Working your way through the myriad of college basketball tournaments over the Thanksgiving holiday can be tough, so we decided to put together a convenient guide detailing where to find all of the Big Ten teams involved. Every team but Penn State is playing in at least some sort of preseason tournament, although some are certainly stronger than others. Several teams have already played last week, opening some eyes, and for them there will be a quick recap of their performance. If you are looking for a game on TV, head to Matt Sarz sports, a lifesaver for college hoops fans allergic to the TV guide.
Michigan State (Maui Invitational)
Field: Chaminade, Wichita State, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington
Dates: Nov. 22-24
If everything goes as planned, Michigan State will beat Chaminade and face the winner of Connecticut/Wichita State, if UConn prevails it would set up a rematch of the two teams’ NCAA Tournament battle two years ago. The Spartans have looked very crisp so far this season and you have to think they’re going into it expecting to return to the mainland with hardware. A young but talented Kentucky team should be their toughest test. KJ previewed the tournament from a Spartan perspective here.
Wisconsin (Old Spice Classic)
Field: Boston College, California, Georgia, Manhattan, Notre Dame, Temple, Texas A&M, Wisconsin
Dates: Nov. 25, 26, 28
Wisconsin heads down to Disney World for the Old Spice Classic on the heels of a tough road loss at UNLV. The Badgers start out slow, with a game versus Manhattan, but will then face the winner of the Texas A&M/Boston College game. This field isn’t necessarily loaded but it will be a good test for a Wisconsin team that still appears to be getting their feet under them.
Illinois (2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer)
Field: Pittsburgh, Texas, Maryland, College of Charleston, Louisiana Tech, Rhode Island, Navy, Seattle, Toledo, UC Irvine, UIC
Illinois made quick work of the early round teams, dispatching UC Irvine, Toledo and Southern Illinois in succession. In their first game in New York, however, the Illini picked up their first loss of the season against Texas. They bounced back against Maryland and Demetri McCamey scored 20 points to claim 2nd place in the tournament. Being the second-highest-ranked team in the field after Pittsburgh, that has to be around what Illinois fans were expecting.
Minnesota (Puerto Rico Tipoff)
Field: Davidson, Hofstra, Nebraska, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Western Kentucky
This could be considered Minnesota’s coming-out party. The Gophers ran over Western Kentucky in the first game of the tournament and then surprised everyone with a tough win over No. 8 North Carolina in the second round. To top it off, the Gophers pulled of a close victory over West Virginia, won by a clutch 3-pointer by Blake Hoffarber with 1:31 left, to win the tournament. Trevor Mbakwe emerged as a major threat during the tournament, earning MVP honors. North Carolina lost to Vanderbilt in the consolation round, but Minnesota has obviously opened some eyes
Iowa (Paradise Jam)
Field: Alabama, Clemson, Long Beach State, Old Dominion, Seton Hall, St. Peters, Xavier
Dates: Nov. 19-22
The Hawkeyes are already 1-1 in the Paradise Jam with a tough loss against Xavier followed by a victory over Alabama. Iowa got contributions from a nine different players against Alabama, and the bench stepped up big. Victories will be tough to come by for this team, so to pick up an early one is big for them as they move to 2-2. The Hawkeyes’ last game will be against Long Beach State at 4:30 today and if they win they’ll hold down the 4th-place spot in the tournament.
Michigan (Legends Classic)
Field: Syracuse, Michigan, Georgia Tech, UTEP, Gardner-Webb, Albany, Bowling Green, Detroit, Mercer, Niagra, Western Carolina, William and Mary
Dates: Nov. 14-21, 26-2
Michigan handled Gardner-Webb with ease, but the true test lies with Syracuse when the Wolverines travel to Atlantic City for the Championship Rounds. Georgia Tech and UTEP round out the Championship field and each should provide a tough test for a young Michigan team who hasn’t played much of any real competition thus far. We’ll be previewing the entire tournament shortly.
Purdue (Chicago Invitational)
Field: Southern Illinois, Purdue, Richmond, Wright State, Austin Peay State, Oakland, Southern University and Charleston Southern
Dates: Nov 26, 27
Purdue won its first game of the tournament against Oakland and JaJuan Johnson scored 25 points to lead the Boilermakers. This tournament should be a walk in the park for Purdue given the weak field, and they’re off to a good start. Purdue’s next game is Tuesday against Austin Peay, who just dropped a game to Southern Illinois. They will face Southern Illinois in Chicago before facing either Richmond or Wright State in the final rounds.
Ohio State (Global Sports Invitational)
Ohio State will be wrapping up play in the Global Sports Invitational, which is more of a round robin than a tournament, on Tuesday against Morehead State. The Buckeyes have had little trouble throughout the tournament, rolling over North Carolina A & T and UNC Wilmington and picking up a nice early-season road win against Florida along the way. The win in Gainesville was about as convincing as it gets as Ohio State won 93-75 and David Lighty and Jared Sullinger each scored 26 points.
See You In December
Indiana and Northwestern opted to play in preseason tournaments that will take place closer to Christmas.
Indiana (IBN Sports Las Vegas Classic)
Field: Longwood, The Citadel, SIU Edwardsville, Northern Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, SC State
Dates: Dec 22, 23
The Hoosiers won’t be playing for a while as this tournament doesn’t start until late December, and a couple of their games leading up to it may be tougher than any games matchups they’ll face in the tournament. Indiana will take on Boston College for its first road game of the year and then travel to Kentucky just before starting tournament play. Northern Iowa and Colorado could both present challenges, but UNI just lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Colorado already has two losses, to Georgia and San Francisco.
Northwestern (Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival)
Field: St. Francis (N.Y.), St. Johns, Davidson
Dates: Dec 20, 21
Northwestern will be playing in the small Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival in late December, tipping off against St. Francis on December 20th. The tournament features Steve Lavin’s St. Johns team, who’s only loss this year is at St. Mary’s. It will be the first road test for the Wildcats, who so far are undefeated but still have to play Creighton and Georgia Tech leading up to the tournament. All in all, a nice chance to Northwestern to pick up some quality neutral court wins that they might need come March.