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 Las Vegas Invitational.
Tournament Date(s): November 23-24, 2012.
Tournament Location(s): Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tournament Summary: The quality of the four teams in the Las Vegas Invitational is rather high, yet somewhat under the radar. Wisconsin loses Jordan Taylor, but has a very solid core of Ryan Evans, Jared Berggren, Josh Gasser, Ben Brust, and Mike Bruesewitz. That combined with Bo Ryan‘s top-notch coaching and defensive scheme will make the Badgers deadly as usual. Doug McDermott will head the attack of the Creighton Blue Jays, and I’ll have more on him later. The Sun Devils of Arizona St. were at the bottom of a very weak Pac-12 last year, but with a year under their belt, they could make a push to the top of what is now a much stronger conference. That will depend mainly on the development of Jahii Carson. Arkansas was on the tournament bubble for part of last year, but B. J. Young is going to be special and get them an undisputed spot in the dance. That journey starts in Vegas.
Player to Watch: Doug McDermott, Creighton: After averaging 22.9 points and 8.2 rebounds last year, the senior will be back in a big way. McDermott is an unstoppable scorer. He is ferocious down low, but can also step back at hit the three, causing matchup problems. McDermott will be very motivated to make a lot of noise and should certainly be in the national player of the year conversation. So, yeah, you should watch him.