Entering it’s 11th season, the Advocare Invitational (previously named the Old Spice Classic) welcomes eight teams to Orlando starting on Thursday and may have it’s deepest and most competitive field in its 11 year history.
Last year, Xavier took down Dayton in the finals to win the tournament.
Can another Big East team take home the title? Let’s take a look.
Indiana State Sycamores (2-1) vs. #20 Iowa State Cyclones (3-0)- Thursday @ 12:30 P.M. on ESPN2
On the surface, this may seem like an easy one for the Cyclones. However, Iowa State cannot afford to look past a gritty Indiana State team. Led by junior Brenton Scott (22.3 PPG), the Sycamores calling card is defense. The team is is 75-9 when holding teams under 63 points, so they will be looking to slow down Iowa State in order to have a chance in this one.
Iowa State has cruised to three easy wins against Savannah State, Mount St. Mary’s, and Citadel. Not exactly powerhouse programs, but the Cyclones have played well none the less. While Indiana State may prioritize defense, Iowa State has had no problem scoring the ball so far this season. Monte Morris is coming off of a triple-double against Citadel and Naz Long has complemented Morris well so far.
Indiana State may hang around in the beginning, but this one has Iowa State written all over it.
FINAL SCORE: Iowa State: 76 Indiana State:59
Stanford (4-0) vs. Miami (3-0)- Thursday, 2:30 P.M. on ESPN2
In this matchup, we have a battle of the undefeated’s squaring off in the first round.
Stanford has started out 4-0 under first-year head man Jerod Haase , and Miami has gotten off to a 3-0, start dominating in all three of their games under Jim Larranaga.
The Cardinal had to grind out a 56-49 victory over Colorado State in their last game and while their defensive performance may have been impressive, the offensive output was not. Stanford is a veteran team led by guard Dorian Pickens and forward Michael Humphrey, which bodes well for their chance to take down Miami.
While Stanford had to grind for their last win, Miami has taken care of business pretty easily to start off the new season. The Hurricanes find themselves just outside of the top 25 and will be looking to make a splash in the Advocare. In order to do so, they will first have to take down Stanford. Guard Ja’Quan Newton has really come into his own for the Canes and will look to lead the charge on Thursday.
FINAL SCORE: Miami: 68 Stanford: 58
Quinnipiac (0-2) vs. #14 Gonzaga (3-0)- Thursday, 6:30 P.M. on ESPN2
Right now, the Bobcats are 0-2 and find themselves going up against one of the best teams in the country in the Zags. Not only is Gonzaga one of the better teams in America, they are a veteran team who will not let a team like Quinnipiac get the best of them.
This is the shortest preview because the result seems to be pretty clear-cut, but who knows. Indiana did just lose to IPFW, after all.
FINAL SCORE: Gonzaga: 87 Quinnipiac: 64
Seton Hall (3-0) vs. Florida (4-0) Thursday, 8:30 P.M. on ESPN2
The last game of the day might wind up being the best game of the day.
This showdown features two teams in Seton Hall and Florida that are sitting right on the cusp of the top 25 and will be looking to jump into the rankings with some big wins in the Advocare.
Florida will be looking to start 5-0 coming off of a disappointing 2015-2016 campaign after head coach Billy Donovan left for the NBA. The Gators are led by College of Charleston transfer guard Canyon Barry, who also happens to be the son of NBA Hall-of-famer Rick Barry.
Seton Hall went on the road and knocked off Iowa last week behind 26 points from freshman Myles Powell. The emergence of Powell combined with the four returning starters from last year’s Big East Championship team can make the Pirates dangerous not only now, but as the season progresses.
The key for Florida will be to hold the Pirates under 70. Seton Hall has not played a game where they have not had their way offensively, so it is unclear how they would respond in a defensive battle. For Seton Hall, it will be all about forcing turnovers and getting out into transition.
FINAL SCORE: Seton Hall: 79 Florida: 72
8th Place: Quinnipiac
7th Place: Indiana State
6th Place: Stanford
5th Place: Florida
Semifinal #1- Iowa State: 70 Miami:65
Semifinal #2- Gonzaga: 66 Seton Hall: 63
Championship Game: Gonzaga: 76 Iowa State: 64