3. Takeaways from other holiday tournaments
We had plenty of drama from Portland and the Bahamas, but there were several other holiday tournaments in recent weeks. We’ve already touched upon the events at the Maui Invitational, though it gave us pretty incredible games between ranked teams for the championship and third place, with Arizona defeating Creighton for the title and Arkansas staging a late comeback against San Diego State.
The Cancun Challenge saw a bizarre title game between #13 Auburn and Northwestern, with the Tigers holding on for a 43-42 victory in a defensive struggle. This performance may have been a cause for concern for the Tigers, but they assuaged some of those concerns with a nice win over Saint Louis this past Sunday.
The Emerald Coast Classic saw four power conference foes face off in northwest Florida, with TCU seemingly getting back on track. The Horned Frogs took care of California in the opening round before scoring a 79-66 victory in the championship game over #25 Iowa; the Hawkeyes having beaten Clemson the night before. TCU got their season off to a horrible start with some bad performances against weak teams, but this gives them some momentum and is a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, the ESPN Events Invitational saw eight teams heading to Orlando, though it wasn’t exactly the most luxurious field of teams. In the end, Oklahoma secured the tournament title with wins over Nebraska, Seton Hall, and Ole Miss, while Siena was a bit of a surprise, beating Florida State in the opening round and taking care of Seton Hall in the 3rd place game. Those Seminoles lost all three games and look like a disaster.
One final holiday tournament we’ll look at (there were several others) is the Wooden Legacy, which saw Washington get things back on track with close wins over Fresno State and a good Saint Mary’s squad. Those Gaels took care of business against Vanderbilt before dropping their first game of the season in overtime to the Huskies. It’s a nice early win for Washington, but this team isn’t exactly thought of as a contender in the Pac-12.