Early season tournaments continue to emerge and increase from a competition standpoint. Non-conference schedules have gotten tougher and college basketball fans prepare for premier match-ups and upsets even in November.
Let’s take a look at the Old Spice Classic.
Tournament Date(s): November 22, 23, & 25, 2012.
Tournament Location(s): ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida.
Tournament Summary: The Old Spice Classic gives us a special treat of bigger schools playing smaller schools. Going matchup by matchup, probably the most exciting first round game is between Gonzaga and Clemson. The Bulldogs are touting the super-sophomore duo of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. and look to continue their streak of being one of the best mid majors in the country.They’ll go up against Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, two senior Tigers who will look to use experience over youth. Davidson should be Southern conference favorites once again on the shoulders of senior Jake Cohen. They will take on Vanderbilt, who lost their entire starting lineup from last year. Brad Tinsley, Jeffery Taylor, Lance Goulbourne, and Festus Ezeli all graduated and John Jenkins was drafted. West Virginia starts its first season in the Big 12, and will be without Kevin Jones and Darryl “Truck” Bryant. They should still be able to handle Marist. Oklahoma was good in non-conference last year but struggled in Big 12 play. They should be much better this year behind the trio of seniors Romero Osby, Steven Pledger, and Andrew Fitzgerald and junior Calvin Newell Jr. They could be a sleeper pick to win the conference. UTEP will be no easy matchup, as they too look to be much better this year. Juniors John Bohannon and Michael Perez and sophomore Julian Washburn will lead the way.
Player to Watch: Jake Cohen, Davidson: We saw Cohen on a national stage in the second round of the NCAA tournament when his Wildcats failed to upend Louisville. Cohen played excellent, much like he did all season. He’s a very efficient scorer and his 14.3 points per game average will certainly shoot up. His talents in the post are phenomenal and he’s a hard worker and good leader. With another year under his belt, Cohen should lead Davidson to an NCAA tournament win. Look for his big season to begin in the Old Spice Classic.