Tournament Thread: 2011 World Vision Classic - Nov. 12th-14th
Tournament Thread: 2011 World Vision Classic - Nov. 12th-14th
When: November 11th -13th, 2011
The Teams: Washington (host), Georgia State, Portland, and Florida Atlantic
The Format: Round Robin, each team playing one another over the three days with best overall record claiming tournament champion honors.
Where: Alaska Airlines Arena - Seattle, WA
Internet Broadcast: Here
Game #1: Portland 70 Florida Atlantic 65
Game #2: Washington 91 Georgia State 74
Game #3: Georgia State 61 Portland 66
Game #4: Washington 77 Florida Atlantic 71
Game #5: Georgia State 77 Florida Atlantic 84
Game #6: Washington 93 Portland 63
*All times EST
Latest Lines: Here
Portland at a Glance
Pilots Team Site
G Tim Douglas
G Korey Thieleke
F Ryan Nicholas
F Nemanja Mitrovic
F Riley Barker
Members of the West Coast Conference (WCC), Portland was tabbed to wind up seventh in the league for 2011-12.
The Pilots are coming off their second-consecutive twenty-win season for the first time since moving to Division I. Head Coach Eric Reveno has led Portland to three-consecutive trips to the post-season CIT and is 77-81 during his five year tenure.
Nemanja Mitrovic (All-WCC), who posted 13.5 ppg and a healthy 46.3% from downtown, is the top returner from last year. Gone are former hot hands Jared Stohl (42.7% 3PT, HM All-WCC) and Luke Sikma (52.6% FG, All-WCC); along with their 27 points per outing, which accounted for 38% of total offense.
With only two seniors and one junior on the current roster, the Pilots youth recently showed as they needed a last second shot in OT to finish off pesky NAIA Concordia-Irvine 99-97 in exhibition action. Portland turned it over a whopping 23 times in the process but was able to recover thanks to a 57% mark from the floor overall. Matters could have easily swung the other way with the visiting Eagles tossing up 97 shot attempts - another cause for concern.
Portland center Riley Barker hauled in 14 boards to lead all players. He's a bit light at 6-10, 225, but can get the job done at times around the basket.
Washington at a Glance
G Abdul Gaddy
G C.J. Wilcox
G Terrence Ross
F Desmond Simmons
F Darnell Gant
The Huskies are 7-2 in season-openers under current Head Coach Lorenzo Romar. Last year Washington opened the season with a 118-64 victory over McNeese State while equaling the third highest point production in program history. Winners of the 2011 Pac-10 Conference Tournament, they made a splash in the post season by advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before being defeated by North Carolina 86-83.
However, youth will play it's hand in 2011-12.
This year's squad returns just 42.2 percent of its scoring and 43.2 percent of its rebounding from last year's team that went 24-11 overall and 11-7 in league action. While noting the departure of three starters, they do return six players that tipped-off at least four games while combining for 69 nods collectively. But the roster is scattered with eight players that enter the season without a college game under their belt.
The guard quartet of 6-3 Abdul Gaddy (8.5 ppg), 6-5 C.J. Wilcox (8.1 ppg), 6-6 Terrance Ross (8.0 ppg), and 6-6 Scott Suggs (7.4 ppg) will be relied upon heavily for point production. But they also add a talented point guard in that of Tony Wroten, who was acclaimed as a top 10 prospect at the position by both rivals.com and scout.com.
Recently, the Huskies downed Seattle Pacific 77-60 in exhibition action. Wilcox (19), Gaddy (15), Ross (15), and Wroten (10) paved the way for the win as expected.
Washington proved to be a tough team at home last year, posting a 14-2 mark at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Georgia State at a Glance
Panthers Team Site
G Devonta White
G Josh Micheaux
G Jihad Ali
F Eric Buckner
F Brandon McGee
With the Panthers picked to finish 11th in the CAA, First year Head Coach Ron Hunter has his work cut out for him while looking to improve on last year's 12-19, 6-12 finish. Prior to GSU, Hunter led IUPUI to 274 wins in 17 seasons and a 2003 NCAA Tournament bid. He was twice honored as the Summit League Coach of the Year.
To aid in the endeavor, Georgia State looks to remain a solid team defensively with the return of three of the league's top four shot blockers in Eric Buckner (1.6 bpg), James Vincent (1.3 bpg), and Mike Morrison (1.2 bpg). The Panthers also ranked third in the CAA and 38th in the nation in field goal percentage defense with a 40.5% mark last season - the best in school history.
But scoring is another matter as Buckner is the only returning player near double digits (9.8 ppg, 54.8 FG% 2010-11). Senior F Jihad Ali was the next closest at 7.2 ppg.
So far this season the three-ball looks to be the weapon of choice. In their two exhibitions games this year against Southern Poly (W 90-65) and Oglethorpe (W 90-49), the Panthers hoisted up a combined 52 threes and connected on 30.7% of them.
The road was not kind towards the Panthers in 2011-11 to the tune of a 2-12 finish away from Georgia State Sports Arena.
FAU at a Glance
G Ray Taylor
G Alex Tucker
G Greg Gantt
F Jordan McCoy
F Kore White
For the second straight year the Owls start things off in trio fashion on the West Coast. Last season's Athletes In Action showdown provided two wins out of the gate for Florida Atlantic, but repeating that mark may be difficult this time around. Portland was cause for concern alone previously, and the insertion of Washington is a definite spike in talent to the pool. They are the most talented of the four squads hands down.
"Portland is probably every bit as good as they were, Washington is probably better than anybody we played last year, and Georgia State is going to be tough because of their new coach and system", said head Coach Mike Jarvis.
FAU began the 2011-12 slate with a 64-53 exhibition win over cross town opponent Lynn University. Like last year's off-the-record action, three point shooting was no where to be found behind a 1-of-14 showing (7.1%); which Jarvis attributes to a mental short coming.
"Whether you get up for an opponent or not, you've got to get up for your shot", explained Jarvis. "When you got guys…who knock them down every day, and almost every single one in practice, and then don't do that in a game it usually is a matter of concentration."
In their first ever meeting against the Pilots, Portland (arguably the rich man's version of Denver) sank silly shots from long distance at a 45% clip en route to a 89-75 tournament victory at FAU's expense. Rebounding was no where to be found for Florida Atlantic who was out-hauled 45-24 along the way. Ironically, Ray Taylor (who had just returned from suspension) paced glass matters with six grabs, and Brett Royster (1), and Kore White (0) pitched in virtually nothing. Alas, there is Hope for change in 2011 with the departure of former Pilot big man Luke Sikma who dialed up 19 boards to go along with 15 points while representing the chief cause in the above occurring.
"They've got a couple guys who can rebound the ball now. They are not as skilled as Sikma, but they're still big", said Jarvis. "What we've got to do is try and cut them down and play to your size. Make them have to defend you; then those big long legs get tired."
Ironically, Portland could continue to be the type of nemesis team FAU can't defeat unless their defense is in fact is top notch for the tilt. A well oiled mid-to-long range offensive attack, with hard screens and pick-and-rolls backing it, has not shown lightly against the Owls when the final horn sounded. Will the trend change? We'll see.
Washington presents a new foe, as the two programs have never met to date. But, like any other probable post season team, no matter how you attack them, it's going to be tough. They will get their shots, points, and rebounds. Consistency is probably the best performance weapon that could occur for FAU. Ball handling is one thing the Owls do well at in that regard, and if there ever was a time to see an ocean when launching the leather at the orange metal ring, it is Sunday afternoon. Coming out on top off the glass will be a heavy task.
The Owls and Panthers have faced off a staggering 24 times with GSU owning the series 18-6 in convincing fashion. And while victories have been hard to come by for FAU, none could have been more paramount than their 76-75 win in the 2002 Atlantic Sun Tournament; vaulting them in to their only NCAA appearance. Since then Florida Atlantic has dropped five straight appearances, most recently a 76-90 loss at home in 2005.
To get past Georgia State, FAU will need to shoot it well outside the paint. The mid-range game may be dialed up as an aid since three-point shooting is once again shaky early on. Going inside against the wall of defense the Panthers present would not be advisable.
On a final note, Jarvis likes where the team is conditioning wise heading into the weekend, and says that a pair if wins out of Seattle would be icing on the cake.
"If we came back form this tournament 2-1 it would be an incredible accomplishment, but what I'm looking for…is really more how well we play or how well we don't play", Jarvis said. "We're where we are supposed to be this point in time, we're ready to begin the season."
ESPN760's Ken LaVicka will be on hand to call all the action live.