Ranked teams face tough tests in holiday tournaments

Nov 21, 2022, 11:29 AM | Updated: Nov 22, 2022, 1:30 am
Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) shoots over Southern Utah guard Harrison Butler (15) during the ...

Kansas guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) shoots over Southern Utah guard Harrison Butler (15) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas won 82-76. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Thanksgiving week of holiday tournaments is almost always a feast of high-level college hoops.

While several top teams are playing home games against smaller-conference opponents, the programs in Maui, the Bahamas and Oregon are facing one stiff test after another.

Here’s a look at the tournaments taking place this week:


One of the deepest brackets in the tournament’s history descended upon tiny Lahaina Civic Center. The tournament includes five teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and other big-name programs.

No. 10 Creighton (5-0) tipped off the paradise festivities with a 76-65 win over No. 21 Texas Tech, dominating the Red Raiders in the second half.

No. 9 Arkansas (4-0) was even better in the second Maui game, routing Louisville 80-54 behind high-flying freshman Anthony Black’s 26 points.

That sets up Tuesday’s semifinal between the Bluejays and Razorbacks. Both teams like to get up and down the floor, so the packed-in Lahaina Center crowd could set off some seismographs on the islands.

No. 17 San Diego State entered the season with high expectations and lived up to those pre-Maui, knocking off BYU and Stanford. The Aztecs kept it going in Maui, overcoming a slow start to beat Ohio State 88-77.

No. 14 Arizona dominated its first three games, averaging a nation-leading 105.3 points and 26.3 assists. The Wildcats kept their roll going with a 101-93 victory over Cincinnati at the Maui Invitational to set up a semifinal game against San Diego State.


The bracket for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas isn’t bad, either.

No. 3 Kansas and No. 22 Tennessee are the only ranked teams, but the tournament also includes North Carolina State, Southern California and Wisconsin.

The Jayhawks (4-0) moved up three spots to No. 3 in this week’s poll and have a tough opener against NC State on Wednesday.

Kansas already picked up a win over No. 8 Duke in its bid to repeat as national champion, but had a hard time shaking Southern Utah before winning 82-76 on Friday.

Like Kansas, the Wolfpack are 4-0, but have yet to face a true test this season.

NC State has added several veteran transfers, including big man DJ Burns, who could give the Jayhawks some trouble inside at 6-foot-9, 275 pounds. Kansas also will have to keep track of sharp-shooting sophomore Terquavion Smith, who can get hot from the 3-point line in a hurry.

Get past NC State, and Kansas will face the winner between Dayton and Wisconsin.

The Volunteers (2-1) turned some heads by beating No. 6 Gonzaga in an exhibition, but weren’t so impressive in a 78-66 loss to Colorado on Nov. 13. Tennessee was much better at both ends of the floor in an 81-50 win over Florida Gulf Coast last week.

The Vols open the Battle 4 Atlantis against a Butler team still trying to find the mid-major magic from several years ago, with a potentially tough next game against the USC-BYU winner.


Michigan State coach Tom Izzo likes to test his teams early and this season has one of the nation’s toughest nonconference schedules.

Another big test comes against No. 18 Alabama in the first round of the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday.

The Spartans have stood up to the demanding schedule so far, losing by one point to No. 6 Gonzaga on an aircraft carrier, beating No. 15 Kentucky in double overtime and outlasting a late push by Villanova to win by two Friday night.

Michigan State moved into the AP Top 25 at No. 12 this week after starting the season unranked.

The Crimson Tide (4-0) are without Jahvon Quinerly, who’s recovering from knee surgery, but have been better defensively so far this season after being among the nation’s worst on that end of the floor a year ago.

The winner of that game faces either Oregon or No. 20 UConn.

North Carolina has been the nation’s No. 1 team all season and doesn’t figure to face much of a threat against Portland in the first round Thursday.

It figures to get much tougher after that, with the Tar Heels playing Iowa State or Villanova in the second round.

North Carolina (4-0) hasn’t exactly faced the toughest competition through its first four games, but had a hard time putting away Gardner-Webb in a 72-66 win last Tuesday. The Tar Heels will need to play better no matter which team they face in the second round.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) reacts to an incomplete pass in the end zone aga...
Associated Press

Steelers make it 2 in a row with 19-16 win over Falcons

ATLANTA (AP) — Kenny Pickett tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Connor Heyward, Matthew Wright kicked four field goals and the Pittsburgh Steelers made it two wins in a row for the first time this season, holding off the Atlanta Falcons 19-16 Sunday. Coming off a Monday night victory at Indianapolis, the Steelers (5-7) finally […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Clark, No. 10 Iowa beat Wisconsin for 26th straight time

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Caitlin Clark scored 22 points, Monika Cziano added 18 and No. 10 Iowa beat Wisconsin 102-71 on Sunday in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams. Iowa (6-3) stopped a two-game skid and beat the Badgers (3-7) for the 26th straight time. Clark, a preseason All-American who came into the […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Lakhin, Skillings lead Cincinnati over Bryant 97-71

CINCINNATI (AP) — Viktor Lakhin and Dan Skillings Jr. posted double-doubles and Cincinnati rolled to a 97-71 victory over Bryant on Sunday. Lakhin finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Bearcats (6-3). Skillings added 14 points and 13 boards. David DeJulius pitched in with 14 points and seven assists. The Bulldogs (6-3) were […]
2 days ago
England's Harry Kane celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 soc...
Associated Press

England reaches World Cup quarterfinals, beats Senegal 3-0

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — England captain Harry Kane scored his first goal of this year’s World Cup, helping his team beat Senegal 3-0 Sunday and setting up a match against France in the quarterfinals. Kane scored for the 52nd time for his country to move within one of Wayne Rooney’s England record. He also […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Traylor leads No. 9 Virginia Tech women over Tennessee 59-56

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kayana Traylor scored 18 points to lead No. 9 Virginia Tech over Tennessee 59-56 Sunday in a Jimmy V Women’s Classic matchup. Cayla King scored 11 points and Georgia Amoore and D’asia Gregg each had 10 for the Hokies (8-0). The Lady Volunteers (4-5) were led by Jordan Horston with 26 […]
2 days ago
Louisville forward Roosevelt Wheeler (4) tries to get past Miami forward A.J. Casey during the seco...
Associated Press

Miami extends Louisville misery by winning ACC opener 80-53

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jordan Miller had 14 points, Norchad Omier scored 12 and Miami opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with an 80-53 victory over winless Louisville on Sunday. Miller sank 6 of 10 shots with a 3-pointer for the Hurricanes (8-1), who picked up their fourth straight win. Omier hit 6 of 7 shots, […]
2 days ago
Ranked teams face tough tests in holiday tournaments