The day before Thanksgiving always features a full day of college hoops as this year had plenty of memorable games. The Maui Invitational closed out with a memorable potential future Final Four matchup that saw No. 1 Duke fall while No. 2 Kansas also had a scare while playing in Brooklyn. And, of course, there were plenty of other tournaments going on, including the Battle 4 Atlantis.
1. No. 3 Gonzaga upsets No. 1 Duke to win the Maui Invitational
The must-see matchup of Wednesday involved two potential Final Four juggernauts taking part in an instant classic in the finals of the Maui Invitational.
Although Duke was heavily favored, and Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett had big dunks, it was Gonzaga that mostly took it to the Blue Devils in a two-point win. The Bulldogs led for nearly the entire game as Rui Hachimura paced them with 20 points while Zach Norvell Jr. (18 points) and Brandon Clarke (17 points) also had strong efforts.
2. No. 2 Kansas survived a sluggish first half to take down Marquette in Brooklyn
Finding themselves down by nine at halftime, it looked like the Jayhawks might join Duke in the loss column. Marquette had a blistering first half. The Golden Eagles’ usually leaky defense did a great job of slowing down the Kansas offense after a hot start.
Then halftime ended and the floodgates opened for the Jayhawks.
Kansas started getting comfortable in transition and in the half court as they outscored Marquette 39-21 in the second half to runaway for a 77-68 win. The Jayhawks defense also swarmed in the second half after a less-than-inspiring first half.
Dedric Lawson looked like an All-American with 26 points and 12 rebounds. He was helped by three other Kansas players in double-figures as the Jayhawks showcased a ton of weapons in the second half. Kansas looked like the Final Four contender many pegged them for in the second half.
Things get really interesting on Friday at the NIT Season Tip-Off as Kansas advances to face No. 5 Tennessee. The Volunteers handled Louisville earlier in Brooklyn on Wednesday night as Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield had big games. After we just got No. 1 vs. No. 3 on Wednesday, we get No. 2 vs. No. 5 on Friday. College basketball is delivering in a big way during this holiday weekend.
3. The Battle 4 Atlantis tipped off
It’s sad to wave, “Aloha” to the Maui Invitational after such a fun week of hoops. But with the final day of Maui also came the opening day of the always competitive Battle 4 Atlantis. Perhaps the finest ballroom-based basketball tournament in the world, this year’s field featured some top-25 teams getting early wins. Others proved themselves with opening-round wins.
No. 4 Virginia raced past Middle Tennessee, 74-52, to advance behind its trademark defense and balanced scoring. De’Andre Hunter looked tremendous with 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Kyle Guy also finished with 15 as Virginia was in total control of this one.
No. 25 Wisconsin earned a win over Stanford as the Badger defense locked down the Cardinal to only 27 percent shooting. Ethan Happ earned a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) as he had plenty of help from guards Demetrick Trice (16 points) and Brad Davison (14 points) as the Badgers are 4-0.
Oklahoma knocked off favored Florida, 65-60, as they crushed the Gators on the glass (48-34). Slowing down Florida’s perimeter threats, Oklahoma was led by Christian James’ 18 points as they improved to 4-0. Dayton also advanced with a win over Butler to move to 4-0 on the season. The Flyers got 20 points from Jalen Crutcher and 18 points from Josh Cunningham.
If you’re not interested in football then Thursday features four more games from this event as Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin and Dayton vs. Virginia will be the matchups in the winner’s bracket.