CBE Classic 2014: Teams, Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket, TV Info

The beauty of college basketball, where building a resume is more important than an early-season loss or two (as opposed to football), is that fans are treated to a number of marquee nonconference showdowns every single season.

Representatives of the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 will all be on hand Monday and Tuesday at the 2014 CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri.

For Arizona State, Maryland, Alabama and Iowa State, the two games represent a chance to add substance to what will ideally be NCAA tournament-worthy resumes. Here is a look at the schedule and broadcast information, while a bracket can be found here, courtesy of ESPN.com.

 

Teams

Arizona State

Arizona State enters the CBE Classic with a perfect 3-0 record, but it has come against lackluster competition to say the least (Chicago State, Bethune-Cookman and Loyola Marymount).

College basketball fans may remember the Sun Devils from last season’s NCAA tournament, but that team lost a number of important contributors and its top three scorers, including star point guard Jahii Carson. The faces are different, but the goal is still to be dancing in March.

The trio of Eric Jacobsen, Shaquielle McKissic and Jonathan Gilling spearhead the attack. 

Jacobsen is a double-double threat down low (9.3 points and nine rebounds a game), but his shot-blocking prowess (three a game) is what makes him most valuable. McKissic and Gilling are both deadly three-point shooters who can post double-digit points on any given night if they get hot from the outside.

 

Maryland

Like its first CBE Classic opponent, Maryland is also a perfect 3-0, its wins coming against Wagner, Central Connecticut State and Fordham. What that means is this is the first opportunity for both the Terrapins and Sun Devils to pick up a marquee victory to bolster those undefeated starts.

Dez Wells may just be the best player at this entire event. The former Xavier Musketeer is averaging 17.7 points a game and drilling 62.5 percent of his shots from the field. He has always been a lethal attacker of the rim off the bounce and on back cuts, but he is lighting it up from three-point range in the early going (71.4 percent). 

Josh Stirn of InsideMDSports (h/t Jeff Ermann of 247Sports) attributed Wells’ resurgence from downtown to changes he made during the offseason:

Wells’ partner in crime is Jake Layman, who, like Wells, also has a tendency to throw down vicious dunks in the open floor. Layman is a versatile guard/forward who can hit from three-point range and is long enough to bother opposing ball-handlers on the defensive end and contribute on the glass (5.7 boards a game).

 

Iowa State

If Wells is the best player at the CBE Classic, Georges Niang is a close second, and Iowa State is the best team. A showdown between the Cyclones and the Wells-Layman combination for Maryland in the finals would be a treat for fans. Iowa State is ranked No. 14 in the AP Top 25 as of Sunday and is poised for a deep NCAA tournament run.

The Cyclones have two early wins over Georgia State and Oakland and boast the impressive combination of Niang and Bryce Dejean-Jones.

Niang is a walking double-double and is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game in the early going, while Dejean-Jones is not far behind at 17.5 points and nine rebounds. Dejean-Jones is more of an all-around threat with nightly averages of 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals as well.

Alabama is the first marquee stop on a nonconference schedule for the Cyclones that features Iowa, South Carolina and the winner of the Maryland and Arizona State game. Head coach Fred Hoiberg commented on that slate, via Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register: ”The goal, when you’re talking about how good a schedule is, is if you’re a bubble team on Selection Sunday, is it good enough to get you into the NCAA Tournament. I think what we’re facing is another very good schedule.”

 

Alabama

Alabama may not register the same response on the hardwood as it does on the gridiron, but Levi Randolph will be a problem for the Cyclones.

The all-around superstar leads the Crimson Tide in points (19), rebounds (7.7), assists (three) and minutes (33) per game. As if that’s not enough, the guard is a formidable three-point shooter and is more than willing to get out in transition when the opportunity presents itself.

Randolph led his team to a 3-0 start with wins over Towson, Western Carolina and Southern Miss, but this is his first chance to make himself known to the nation.

It would be easy to assume the Sweet 16 contender from the Big 12 will run away with this game, but Iowa State’s defense is not particularly strong. In Ken Pomeroy’s pace-adjusted rankings, Iowa State’s defense checks in at 61st, while Alabama’s offense is 52nd (as of Sunday).

Granted, that is with a tremendously small sample size, but the Cyclones were 72nd last season.

Alabama may be able to score, but the problem is Iowa State’s firepower between Niang and Dejean-Jones. (The Cyclones are 10th in Pomeroy’s offensive rankings.) It will be a close contest, but the favorite will prevail.

Predicted semifinal winners: Iowa State and Maryland 

Predicted tournament winner: Iowa State

 

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MGM Grand Main Event 2014: Teams, Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket, TV Info

What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but the results at the 2014 MGM Grand Main Event will permanently stay on the resumes of the teams involved.

This seven-team event may not be the marquee showcase on the college basketball calendar, but it represents an opportunity for teams like Oklahoma State, Auburn and Oregon State to pick up neutral-site victories early in the season.

Here is a look at the essential information for the event. Games will be available via live stream on WatchESPN, while a bracket can be found here, courtesy of ESPN.com. It is important to note that the middleweight bracket portion of the event was revised because there will only be three teams on that side.

 

Players to Watch

Antoine Mason, Auburn

Antoine Mason may be known as Anthony Mason’s son, but the guard is making a name for himself at the college level.

Mason was second in the nation behind only Doug McDermott in scoring last year at 25.6 points a game, but he did so at Niagara. Now he will have a chance to put up those numbers in the SEC in 2014-15 after transferring to Auburn.

Mason is a high-volume shooter who attacks the rim with an explosive first step and makes plays in transition. He has never been a knockdown three-point shooter (31.5 percent is his career high in a single season), but he gets to the free-throw line (10.8 free-throw attempts per game last season) and is strong enough to finish in the lane.

In his first game with Auburn, Mason finished with 19 points and shot 13 free throws.

The problem is, he has not played since then and could be questionable for Las Vegas with a sprained ankle. Head coach Bruce Pearl commented on his star’s status, via Wesley Sinor of AL.com:

I hope he comes back next week. I don’t know. He’s making progress. It looks like he’s walking now without a limp and I know he’s working diligently to get back. We’re a much better team with him.

When it comes to an ankle sprain, you never come back 100 percent. We have to get him to about 80, and as long as it’s strong enough and tight enough, he can play. He’s not going to be as explosive of a player when he first comes back, he just won’t be. And yes, when he first comes back, it will be a 20-minute assignment. 

The only way Auburn is going to make some noise in this event is having its high-scoring guard on the floor.

 

Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette

Shawn Long may not be a household name at Louisiana-Lafayette, but he is a walking double-double and could be an NBA player one day.

He averaged 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game last season as a sophomore and is one of the most underrated players in the entire country. Before that breakout season, as a freshman, he posted nightly averages of 15.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and two blocks a game, and he is looking to take another step this season. 

Seth Davis of CBS Sports noted that Long should be on an under-the-radar team heading into the season:

Long struggled in a loss to Auburn on Friday, but he did post 15 points and swat four shots against Tulsa earlier in the season. 

The middleweight bracket is much lighter in terms of the level of competition than the heavyweight bracket, and Long has NBA potential and was the No. 36 pick in Draft Express’ latest mock draft. He should have his way against the likes of Milwaukee and Oral Roberts and turn some heads in the process.

 

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Legends Classic 2014: Championship Schedule, Live Stream, Teams, TV Info

The only way that college basketball can capture the attention of the football-loving public around Thanksgiving is by showcasing marquee nonconference games that pit some of the nation’s most promising teams against each other.

The 2014 version of the Legends Classic tried its very best to do just that by inviting Oregon, Michigan, Villanova and VCU to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Here is a closer look at the essential information for the tournament. Games are available to live stream at Watch ESPN, while a bracket is available here, courtesy of ESPN.com.

 

Closer Look

Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com set the stage for this impressive field:

Why you’ll want to watch: Because you love college basketball and this event features a threesome that’s capable of making a lot of noise in March. 

The winner of this event will boost its overall résumé and emerge as an early national title contender and likely top-10 squad. It’s a great test for a collection of teams that will have a chance to make a statement in late November and secure key signature wins that will pay off on Selection Sunday. 

That threesome he mentioned is Michigan, Villanova and VCU, although Oregon is certainly a nationally recognized brand name that brings the respect of a Pac-12 team. The problem is, the Ducks lost a lot of talent for off-court issues during the offseason.

Michigan is an intriguing team because it lost Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary from its Elite Eight squad. Still, the Wolverines have Caris LeVert as the go-to option on the outside and the combination of Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. to offer support.

All three players are averaging more than 15 points per night in the early going, with Irvin leading the way at 20.7. All three can hit from the outside or get to the rim and will present a problem to the Ducks defense that is yet to play against solid competition.

As for Oregon, it lost Dominic Artis, Brandon Austin and Damyean Dotson in the offseason and will have serious trouble competing for an NCAA tournament spot.

To the Ducks’ credit, they are off to a perfect 3-0 start against Coppin State, Detroit and Toledo and beat Detroit by 17 (Michigan beat the Titans by nine). Joseph Young is a superstar in the making and is averaging 26 points per night in the early going for the Ducks. He will be tasked with matching LeVert’s production Monday.

As for VCU, fans at the Barclays Center should expect plenty of ball pressure and uptempo attacks.

Shaka Smart may have his best team ever, and the Rams are No. 15 in the Associated Press Poll (as of Sunday). Five players are averaging double-digit scoring per game, and Melvin Johnson, Treveon Graham and Briante Weber is one of the best threesomes in the country.

Graham and Johnson are the high-scoring options on the wings, and Weber sets the table with crisp and timely passing.

The Rams will be tasked with facing Villanova, which is No. 12 in the Associated Press Poll (as of Sunday) and has Final Four aspirations.

The Wildcats got four starters back from a season ago, including juniors Dylan Ennis and Ryan Arcidiacono. Villanova’s top two scorers are averaging a combined 27 points per game and are leading the way while JayVaughn Pinkston finds his footing, but it is Arcidiacono’s defense in the early going that has provided the biggest boost for Villanova.

He is averaging 2.3 steals per game and is a major reason why the Wildcats were No. 17 in Ken Pomeroy’s pace-adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, as of Sunday.

Ennis pointed out after a win against Lehigh that his team relies on that defense, per John Finger of CSNPhilly.com: “Any game we come in with the focus on defense. Coach preaches that we can’t run if we don’t play defense and rebound. Every practice we focus on defense.” 

That defense will need to be strong against VCU because the Rams love to push the tempo. It will be interesting to see if the Wildcats try to slow the pace or rely on their own talent to challenge VCU at its own game.

 

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

Today’s game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics is underway! Stay tuned for live updates and reactions!

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Golden State Warriors vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Live Score, Highlights, Reaction

It has been a tale of two starts for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. The latter team has exploded out of the gate to a 9-2 record, sitting atop the Pacific division and defying already lofty expectations. The production from stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson has been consistently impressive, as the Warriors have shown themselves to be balanced enough to be in contention talks.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, injuries to superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have derailed the Thunder, who sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 3-11 record. Initially pegged as a title contender, Oklahoma City will face an uphill battle once its leaders return and an even steeper one until then.

Tonight, as they host the surging Warriors, the Thunder will look to make a statement and find their way back on track before they fall too far behind.

Check back before tipoff for live coverage of tonight’s Western Conference showdown.

Tip: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: NBA League Pass

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Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

The Charlotte Hornets (4-9) will look to avoid a fifth straight loss when they square off against the Miami Heat (7-6) Sunday night. 

Owners of the league’s sixth-least efficient offense, according to Basketball-Reference.com, Charlotte has struggled to put the ball in the basket, shooting 43.4 percent from the field (No. 25 overall) and 34.5 percent from three (No. 19 overall).

The Hornets haven’t been able to get to the line, either, recording a free-throw rate of just .263 (No. 24 overall), according to Basketball-Reference.

Although Lance Stephenson has been a rebounding maven, grabbing a team-best 8.8 boards per game, he’s averaging a meager 9.8 points on 37 percent shooting from the field.

Miami, on the other hand, has been a touch more consistent, recording the NBA‘s 12th-best offensive rating (108.0) to date, per Basketball-Reference. The Heat have struggled on the defensive end, though, surrendering 107.3 points per 100 possessions, good for No. 21 overall. 

However, Miami may be without the services of Dwyane Wade for the sixth straight game after he missed Saturday’s contest with a left hamstring strain. 

You can catch all the action at 6 p.m. ET on Sun Sports (Miami), Sports South (Charlotte) or NBA TV (National). 

Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for real-time updates, highlights and analysis of all things Hornets-Heat. 

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Hall of Fame Tip-Off 2014: TV Schedule, Live Stream and Updated Predictions

The 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off isn’t a March Madness-type of tournament, and it doesn’t pretend to be.

After all, there are two separate brackets, and only one of them follows the traditional winner-moves-on format of a tournament event. Play comes to an end in both the Naismith and Springfield brackets Sunday. 

Here is a look at the schedule and television information for every game. All four contests can be seen online courtesy of Watch ESPN, and both brackets are available at ESPN.com.

 

Predictions

Naismith Bracket: Massachusetts vs. Florida State and Notre Dame vs. Providence

There is no official winner in the Naismith Bracket, as every team gets a chance to play each other as part of a nonconference showcase before league play begins. It is a golden opportunity for all four clubs to pad their resumes in the early going against potential NCAA tournament opponents.

Both Massachusetts and Florida State are coming off of poor performances in losses, with the Seminoles falling to Providence, 80-54, and the Minutemen losing to Notre Dame, 81-68.

Defense has been optional for Florida State recently, and it allowed Providence and Northeastern to shoot a red-hot 53.7 percent from the field the last two contests, including 52.9 percent from downtown. The Seminoles countered with an abysmal 4-of-22 combined shooting from three-point range on the other end.

UMass has already beaten Boston College and will be particularly motivated against the Seminoles since Florida State knocked off the Minutemen last year. UMass player Derrick Gordon commented on that motivation, via Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette,“It’s definitely personal with them because they were talking smack the whole game. They came out with the win and we definitely have to return the favor.”

The Seminoles are 1-2 on the season, including a shocking loss to Northeastern, and are struggling on the defensive end. UMass will find a way to get that revenge against a vulnerable defense.

The other game features two 4-0 squads and arguably the best player at this event in Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant. Grant scored 24 points on a blistering 10-of-13 shooting from the field against the Minutemen. He also earned some praise from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein:

Grant will have some help of his own in Zach Auguste. The big man has double-digit points every game this year and at least seven rebounds in three of four contests.

Providence has its own dynamic duo in point guard Kris Dunn and LaDontae Henton. Henton scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win over Florida State, while Dunn scored 15 points and dished out nine assists.

Despite the presence of Dunn and Henton, the inside-outside combination of Grant and Auguste will ultimately prove to be too much for Providence, just like it was against Massachusetts. 

Predicted winners: UMass and Notre Dame

 

Springfield Bracket: Binghamton vs. Navy and Manhattan vs. Northeastern

Northeastern is clearly the best team in the Springfield bracket. It already beat Florida State and is a perfect 3-0 on the season after crushing Navy on Saturday, 68-44. It should have no issue with a Manhattan team that lost to the same Florida State squad Northeastern beat.

The David Walker and Quincy Ford combination in the backcourt will be far too much for Manhattan to handle.

In the other game, Navy has gotten off to a nightmare start. It is 0-4 on the season and lost its last three by a combined 100 points. Interestingly, the only game Navy stayed close in was the season-opening loss to Michigan State.

Binghamton is only 1-3, but it will have more athletes on the floor than Navy. It will outlast the Midshipmen by getting out in transition and pushing the tempo all game, which will eventually wear them out by the second half.

Predicted winners: Northeastern and Binghamton

 

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Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

After hanging in for 47 minutes, the Orlando Magic couldn’t withstand Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers late. They fell to the Miami Heat at home, 99-92. 

Bosh was feeling it all night, but reached another gear late in the fourth quarter. He finished 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, while Mario Chalmers shot 10-of-16 and finished with 24 and eight assists. 

Three-point shooting is what stood out for the Heat, going 12-of-26 from beyond the arc, compared to Orlando’s putrid 3-of-16 clip. 

Nikola Vucevic posted his career-high in points tonight, going up against Shawne Williams mostly, scoring 33 and hauling down 17 rebounds. He and Elfrid Payton stood out as difference-makers, the latter coming away with five steals in 22 minutes. 

Now 7-6, Miami inches closer to the division-leading Washington Wizards. Its next matchup comes Sunday at 6 p.m. ET against the Charlotte Hornets. The Magic fall to 6-9, and take on the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

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Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

Behind a career-high 36 points (9-of-19 shooting, 15-of-15 from the free-throw line) from Lou Williams the Toronto Raptors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-93, Saturday night. 

The Cavaliers have now lost four straight games while the Raptors have won four in a row dating back to Nov. 15. 

Despite trailing by as many as 18 in the first quarter, the Raptors stormed back, outscoring the Cavaliers, 64-37, in the second and third quarters, combined. 

As a team, the Raptors shot 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from three, but got to the line a staggering 42 times, converting 38 of their tries at the charity stripe. Entering Saturday night’s contest, the Raptors ranked No. 3 overall in free-throw rate. 

According to Raptors Media Relations, Toronto now has five double-digit comeback victories this season, the most in the NBA

Kyle Lowry added 23 points and eight assists while DeMar DeRozan chipped in 20 points, five rebounds and three dimes. 

Kevin Love scored a season-high 23 points for the Cavaliers, but Cleveland shot a putrid 3-of-16 from three as a team while knocking down just 43 percent of its total field goals. 

LeBron James recorded a double-double consisting of 15 points and 10 rebounds while Kyrie Irving added 21 points and six dimes in the loss. 

Toronto will look to extend its winning streak Monday against the Phoenix Suns while Cleveland will look to snap its losing streak at home against the Orlando Magic after a day off on Sunday. 

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Brooklyn Nets vs. San Antonio Spurs: Live Score, Highlights and Reaction

Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets (5-7) are on the road to take on the suddenly clicking San Antonio Spurs (8-4), Saturday at the AT&T Center.

It’s the first meeting between the two this season.

 

Tipoff8:30 p.m. ET

Coverage: Fox Sports Southwest

 

Keys to the Game

The Nets will have to do a much better job of sharing the ball if they want any shot at a win. They’re 25th in the NBA in assists per game, while the Spurs are first in points allowed.

The Spurs, meanwhile, have won six of their last seven, thanks in large part to that stingy defense. Kawhi Leonard has assumed the role of leader on that end, and will likely spend some time defending Joe Johnson and possibly even leading scorer Deron Williams.

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