Here is your full 2022 "Feast Week" college hoops viewing guide - Maui, Atlantis, PK85 + more!
Yes, the best time of the early season college basketball schedule is back! Feast Week is back, and we have a great slate of games and potential matchups across the board. The games technically have already started, and they’ll run through next Sunday. Here is a guide for all of you that want to pay attention to as many of them as possible!
Cayman Islands Classic: (Monday-Wednesday)
Teams: Illinois State, LSU, Western Kentucky, Akron, Nevada, Tulane, Kansas State, Rhode Island
This will be our first look at two interesting power conference teams, as LSU - with virtually an entirely new roster - arrives in the Cayman Islands, along with Kansas State under first year head coach Jerome Tang. Remember, the Wildcats also have star Keyontae Johnson, who of course, had a scary incident at Florida a few years ago, but returns to the floor for K-State.
Beyond that, this will also be our first good look at new first-year head coach Archie Miller at Rhode Island, as well as a loaded Western Kentucky squad. The Hilltoppers feature the nation's most feared shot-blocker, 7'5 Jamarion Sharp as well as high-major transfers Dontaie Allen (Kentucky) and Khristian Lander (Indiana).
Maui Invitational: (Monday-Wednesday)
Teams: Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Creighton, Louisville, Ohio State, San Diego State, Texas Tech
This might be the best tournament, with five teams currently ranked in the Top 25 entering this one: Arkansas, Creighton, San Diego State, Arizona and Texas Tech. The other three teams aren't pushovers either, with Ohio State projected as a tourney team, with Cincinnati and Louisville filling out the field.
(Ok, Louisville may be a pushover. But otherwise, you get the point).
In terms of the favorite, it's probably a loaded Arkansas squad. The Hogs' No. 2 ranked freshman class got all the buzz coming into the season, but it's been the transfers who've stepped up early. Ricky Council is leading the team with 18 points per game, while Trevon Brazile is averaging 14 and 10, with, well, the dunk of the year. They open with Louisville, before a potential semifinal matchup with a loaded Creighton squad, who is averaging over 85 points per game. Four different starters are averaging double-figures.
On the other side is a defensive-minded San Diego State squad, against maybe the team with the best offense early - Arizona. Despite losing three players to the NBA Draft (including two first rounders), the Wildcats are averaging over 100 points per game early this year.
Empire Classic: (Monday-Tuesday)
Teams: Richmond, St. John’s, Syracuse, and Temple
This tournament in Brooklyn is very up in the air in terms of who could win it. Richmond and St. John’s will probably be the most likely teams in the championship game with St. John’s pulling it out thanks to the home field advantage in New York.
Syracuse will bring plenty of fans of their own - but appear to be in for a long season after a loss to Cornell early. Temple meanwhile, might be the biggest question mark in college hoops, with wins over Villanova and Rutgers, but losses to Wagner and Vanderbilt.
Fort Myers Tip-Off: (Monday-Wednesday)
Teams: Georgia Tech, Marquette, Mississippi State, Utah, Northern Illinois, Sam Houston State, LIU Brooklyn, South Dakota
This is a unique group of teams for the event in Fort Myers, Florida. Georgia Tech should beat Utah and play most likely Marquette in the championship. I’d expect Marquette to win this tournament, as the Golden Eagles only loss so far was a narrow defeat at Purdue. Mississippi State though is interesting too, in its first year under new head coach Chris Jans.
Still, realistically, this is another group of teams where there’s not hope for them to make noise and get into the postseason in the NCAA Tournament.
Battle 4 Atlantis: (Wednesday-Friday)
Teams: Butler, BYU, Dayton, Kansas, NC State, Tennessee, USC, Wisconsin
This is another tournament with a great field. There are three ranked teams in this tournament as of Monday morning, Kansas, Tennessee, and Dayton, while USC should also be an NCAA Tournament team. Butler and BYU should be improved, while NC State and Wisconsin might struggle this year.
Look, we could beat around the bush, but everyone wants to see the inevitable battle between Kansas and Tennessee. These are both two teams that have a ton of potential this year. Even after Tennessee’s loss to Colorado, they're a deep team with most of their key pieces back from last year' SEC Tournament title run. Kansas is the reigning national champion, and took care of Duke on opening night in the Champion's Classic.
As mentioned, keep on Dayton as well. They return virtually their entire team off a squad that just missed the NCAA Tournament last year. And remember, they upset the Jayhawks during Feast Week a season ago.
Wooden Legacy: (Wednesday-Thursday)
Teams: Fresno State, Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt, Washington
This is usually a fun event, to keep you up late on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but with the PK85 this season, the tournament has been moved up, and the field is a little, umm, sparce.
The favorite here is Saint Mary’s. Washington has some potential here to make some noise just because the Huskies have talent, but the Gaels are the best team playing in Anaheim, California. They should also make the NCAA Tournament this year and are the clear number two team in the WCC to Gonzaga.
ESPN Events Invitational: (Thursday-Sunday)
Teams: Florida State, Memphis, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Siena, Stanford
It's fair to call this one of the most fascinating fields in all of Feast Week - and certainly one of the most wide open.
On the one hand, you have Memphis, which to its credit, has scheduled tough with wins at home against VCU and Vanderbilt on the road early. They've scheduled in such a way that they should be an NCAA Tournament team, and Seton Hall - despite a loss early to Iowa - looks like a solid Big East team in Year 1 of the Shaheen Holloway era.
Still, this is largely a field of teams that have been disappointing early. Stanford is just 2-2, losing the two signature games on its schedule and Florida State is - in a shocking twist - 0-4. This was a team that most thought was a Big Dance lock and would compete atop the ACC. Oklahoma took a loss to Sam Houston early, but has won three in a row.
If all goes to plan, Florida State should play Stanford in the semifinals, and get to the championship game, while Memphis should beat both Seton Hall and most likely Nebraska to get to the championship game.
Florida State and Memphis should make for a great championship game, but in this wide-open field, anything feels possible.
Phil Knight Invitational: (Thursday-Sunday)
Teams: Alabama, Iowa State, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oregon, Portland, UConn, Villanova
This is one of two events to commemorate Phil Knight's 85th birthday, both taking place in Portland from Thursday to Sunday. And boy oh boy is it a loaded field, featuring several teams that are currently ranked.
It all starts with No. 1 North Carolina who will arrive atop the polls and virtually untested. After a matchup with Portland to start the event on Thursday, there is a second round showdown with the winner of Iowa State and Villanova. The Wildcats have already suffered two losses, including Friday night at Michigan State.
Ironically, Michigan State headlines the other side of the bracket, where they'll open late Thanksgiving night against an Alabama team that has steamrolled its four opponents so far. The Tide are led by freshman star Brandon Miller, who is averaging close to 21 points per game.
The winner of that game will face another red-hot team that is untested, UConn, which is 5-0, with five dominant wins. The Huskies are finally healthy after losing stars Andre Jackson and Jordan Hawkins early in the year. They also return Big East Preseason Player of the Year Adama Sanogo and open with Oregon.
The bottom half of that bracket is absolutely loaded.
Phil Knight Legacy: (Thursday-Sunday)
Teams: Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Oregon State, Portland State, Purdue, West Virginia, Xavier
This is the second of the Phil Knight Tournaments, and it has another loaded field. Gonzaga and Duke are the two ranked teams in the tournament, while Florida, Purdue, and Xavier should be NCAA Tournament teams. Oregon State and West Virginia are two teams that might be disasters this year too.
Starting at the top of the bracket, the Blue Devils will open against Portland State, then play the winner of a fascinating matchup between two first-year head coaches. Sean Miller is now at Xavier and Todd Golden at Florida, with each already suffering an early season win, and both looking to make a big splash early on. The matchup between the Musketeers and Gators, a 5:30 ET Thanksgiving Day matchup will be must watch.
On the other end of the bracket, a well-tested Gonzaga is the headliner, but the more interesting part is where Purdue and West Virginia lie. Bob Huggins squad is currently 4-0, with four transfers, from four different schools averaging double figures, while Purdue is 3-0, led by big man Zach Edey.
Their opener at 10 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving night will be one of the most intriguing matchups of the event.
Emerald Coast Classic: (Friday-Saturday)
Teams: Cal, Clemson, Iowa, TCU
Finally, we wrap with the Emerald Coast Classic, which takes place on Friday and Saturday. What you need to know here is that Iowa might legitimately be good again after winning at Seton Hall the other day, while TCU came in with a lot of buzz but has sputtered out of the gate as star guard Damion Baugh is suspended. This is a chance for them to get right, and it'd be stunning if the Hawkeyes and Horned Frogs don't meet in the final here.
Follow Jake on Twitter - @Jake_Faigus