By Jon Rothstein
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TEAMS: Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Stanford, Oklahoma State
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Brandon Triche, Syracuse – Erick Green, Virginia Tech – Chasson Randle – Stanford – LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
UNDER THE RADAR: James Southerland, Syracuse – Jarell Eddie, Virginia Tech – Josh Huestis, Stanford – Philip Jurick, Oklahoma State
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF: Stanford beats Oklahoma State in Wednesday night’s semifinal. The Cardinal might have as much overall talent as the Cowboys but they’re primed to earn a quality non-conference victory under Johnny Dawkins.
TALLEST TASK: Virgina Tech’s big men. The Hokies interior highlighted by veteran forward Victor Davila will be tested against the mammoth size of the Orange.
LIKELY RESULT: Syracuse rolls to two double-digit victories, thanks to one of the deepest teams Jim Boeheim has had in recent years. “When you have a lot of guys, you lean on all of them equally,” Boeheim said on Tuesday.
TEAMS: Boston College, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Saint Louis, Santa Clara, Villanova, UC Riverside, Washington State
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Maalik Wayns, Villanova – Drew Gordon, New Mexico – Kwamain Mitchell, Saint Louis – Faisal Aden, Washington State – Kevin Foster, Santa Clara
UNDER THE RADAR: Darrun Hilliard, Villanova – Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico – Rob Loe, Saint Louis
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF: New Mexico’s Kendall Williams explodes and takes over the entire tournament.
TALLEST TASK: Boston College going up against a grizzled Saint Louis team. LIKELY RESULT: Rick Majerus continues to cement his team on the national scene as the Billikens roll to a tournament title.
OLD SPICE CLASSIC
TEAMS: Minnesota, Fairfield, Depaul, Dayton, Indiana State, Arizona State, Texas Tech, Wake Forest
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota – Rakim Sanders, Fairfield, Cleveland Melvin, Depaul, Chris Johnson, Dayton, Trent Lockett, Arizona State – Travis McKie, Wake Forest – Ty Nurse, Texas Tech
UNDER THE RADAR: Ryan Olander, Fairfield – Carrick Felix, Arizona State – Josh Benson – Dayton – Oto Osenieks, Minnesota – Nikita Mescheriakov, Wake Forest,
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF: Someone you’d never think of wins this tournament.
TALLEST TASK: Whomever has to guard Rakim Sanders.
LIKELY RESULT: An unpredictable tournament.
* ST. JOSEPH’S AT IONA WEDNESDAY NIGHT
THE SKINNY: It is a rarity to see an Atlantic-10 team travel to play a MAAC opponent but the Hawks and Gaels could give everyone in New Rochelle a treat on Wednesday night. Phil Martelli’s team is much more seasoned than a season ago and have a tremendous one-two punch in feisty guard Tay Jones and shotblocking big man C.J. Aiken. Iona, meanwhile has become must see TV in November because of their scoring ability and overall quickness. The chemistry between point guard Scott Machado and Arizona transfer Momo Jones has been seamless and Tim Cluess seems more than comfortable playing four guard alignments with regularity. If you like entertainment, this is the game to go to.
College hoops fans: What will you be tuning into this weekend? Let Rothstein know in the comments below…