ACC Basketball notebook: Duke falls to Kansas; Previewing a delicious Feast Week for the ACC
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
Before you flame me for this hot take, hear me out.
Thanksgiving is about gratitude. It’s about being appreciative of the year that has transpired and being thankful for the chance to have better days ahead.
Thanksgiving is about family and friends and loved ones and being present with each another. There are no frills, outside of whatever secret ingredient Aunt Edna has decided to put in her stuffing this year. There are no surprises, either, outside of whatever Uncle Bob’s disastrous political takes comes out after his 3rd beer. There’s no need to worry about presents, return receipts, late-night runs to Target for gift cards, or whether the calendar you bought that cousin you don’t know outside of her social media posts will be savored or re-gifted.
No, Thanksgiving is just you, the people you love, laughs, handshakes, and if you are fortunate, a little bit of pumpkin or pecan pie.
It’s about food. No matter who you are, what your cultural background is, or whether you dine out or fire up the Big Green Egg at 5 a.m. — we almost universally can agree that a holiday centering around when we all come together and eat a great supper is a grand idea.
Finally, Thanksgiving is about sports. Whether it’s a college football rivalry game on Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Thanksgiving weekend, Thanksgiving Day bonding during the Packers or Lions or Cowboys games with your dad or grandpa or brother, you couldn’t ask for more as a sports fan.
For college basketball fans, Thanksgiving isn’t just a day. It’s an entire 10-day celebration. Dubbed “Feast Week,” college basketball teams across the country begin play in MTE’s (multiteam events) the week prior to Thanksgiving and there is basketball on television more or less constantly from the Thursday prior to Thanksgiving until the Saturday or Sunday following Turkey Day.
Feast Week is the most fun college basketball gets until March, and hoops junkies savor it accordingly.
As has been the case since the inception of November tournaments and Feast Week, the ACC has teams in tournaments across the country, from New York to the beaches of Maui, Hawaii. Every ACC team is booked for a Feast Week even this season, with ACC programs beginning Feast Week play Wednesday.
In this week’s ACC Basketball Notebook, we take a look at each of the Feast Week events involving the ACC.
But first– let’s take a look at the appetizer, which came Tuesday night when Duke met Kansas at the State Farm Champions Classic.
Duke shows promise; Kansas shows why they are the champs
Kansas didn’t have Bill Self when they squared off with Duke in a blueblood battle of top 10 teams Tuesday night, but they did have the swagger of champions.
Self is serving a school-imposed, brief four-game suspension, along with assistant Kurtis Townsend, as part of the fallout from a 2017 federal investigation into college basketball corruption. The NCAA has not yet levied punishments on the Jayhawks program.
Tuesday night’s game was also Duke’s first matchup with a ranked opponent in the Jon Scheyer era, making for juicy storylines as the Blue Devils begin life without Coach K.
For 30 minutes, Duke looked like the more talented team– and they may be. They led by at the under 12 media timeout, behind Kyle Filipowski, the best of Duke’s sensational freshmen, at least early in the season, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds and sent Jayson Tatum into standing ovation mode with this dunk.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) November 16, 2022
But as champions do, Kansas didn’t panic. Behind their own sensational freshman, Gradey Dick, who scored 14 points, the Jayhawks clawed back. Once they got the lead back, the champs relied on All-American Jalen Wilson, who finished with a stat-sheet stuffing 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists, to bring things home.
Duke may have lost, but Dereck Lively II is just getting started and Filipowski has joined Marvin Bagley III as the only other Duke freshman in program history with consecutive double-doubles to begin a season. And remember, Dariq Whitehead, the third amigo in the Duke freshmen trio, has yet to set foot on the court. Whitehead could be back by the PK 85, which begins next week in Portland.
In other words, we may see these two teams on a neutral floor again. What a night that will be.
Now onto your ultimate Feast Week preview…
Legends Classic (New York)
ACC School: Pitt
When: Nov. 16-17
The Skinny: The 4-team field includes perennial NCAA Tournament programs in Michigan and VCU, as well as the Panthers and Arizona State out of the Pac-12. Each team will get 2 games, with the Panthers facing off against Michigan on Wednesday (6 p.m. ET, ESPNU) to begin the tournament. For Jeff Capel’s team, a 1-1 finish would be outstanding, and give Pitt a big boost on its resume as it prepares for league play.
Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic (Charleston, SC)
ACC School: Virginia Tech
When: Nov. 17-20
The Skinny: The 8-team field for this event is terrific, and the hospitality and venue (College of Charleston) makes it among the best annual Feast Week events. While there’s no blueblood, there are a host of outstanding mid-major programs, including Davidson out of the Atlantic 10 and Furman out of the Southern Conference. The Charleston Classic also has an array of elite basketball X and O minds, from Mike Young of Virginia Tech and Bob Richey of Furman to Niko Medved at Colorado State. Analytics writers and hoops junkies alike will love this event, which is sure to feature innovative, efficient offense and outstanding fundamental basketball. Virginia Tech, which won the Charleston Classic under Buzz Williams, will be favored to take the trophy home again in 2022. The Hokies will open play against Old Dominion on Thursday (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
ACC School: Wake Forest
When: Nov. 18-20
The Skinny: Two tournaments broken into pods of 4 teams, the Demon Deacons are in the Montego Bay division, joining Lasalle of the Atlantic 10, Loyola Marymount of the West Coast Conference and Georgetown of the Big East. Wake Forest will begin tournament play Nov. 18 against Lasalle (2 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network). The Deacs feature a Feast Week legend in Tyree Appleby, who hit this shot to help Florida win the Rocket City Mortgage Classic a year ago:
TYREE APPLEBY from DEEEEEP AT THE BUZZER and Florida beats Ohio State 71-68 pic.twitter.com/ZcKjn6yLE1
— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) November 25, 2021
Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands)
ACC School: Boston College
When: Nov. 18-21
The Skinny: Another field without a blueblood, this 8-team event features a number a newer Division I program in Tarleton State, along with established mid-majors like Buffalo, George Mason and Howard. Boston College is the lone Power 6 team in the field, and it will open play with George Mason on Friday (8 p.m. ET). ESPN3 will stream all of the Paradise Jam games.
Continental Tire Main Event (Las Vegas)
ACC School: Virginia
When: Nov. 18, 20
The Skinny: The 1st of the Feast Week events with Power 6 brand names and a blueblood, the Main Event will feature recent national championship programs in Baylor and Virginia along with national power UCLA. Illinois will round out the heavyweight field. The Cavaliers will play Baylor on Friday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), with the winner and loser playing an additional game Sunday. This event is the 1st “must-see TV” of Feast Week, and any permutation in the final or consolation game will be fun come Sunday.
Hall of Fame Tip-Off (Uncasville, Conn.)
ACC School: Miami
When: Nov. 19-20
The Skinny: The Hurricanes, fresh off last season’s Elite Eight run, will join 2 other Power 6 programs in Maryland and Providence in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off field, which is rounded out by Saint Louis out of the Atlantic 10. That’s a solid 4-team event, with the Billikens actually the highest-rated team in the field, per KenPom’s Adjusted Efficiency rankings. Only 20 spots separate the 4 programs, however, which should make for intriguing basketball games. Miami’s nonconference resume was thin last season, hurting its NCAA seeding. Two wins here would remedy that, and the Canes will begin play Saturday with a showdown against Providence (4 p.m. ET, ESPNews).
Maui Jim Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawaii)
ACC School: Louisville
When: Nov. 21-23
The Skinny: There’s no “host” school Chaminade this year, which will give the Maui Invitational a different feel than in years past. But the Maui Invitational is kind of the Rose Bowl of Feast Week events, with invitations thoughtfully given to bluebloods or rising programs each year and an incredible focus on student and fan experience alike from the gracious Hawaiian hosts. The Cardinals will figure out who they can be this season in Hawaii. They will open Monday with SEC heavyweight Arkansas (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and even if they fall to the losers’ bracket after meeting the Razorbacks, games could await with the likes of Creighton, Texas Tech, San Diego State, Ohio State, Arizona or Cincinnati. Talk about required television!
Empire Classic (New York)
ACC School: Syracuse
When: Nov. 21-22
The Skinny: A 4-team event for a great cause, with proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project, a tremendous nonprofit dedicated to providing all manner of assistance to our brave veterans wounded in service, the event at the Barclays Center in New York will feature 2 of New York’s best hoops draws with Syracuse and St. John’s in the field. Richmond, a darling of last year’s NCAA Tournament, also is in the field, as is Temple. Jim Boeheim insists this Orange team can play — we’ll find out Monday when the team opens Empire Classic play with Richmond (7 p.m., ESPNU).
Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off (Fort Myers, Fla.)
ACC School: Georgia Tech
When: Nov. 21-23
The Skinny: There were some questions about the ability of Fort Myers to host this event after Hurricane Ian wreaked destruction on the area only 2 months ago, but the games go on next week in a Feast Week event with a championship final the night before Thanksgiving. Marquette is the headliner, but the Yellow Jackets join Mississippi State and Utah as NCAA Tournament-hungry programs in the 4-team Beach Division field. Georgia Tech will open its tournament Monday night against Utah (6 p.m. ET, FS1). The Palms Division field will have Northern Illinois, Sam Houston State, South Dakota and Long Island University.
Battle 4 Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas)
ACC School: NC State
When: Nov. 23-25
The Skinny: A Feast Week mainstay, the Battle 4 Atlantis always features a strong field and this year is no different, with reigning national champion Kansas the headliner and SEC mainstay Tennessee a legitimate contender to win the event. It’s a huge tournament for coach Kevin Keatts and the Wolfpack, who want to put last season’s misery behind them and show they are legitimate NCAA Tournament contenders this season. The Wolfpack drew Kansas in the event’s opening game (noon ET, ESPN), but even if it loses that game, NC State is guaranteed 2 more and a number of quality programs, including Butler, Brigham Young, Wisconsin, Dayton and Southern California all could be waiting in the consolation bracket. A 2-1 trip for the Pack would be a great success and do wonders for the Selection Sunday profile.
ESPN Events Invitational (Orlando, Fla.)
ACC School: Florida State
When: Nov. 24-27
The Skinny: The annual Disney Feast Week event is popular among fanbases and tends to draw huge crowds, especially for the Thursday night games after the turkey has been put away and a post-meal nap enjoyed. In a normal season, FSU would be a favorite at this event, but the “new bloods” are shorthanded and might struggle to advance after a Thanksgiving Day tilt with Sienna (11 a.m. ET, ESPN2). The field is intriguing and wide open, with Memphis, Seton Hall, Ole Miss, Stanford, Oklahoma and Nebraska rounding out the field. Is Memphis a slight favorite? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t be stunning if Seton Hall, Stanford or Oklahoma won the title, either. It’s that evenly matched and should make for competitive, fun basketball games.
PK 85: The Phil Knight Invitational (Portland, Ore.)
ACC School: North Carolina
When: Nov. 24-27
The Skinny: This will be the 1st big test for North Carolina’s Fatigueless Four as they chase glory and a 7th national championship for the Tar Heels this season. In a loaded field along with fellow bluebloods Michigan State, UConn and Villanova, the Tar Heels still are the Vegas favorite as of this writing. We’ll know a ton more about this team, and the rumor of expanded depth, after this event, which will begin Thanksgiving Day and see coach Hubert Davis and the Tar Heels square off with host school Portland (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) in the opening round. This is among the best Feast Week tournaments, and we should all be grateful for Nike and ESPN for being gracious and putting it on to go with our meal prep on Thanksgiving morning.
PK 85: The Phil Knight Legacy (Portland, Ore.)
ACC School: Duke
When: Nov. 24-27
The Skinny: The best field during Feast Week, at least per KenPom, lives here, in the companion event to the Phil Knight Invitational. Duke’s sensational young freshmen will be battle-tested over 3 games in 4 days in Portland, beginning with a Thanksgiving Day game with Oregon State (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). Should the Blue Devils handle business against the Beavers, they’ll face either a national title-winning program in Florida, which Duke fans will remember played the Blue Devils in an epic championship game at the PK 80 5 years ago, or Xavier, a team with 2nd-weekend aspirations and fans who travel in droves, in Friday’s semifinals. A date with Gonzaga could await in the championship game, though perennial NCAA programs in Purdue and West Virginia also lurk on the other side of the bracket along with Portland State. What a field and event.
Emerald Coast Classic (Niceville, Fla.)
ACC Team: Clemson
When: Nov. 25-26
The Skinny: Two pods of 4 teams make up this event, with Clemson featured in the all-Power 6 program “Host” bracket, along with Big Ten contender Iowa, TCU out of the Big 12 and Cal of the Pac-12. The Tigers will get a stern test on Black Friday against the Hawkeyes (7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network) but will get at least 2 opportunities at Quad 2 or above victories during their time in the Florida panhandle.
Gotham Classic (Elmont, NY)
ACC Team: Notre Dame
When: Nov. 25-26
The Skinny: The Fighting Irish headline a 1-day event with 4 teams, including Saint Bonaventure of the Atlantic 10, which the Fighting Irish will play Nov. 25 (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+). Mike Brey’s Notre Dame team usually has played in a higher-profile MTE, so this scheduling twist was a bit surprising, but it should be a well-attended game given the number of Notre Dame and Saint Bonaventure alumni alike who settle in the greater New York City area. A win will be at worst a Quad 2 victory for Notre Dame as well, which is an added bonus given how paper thin the Fighting Irish’s resume was a season ago, when 1 big nonconference win against Kentucky made all the difference on Selection Sunday.