Pre-season tournaments can be just as exciting as March Madness; better early round match-ups and
insane host venues. Be honest, traveling to Detroit, MI for the first weekend of the Big Dance – no shade
to my hometown – is not on many of these guys “to see list,” but being able to start your season on an
island paradise is something worth getting excited for.
ACC (Miami), Big Ten (Minnesota), SEC (Mississippi St.), Big 12 (Texas Tech), PAC 12 (Utah) and American Athletic
Conference (Temple) will be represented in this diverse eight team field.
Missouri State – of the Missouri Valley Conference – is the lone non-power conference team and the
upperclassmen laden Bears will be looking to rebound from a disappointing 2014 season.
Team to Watch:
Utah Utes- Superstar guard Delon Wright may be in the NBA but that doesn’t mean that the Utes are
without talent. The duo of Brandon Taylor and forward Jordan Loveridge will have to carry more of the
load in 2015 but head coach Larry Krystkowiak looks to have finally gotten the program back on track.
Players to Watch:
Butler: Kellen Dunham SR Guard – 16.5ppg 41% three-point
Miami: Sheldon McClellan SR Guard – 14.5ppg 4.7rpg
Minnesota: Carlos Morris SR Guard – 11.1ppg 3.2 rpg
Mississippi St.: Malik Newman FR Guard – Consensus five-star recruit
Missouri St.: Camyn Boone SR Forward – 8.7ppg 5.4rpg
Temple: Quenton DeCosey SR Guard – 12.3ppg 4.6rpg
Texas Tech: DeVaugntah Williams SR Guard – 10.5ppg 39% three-point
Utah: Brandon Taylor SR Guard – 10.6ppg 43.9% three-point
Best first round match-up: Miami vs. Mississippi St.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 20 win season that only resulted in a NIT invite and head coach Jim
Larranaga is looking to get the team back into the Big Dance – a place they haven’t been since the 2012-
13 season. Miami’s rotation will be guard heavy as none of the players currently on their roster above
6’7 were either on the team or were in the playing rotation last season.
The Bulldogs begin the Ben Howland era in Starkville and fans are hoping that he is able to rekindle
some of the success he had at UCLA with a MSU program that does carry the same high expectations
that he experienced at Pauley Pavilion. He may need some time to rebuild the Bulldogs program but
true freshman Malik Newman will make the journey exciting – that’s if he is there longer than one
Favorite to win the tournament: Utah
More info: http://espnevents.com/puerto-rico-tip-off/