Another Thanksgiving holiday, another Feast Week. This time around, the Zags are heading off to the AdvoCare Invitational and the chance to pick up some solid resume-boosting wins.
The introduction game is a bit of a clunker, and we will get more in-depth with Quinnipiac tomorrow morning. So for now, let’s take a quick look at the bracket and the rest of the teams in the field.
The potential semi-final opponents
Seton Hall Pirates, KenPom #36
It is that familiar face of the Seton Hall Pirates. But don’t get yourself confused with that squad the Zags upended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year. Even though many of the members of the squad are the same, the style of play is a bit different for the Pirates this season.
Albeit, small sample size through three games, but the Pirates have shot the lights out of the ball, with an eFG% of 60.6. Two of the three wins were against some real clunky teams, but the latest 91-83 victory over Iowa was a definitive statement. In the game, Myles Powell dropped 26 points, Desi Rodriguez added 25, and Khadeen Carrington scored 20. This is a team that can get it done on both ends of the floor.
Florida Gators, KenPom #10
The Gators are one of the better defensive minded teams in the nation so far. Ken Pomeroy rates their defense as the seventh-best in the nation, and this comes from the ability to force turnovers, and to limit the damage done inside. They are able to generate offense from their offensive rebounding prowess, led by junior center John Egbunu, who is one of the better players at crashing the offensive glass in the nation.
Florida isn’t a good shooting team, however. They own an eFG% of 46.4, and much of that struggle comes from shooting inside the arc. The Gators don’t go to the rim too often, taking almost as many two-point jumpers as they do easy shots in the post.
The most tantalizing championship game opponents
Miami Hurricanes, KenPom #18
In a perfect world, Gonzaga beats Florida and then faces off against Miami in the championship round, giving the Zags two incredibly solid wins for the resume. MIami will likely have to get through Iowa State to reach the championship, but this is a talented team. The Hurricanes can score, led by Ja’Quan Newton (15.7 points) and Dewan Huell (13.0 ) points. They will also finally be joined by junior transfer Rashad Muhammad, who has set out the first three games of the season because of suspension.
Iowa State Cyclones, KenPom #30
A game against Iowa State would still be gobs of fun, if only because Steve Prohm still has the Cyclones going at a maniacs pace. Iowa State plays as one of the quickest teams in the country, with an average possession length of 12.8 seconds. This translates to an entertaining brand of basketball, and it would be quite enjoyable to see how well the Zags can run for 40 minutes.
They’ve also got incredibly efficient scorers in Nazareth Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and Monte Morris. Even if Iowa State makes it to the championship round, those three guards would more than make up for playing the slightly worse team. Iowa State’s backcourt would most likely be the best one the Zags would face all season until Saint Mary’s.
AdvoCare Invitational Schedule
- Game 1: Indiana State vs. Iowa State, Nov. 24, 9:30 am PT, ESPN2
- Game 2: Stanford vs. Miami, Nov. 24: 11:30 am PT, ESPN2
- Game 3: Gonzaga vs. Quinnipiac, Nov. 24, 3:30 pm PT, ESPN2
- Game 4: Seton Hall vs. Florida, Nov. 24, 5:30 pm PT, ESPN2
- Game 5: Winners of Games 1/2, Nov. 25, 8:00 am PT. ESPN2
- Game 6: Losers of Games 1/2, Nov. 25, 11:30 am PT, ESPN3
- Game 7: Losers Games 3/4, Nov. 25, 4:30 pm PT, ESPNU
- Game 8: Winners of Games 3/4, Nov. 25, 6:30 pm PT, ESPNU
- Game 9: Losers of Games 6/7, Nov. 27, 8:00 am PT, ESPNU
- Game 10: Championship Game, Nov. 27, 11:30 am PT, ESPN
- Game 11: Losers of Games 5/8, Nov. 27, 1:30 pm PT, ESPN2
- Game 12: Winners of Games 6/7, Nov. 27, 4:00 pm PT, ESPNU