It’s mid-July and it seems as if the first bit of relevant basketball news has reared its head, as the pairings for the
Old Spice Classic Advocare Invitational have been announced:
First-round matchups for the 2015 Orlando Classic are set.
It will be Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, Dayton-Iowa, Xavier-Alabama, and Wichita State-USC on Nov. 26, multiple sources said.
Second-round matchups are Nov. 27 and the championship game is Nov. 29. The winner of Notre Dame-Monmouth will take on the winner of Dayton-Iowa. Xavier-Alabama will face the winner of Wichita State-USC.
Times for the first-round games are not set.
Organizers of the event seem to be eyeing a potential final game between Notre Dame and Wichita State. The Irish return three starters from last year’s team that reached the Elite Eight — Demetrius Jackson, Steve Vasturia and Zach Auguste. The Shockers are armed with arguably college basketball’s best backcourt in Fred Van Vleet and Ron Baker.
Dayton, Iowa and Xavier are all expected to be NCAA Tournament teams in 2016 as well.
With seemingly all early-season tournaments, the key is getting a victory in the first round. A loss to Iowa in the first round likely results in a matchup with Monmouth in the loser’s bracket, meaning the chances of Dayton leaving Orlando with a few valuable scalps becomes tenuous at best.
Looking ahead, there are several potential tasty matchups for the Flyers if they are victorious in their first round matchup. The Sweaters can rehash their glory days, when the confederate flag was flown over Kennedy Union, with a probable tilt against Notre Dame in the semifinal. Dayton fans can pretend they are something more than indifferent towards the Indiana school, reigniting the “rivalry” between the schools, as the two Catholic flyover universities would face off for the first time since the Flyers downed ND at UD Arena back in 1995.
If the Gem City Cagers are fortunate enough to get past the Irish, there are a multitude of possibilities sure to whet your appetite. How about a chance to wipe the greasy smirk off of Gregg Marshall’s face, that do anything for you? There’s also a chance the Flyers could face off with either USC or Alabama, should those two schools pull off two upsets and reach the tournament’s final.
That’s it though, there’s no other prospective boner-worthy pairing that I can think of. None.
Iowa, UD’s first round opponent, finished 22-12 last year (tied for third in the Big Ten), stomping A-10 blood-brother Davidson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out against Gonzaga two days later to end their season.
Iowa comes into this year’s campaign with an experienced roster. Fran McCaffery returns four starters, all Big Ten first-teamer Aaron White being the one major loss from the Hawkeye lineup. A victory over McCaffery’s club will be a major coup for Archie and Co., as Iowa should be one of the better teams in the B1G, a squad that is expected to be an NCAA tournament team.
Bottom line — the…Advocare Invitational..provides UD with a prime opportunity to earn a couple of quality out-of-conference victories. As we saw on Selection Sunday last March, valuable wins outside of the A-10 will be imperative to next season’s success.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.