Early season tournaments hold a valuable place in college basketball. Many times they are an early gauge for how teams might play that particular season and they also give some of our mid-major favorites a chance at some tantalizing upsets. As we inch closer to the 2014-15 season where will some of those opportunities be this season?
Puerto Rico Tip-Off
When: November 20-23
Field: Boston College, Charleston, Connecticut, Dayton, George Mason, New Mexico, Texas A&M, West Virginia
There could be plenty of story-lines going for Charleston, Dayton, and George Mason heading into Puerto Rico. Last year we thought this was a tournament where VCU would take off and instead the Rams struggled in Bayamon. Charleston of course has the Doug Wojcik drama and we still don't know how that is going to play out. At George Mason Paul Hewitt could be fighting for his job after a slew of transfers and a rough first season in the A10. Finally, Dayton is still one of the favorites in the A10 after last year's Elite 8 run and this tournament will be a good measuring stick for the new look Flyers.
When: November 21-24
Field: Clemson, Gardner-Webb, Illinois State, LSU, Nevada, Old Dominion, Seton Hall, Weber State
This tournament could be a confidence booster for the four mid-majors involved. At least one is guaranteed a semifinal spot as Illinois State and Weber State will face off in the first round. Old Dominion will be an interesting team to watch with some of their additions, including former Campbell star Trey Freeman. This tournament could make Jeff Jones' Monarchs a team to be reckoned with in Conference USA play. Gardner-Webb will be looking for some neutral court wins and will try to rebound after losing some serious talent from last year's squad.
The Wooden Legacy
When: Nov 27-28
Field: Long Beach State, Princeton, San Diego, San Jose State, UTEP, Washington, Western Michigan, Xavier
Southern California will be littered with mid-majors in late November. Obviously this tournament doesn't give you as big an opportunity to knock off one of the big boys but it could put few mid-majors on national TV and in the spotlight. UTEP is expecting big things with Tim Floyd this season and San Diego and Princeton should be feisty.
Diamond Head Classic
When: December 22-25
Field: Colorado, DePaul, George Washington, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, Nebraska, Ohio, Wichita State
This tournament is unique for several reasons but should be a final tune up for the a solid mid-major slate, especially George Washington and Wichita State. Both of those squads should be fine tuning their game for conference schedule and both should compete for the championship in this tournament.