.8 points.

Jax Bracket

Boston University, Northern Illinois, Little Rock and Sam Houston round out the Jax bracket.


Boston is not off to the best start right now despite being 2-2. They lost to Northeastern in a low-scoring 48-49 defensive battle and barely beat Hartford. Their 85-61 win over Gordon College was the only sign of absolute dominance shown by this Terrier team.

Javante McCoy and Walter Whyte are the scoring leaders, averaging 16 and 14.5 points per game respectively.

Sukmail Mathon is averaging close to a double-double with 9.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.


The Huskies are struggling mightily this season, holding a record of 1-2. They haven’t been able to put up many points on offense, averaging 50 per game. Their season-low 37 came in a loss against 54-73 loss at Missouri. The game against the Tigers really showed they have the ability to play good defense while showing they’re still the same on offense.

Trendon Hankerson leads the Huskies with 13 points per game with Keshawn Williams’ 11.3 points following closely behind.

Little Rock

The Trojans are having a great start to their season, holding a 3-1 record. However, their opponents haven’t been the most challenging. Their win against Southern Illinois was by far their most challenging contest, a slim 69-66 win at home. After winning their first three, they dropped another challenging contest to LMU, 63-82. Will this tournament prove they can hang with the big kids?

They are led by Isaiah Palermo (17.7 points), Kevin Osawe (11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds), Nikola Maric (11.5 points and 7 rebounds), and Jovan Stulic (11 points).

Sam Houston

The Bearkats have faced some challenging competition this season in Nebraska and Missouri State, both losses. They currently hold a 1-2 record coming into the tournament. Having the edge of playing a power-5 school in Nebraska and a competitive mid-major in Missouri State gives Sam Houston some momentum coming in despite their losing record.

The Bearkats are led by Savion Flagg (21 points and 8 rebounds) and Demarkus Lampley (11.3 points).

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I absolutely love chaos and this tournament will be underrated chaos. This also means my predictions are going to be chaos.

Your Jacksonville Classic winner will be *drum roll* the Northern Illinois Huskies!