It's that time of year again ladies and gentlemen! What? You don't know? It's time for family get-togethers and early season college basketball tournaments.
So with these very exciting events about tip-off, VAVEL US own Tyler Bennett and Peyton Wesner have decided to do a special "Sizzling in the Spotlight" for all twenty November tourneys, including the 2K Classic.
4:00 PM EST
0-2 Siena - 2-1 Radford
Siena: 92-65 Loss @ Wisconsin
Radford: 68-60 Win - Catawba
Players to Watch:
Marquis Wright (JR)
---18.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, & 2.0 SPG.
Rashun Davis (SR)
---17.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.3 APG, & 1.0 SPG.
7:00 PM EST
0-2 Prairie View A&M @ 1-1 Bryant
Prairie View A&M: 110-69 Loss @ Houston
Bryant: 82-69 Win - Emerson College
Players to Watch:
Prairie View A&M:
Admassu Williams (JR)
---12.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, & 2.0 BPG.
Hunter Ware (SO)
---23.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, & 1.0 SPG.
Radford pulled off one of the best upsets of the season on opening day (Saturday), when they knocked off Georgetown in a non-bracketed game as a part of the 2K Classic. Siena had to run through a gauntlet, playing both Duke and Wisconsin to open their season. In a game of two talented programs, the Siena Saints will come away victorious due to their depth and play of guard Marquis Wright.
---Siena 81, Radford 75
In the second game of the 2K Classic subregional, two lesser-known programs will take the court as Bryant hosts Prairie View A&M. Hunter Ware (23.5 PPG) and the Bulldogs are coming off their first win of the season, and will be looking to build off that momentum. On the flip side, the Panthers are still winless, having been blown out by both VCU and Houston. Ware will have himself another big game and leads Bryant to a slim victory.
---Bryant 76, Prairie View A&M 70
After Siena’s magical run to the CBI Championship in 2014, and a down year last season that was filled with injuries, the Saints are looking to get back on track. A strong performance in the 2015 2K Classic could do just that. Taking on Bryant in the championship of the subregional, the Saints have more weapons and depth than the Bulldogs possess on their roster. Having Brett Bisping and Imoh Silas healthy and back in the lineup will change the feel of the team from last year, and they will lead the Saints to victory.
---Siena 88, Bryant 76
While on the schedule two losses are present, playing great teams to open the season despite being a mid-major is beneficial. Don't believe it? Just watch, Siena will defeat Radford this afternoon. Even though the Highlanders upset Georgetown in our nation's capital on Saturday, the rate Rashun Davis turnovers the ball is much too high (4 per game). Moreover, besides Davis and Cameron Jones where is the scoring going to come from? Youngsters Justin Cousin and Ed Polite Jr.? Not today against a Saints' team with "jazzy juniors" Marquis Wright and Lavon Long in addition to "fab freshman" Nico Clareth.
---Siena 76, Radford 70
The SWAC and the NEC! Quite an interesting matchup of conferences as Prairie View A&M travels to Bryant with the purpose of winning the 2K Classic subregional. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they have no chance tonight. Prairie View A&M just does not have the scorers their opponent has in "stud sophomore" Hunter Ware and "fab freshman" Nisre Zouzoua. Throw in home court advantage for the Bulldogs and the night's second semi-final won't be close.
---Bryant 80, Prairie View A&M 60
If this matchup ends up being the championship, then the crowd at Bryant University is in for a real treat. That is, unless he or she is a Bulldogs' fan. While home court advantage is bound to play a factor, Siena's experience and frontcourt (Lavon Long and Javion Ogunyemi) will lead them to victory over Hunter Ware's group. Make sure to keep an eye on the "one-on-one" matchup between Ware and Marquis Wright, for Ware has been very impressive to begin his sophomore season.
---Siena 72, Bryant 67
5:00 PM EST
2-1 Wisconsin - 0-2 Georgetown (ESPN2)
Wisconsin: 78-64 Win - North Dakota
Georgetown: 75-71 Loss @ Maryland
Players to Watch:
Bronson Koenig (JR)
---19.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, & 3.3 APG.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (SR)
---14.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, & 1.0 SPG.
7:30 PM EST
2-1 #5 Duke - 2-0 VCU (ESPN2)
Duke: 74-63 Loss - #2 Kentucky
VCU: 92-74 Win - Radford
Players to Watch:
Amile Jefferson (SR)
---15.3 PPG, 12.7 RPG, & 1.3 SPG.
Korey Billbury (SR)
---11.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, & 2.0 APG.
Both Georgetown and Wisconsin are coming off shocking upset losses in their season openers, with the Badgers being defeated by Western Illinois and Georgetown losing to Radford. In the biggest test for the Badgers to date, and the second-straight Big Ten opponent for the Hoyas, both teams are setting out with something to prove. A win would go a long way for either program at this time, and would bolster their tournament resumes. Nigel Hayes and Wisconsin will edge out the Hoyas and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.
---Wisconsin 76, Georgetown 72
Coming off the loss to Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic, the Blue Devils will be looking to get their offense back on track, which doesn’t bode well for the Rams. VCU is without Briante Weber, Treveon Graham, and Terry Larrier from last season’s team, leaving holes in the defensive scheme for new head coach Will Wade. Duke will get their offense back on track and cruise into the 2K Classic finals.
---Duke 90, VCU 77
The dream final is a rematch of last season’s NCAA Championship Game, and fans should get exactly what they want. Duke came out on top last season, thanks to Grayson Allen and this season they will as well. With Wisconsin losing key pieces from last year’s roster, they simply do not have the talent or firepower to stay with Duke for an entire 40 minutes. Down the stretch, Duke’s high-octane offense will kick into high gear and knock off the Wisconsin Badgers, who will undoubtedly have redemption on their minds.
---Duke 84, Wisconsin 76
Last season, Wisconsin and Georgetown met in the semi-finals of Battle 4 Atlantis. This year, they will face-off in the 2K Classic; though, the result will be the same. Granted, the Hoyas will play very well and more like the team everyone saw against Maryland rather than Radford. Nevertheless, Wisconsin has to know what is at stake: A revenge game against Duke. Juniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, who were a part of the National Runner-Up squad, will combine for 40+ points in a back-and-forth contest.
---Wisconsin 71, Georgetown 68
Forget about head coach Shaka Smart not being on the sideline for VCU! How about no Briante Weber or Treveon Graham on the court! Now that will be brutal! Although the Rams come in 2-0 this evening, neither opponent they faced is anyone they can stick their chest out in pride. However, seniors Melvin Johnson and Korey Billbury have started their last hooray in fine fashion. The two will need to continue their quality play against the 2015 National Champions. Even without Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones, the Duke Blue Devils will be just fine. How? Coach K still has the Hero from Indy (Grayson Allen), Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, and Marshall Plumlee. Oh! And they have some "fab freshman" by the name of Brandon Ingram (Maybe you have heard of him). With all these options one great defensive performance will be needed from VCU for any chance of advancing.
---Duke 72, VCU 65
No Frank Kaminsky. No Sam Dekker. No win for the Badgers. Regardless of the type of players Koenig and Hayes are, the Blue Devils have so many returnees, even with four of their starters' departures, that have drastically improved. Even in the frontcourt where Wisconsin has Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown, and Ethan Happ, Duke counters with Amile Jefferson as well as Marshall Plumlee. This journalist simply does not see where Wisconsin has an advantage! Therefore, Duke will give Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan a familiar feeling from last April on Sunday.
---Duke 74, Wisconsin 70
Point System for 2K Classic:
1 pts for each semi-final win
3 pts for correctly choosing the champion
1. Bennett 45 pts (43-15)
2. Wesner 43 pts (42-16)