The bracket has been released for the 2014 Paradise Jam, an event that will take place in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Nov. 21st-24th.
And, quite frankly, it’s not exactly the strongest field we’ve ever seen at one of the early season tournaments.
LSU appears to be the favorite to win and while the Tigers may end up riding Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey to the third spot in the SEC, they are anything but a surefire NCAA tournament team. Clemson and Nevada both lose their best player — K.J. McDaniels and Deonte Burton, respectively — from last year’s team. Seton Hall brings in a talented recruiting class, but they are going to be a young team trying to find their way without Fuquan Edwin. Even Weber State will be looking at somewhat of a rebuilding year as they try to figure out how to operate without Davion Berry and Kyle Tresnak.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: