Definition of “classic”: a work of art of recognized and established value.
Here’s a list of this weekend’s “Classics” and whether they fit the definition. We’re fans of “Showcase,” “Invitational,” or “Shootout,” which make a lot of sense. Hint, most of the “Classics” below are nowhere close.
Props to UD for agreeing to play in the State Farm Chicago Legends Event. Chi-Town recognizes what a “Classic” is.
Billy Minardi Classic – Eastern Kentucky and Louisville square off in this one, which is named after Pitino’s best friend, who passed on 9/11. Absolutely a worthy cause, but the actual game will certainly not be a work of art.
Suggested title: Billy Minardi Tribute
Big Four Classic – Upstate New York’s finest! St. Bonaventure, Niagara, Canisius and Buffalo. Calling this a Classic is not stretching it: it is tearing it into a million pieces. The games are in Buffalo, so there is always a chance of chaos…
Suggested title: Irrelevance Invitational by Lake Effect Snow
Gotham Classic – How many “Classics” do the state of New York hold per year? This is one of these tournaments where four known teams play a bunch of scrubs first on their home floors before the huge battle in “Gotham.” Noon – Kennesaw State vs. UMass. YES!
Suggested title: New York Tournament #17
Fun fact and alternative title: “Gotham” didn’t start with the Batman comics, it started here. In honor of that illustrious history, may I suggest the Goat Town Can Chew?
Metro PCS Orange Bowl Classic – So let me get this straight…two weeks before the Orange Bowl and they celebrate with Manhattan vs. Florida State and Charlotte vs. Florida. Come on. If you want this to be interesting, get Michigan to drop everything to come play Florida State. Also, the football game is the Capital One Orange Bowl. I’m really confused.
Suggested title: Not As Good As The Football Game
Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic – Another of the “play some scrubs” before a trip to Vegas tournament. Saturday features Chicago State and DePaul at the Rosemont Horizon which will have 28 people in attendance. How DePaul still gets invited to any tournament is astonishing.
Other matchups: Multi-directional Missouri State vs. Missouri State (solid), Cornell vs. Wyoming, Troy vs. USC. How does this have recognized and established value. You couldn’t pay me to go to any of these games.
Suggested title: Request a Las Vegas Tire Classic Presented by Olympic Gardens
Hy-Vee Big Four Classic – WHOA! The state of Iowa decided to one up upstate New York by adding a sponsor no one has ever heard of! From the Hy-Vee website:
“In 1930, Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg opened a small general store in Beaconsfield, Iowa. That store grew to become Hy-Vee — a company known for excellent service and reasonable prices.”
Ok, so it’s Iowa’s Meijer. Good job, Iowa. Northern Iowa, Iowa, Iowa State and Drake really don’t scream “Classic.”
Suggested title: The Big Caucus presented by Extenze
Shreveport-Bossier Holiday Classic – The state of Louisiana gets into the act with La-Monroe, N’Western State, Grambling and Louisiana Tech. When will these states realize that they aren’t Indiana. Have we proven our point yet?
Suggested title: The Fan Boat Invitational – without fans
CBS Sports Classic – Here we go. Marquee name matchups here with UNC/Kentucky and Ohio State/UCLA. They are also playing in Vegas. Most of these kids aren’t 21, therefore, they can’t Vegas like they should be able to Vegas. However, these two bloggers would love to go on a heater at the craps table with Calipari.
Suggested title: So, let’s get this straight, they’re sending a bunch of college kids to make a boatload of money for four colleges, CBS, and their advertising sponsors and the kids get to neither make money nor gamble?! Ok, that was more of a rant than a title. How about the Holiday Hoops Hypocrisy?
Crossroads Classic – Four ranked teams from the greatest basketball state in the country. We certainly have ourselves a classic!
Enough fun. Let’s get to the picks. Mike used reverse psychology last week to get a beer back, jinx the hell out of me, and get back to .500.
Beer Bets: Nate 3-2
#19 Arizona (9-2) vs. Texas A&M (7-2), 11 a.m., ESPN2
Line: Texas A&M -2
Nate: This one is in Houston, so it will be like a home game for A&M. But I think A&M has a similar problem as ND, with hardly anyone caring about the basketball program. Having watched Arizona play, however, and still without Allonzo Trier, I’m going with the Aggies -2.
Mike: Vegas appears to really want money to go on Arizona in this one. I’m not biting. Aggies -2.
#21 Notre Dame (9-1) vs. #15 Purdue (8-2), 1 p.m., ESPN2
Line: Purdue -3
Nate: Beach shoots himself out of his slump, and the Irish win a close one. Here’s the preview. Irish +3
Mike: Oof, this spread is right on the money. I was primed to pick the Boilers in this one but I was expecting a 1.5 point spread at most. Pass. This one has 3-point game written all over it.
#2 UCLA (11-0) vs. Ohio State (8-2), 2 p.m., CBS
Line: UCLA -9
Nate: Not three weeks in a row. While Lonzo Ball has the flash and gets all the pub, this isn’t the #2 team in the country without T.J. Leaf. The guy is a stud. UCLA -9
Mike: Once again, I’m tired of being wrong about UCLA. In unrelated news, I can’t stand Ohio State. Anyone who knows me knows this. UCLA -9.
#9 Indiana (8-1) vs. #18 Butler (9-1), 4 p.m., BTN
Line: Indiana -2.5
Nate: The nightcap of the Crossroads Classic will be excellent. This spread seams just a little low, especially with Anunoby back (though he may not start). Butler is solid, but the Hoosiers are too talented. IU -2.5
Mike: Too much agreement on this picks post so far, but I am still not convinced that Butler is quite as good as their ranking would indicate. I know Indiana’s one loss is terrible, but their wins are probably the best in the country so far. I’m taking them until they give me (another) reason to doubt them. IU -2.5.
#6 Kentucky (9-1) vs. #7 UNC (10-1), 4:45 p.m., CBS
Line: Kentucky -1
Nate: This is the 2nd game of the Holiday Hoops Hypocrisy, and a damn good one. Joel Berry is back for UNC, making this the old guys versus the young guys. I’ll take the old guys. UNC +1
Mike: If you’re going to watch the Hypocrisy, this is as good a reason as any. I’m not sure Kentucky is ready for UNC, but I have a feeling that they’re going to take them down. UNC has been on a bit of a downtick for their past few games. I don’t think they right the ship here. BEER BET! Kentucky -1.5.
Dayton (7-2) vs. Northwestern (8-2), 6 p.m., BTN
Line: Dayton -1.5
Nate: It has been ‘close but no cigar’ for the Northwestern this year, as they had golden opportunities to knock off ND and Butler. This should be a hell of a game, and will likely go down to the wire. I’m passing here, because I see this as a total 50/50 game.
Mike: I’m taking the Flyers 1.5 here. Also here. Oh, and I’ll be at this game. Listen for the guy yelling about all of the missed block/charge calls. It’ll probably be a close game.
MTSU (10-1) @ VCU (7-3), 6 p.m.
Line: VCU -4
Nate: Now this is a sexy matchup. Of course, Middle Tennessee took out Michigan State last year in the tournament in a 15/2 upset. They aren’t screwing around this year either, sitting at 10-1, with wins over Ole Miss and Vandy. VCU has struggled lately as they have been blown out by Illinois and lost at home to Georgia Tech. Give me the points. MTSU +4
Mike: Back to the consensus. Anyone who gets blown out by Illinois deserves a heaping amount of skepticism. MTSU +4.
Oklahoma St. (8-2) @ Wichita St. (9-2), 6 p.m.
Line: Wichita St. -8.5
Nate: This seems like a ton of points. Jawun Evans is not 100%, but did play (5 points) in their latest win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff. I’ll bite. Cowboys +8.5
Mike: Look at Nate, getting suckered by Vegas. I’m not biting here in either direction. I will say that I lean toward the Shockers here, though. Schools like Wichita State that pull major conference opponent home games tend to get up for them.