The Mocs will be playing on Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after Thanksgiving in Las Vegas in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. We do not know the official match-ups yet.
Here is what we do know. The Mocs will likely play two games against teams from the "A" level on their campus. The "B" level teams will compete in a four team tournament in Las Vegas.
We also know who those teams are, their 2012-13 record and final RPI.
UCLA (25-10, 26)
Missouri (23-11, 36)
Nevada (12-19, 171)
Northwestern (13-19, 168)
Chattanooga (13-19, 292)
IUPUI (6-26, 326)
Morehead State (15-18, 172)
Gardner Webb (21-13, 194)
So what does this mean for the Mocs? Well, rumor has it that the Mocs will be playing UCLA, Missouri on the road. That's good for the RPI. Missouri and UCLA both probably won't be quite as good as last year, but both are probably better than Nevada and Northwestern still. Winning is unlikely against either, though you never know. Still, playing them will not be a drain on the RPI, which is a very good thing.
Now, looking at the Las Vegas portion of the tournament, and where the Mocs can really hope to be competitive. IUPUI should be improved from a year ago. Gardner-Webb is losing probably their two best players- Tashan Newsome and Kevin Hartley. Morehead State is losing their top scorer from a year ago, Milton Chavis.
So- there you go. I believe any of these four schools could win in Las Vegas and that all are going to be decent teams. All could be a moderate drag on the RPI (lower than 250) but not a terrible drag (I believe that all will be ranked in the Top 300- better than several SoCon teams).
The games last year featured Cornell, Presbyterian, Florida A&M, and Longwood. They started on the first day at 2:00 PM and 4:30 PM Eastern time. On the second day, the losers played at 3:00 PM and the winners played at 5:30. So set aside some time on Thanksgivings to watch at 2:00 or 4:30, more than likely. Schedule the turkey dinner around it. Go on and start doing that now. Or plan your trip to Las Vegas. Whichever you prefer. It does not appear that any of the games a year ago were available on ESPN3 or any network. I'm not sure if this year will be any different. Hopefully, there will be some internet availability.
I am very interested in seeing how this November tournament goes. It will tell us a lot about where the Mocs stand early in the year. The Mocs will be a more experienced team this year than they were last year. With Will Wade in the mix, how will they look? These two games will tell an early story.
The season is slowly working its way towards us. I am so ready for this thing to get started.