November Madness: Hardwood Hard-Cores Unite

Updated: September 30, 2011, 4:34 PM ET
ESPN SportsTravel


• Photo gallery: Preseason Tournament Week

Tournament Week is nearly here … Preseason Nonconference Tournament Week, that is.

By our count there are at least 19 notable college hoops tourneys from Nov. 15-24.

Call it November Madness, and while it may not sustain you hardwood hard-cores till March, we can all agree it's a pretty great way to start the season.

If you're having trouble deciding where to road-trip, here is the breakdown of the best NCAA basketball has to offer this month.

You'll find such top-ranked teams as North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, Louisville, Tennessee and Marquette included in the fields. It's an embarrassment of riches, sure, but the attractive options are yours for the picking. To help you make your choice, we've recruited ESPN.com college basketball contributor Andy Glockner to provide commentary on each selection (listed in chronological order):


1. 2K Coaches vs. Cancer, New York City, Nov. 15-16

The competition: Connecticut, Gardner-Webb, Memphis, Oklahoma
Tourney synopsis: Come see the season's first Cinderella, as Kentucky-thrasher Gardner-Webb gets two more nights in the national spotlight. Stay for a look at Memphis, a legit national title threat, and UConn and Oklahoma teams that should be NCAA-caliber.

Madison Square Garden
Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street
New York, NY 10010


2. Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Nov. 15-16 and 18

The competition: Arkansas, College of Charleston, Houston, Marist, Miami, Providence, Temple, Virginia Commonwealth
Tourney synopsis: Maybe the most underrated event of the nonconference season. Arkansas and VCU should be very good, and there's not a gimme game in the bunch. One of these teams could leave the island with a hard-earned 0-3.

Coliseo de Puerto Rico
500 Arterial B St.
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00918


3. CBE Classic, Kansas City , Mo., Nov. 19-20

The competition: Maryland, Michigan State, Missouri, UCLA
Tourney synopsis: UCLA is a national title contender, Michigan State is a darkhorse, and Missouri and Maryland are plenty feisty. Watch for Bruins freshman center Kevin Love, Spartans point guard Drew Neitzel and Missouri do-it-all guard Stefhon Hannah in the tourney formerly known as the Guardians.

Sprint Center
1407 Grand Boulevard
Kansas City, MO 64106


4. Maui Invitational, Nov. 19-21

The competition: Arizona State, Chaminade, Duke, Illinois, LSU, Marquette, Oklahoma State, Princeton
Tourney synopsis: Always an entertaining event, although the field lacks a little wattage after last season's incredible competition. A Duke-Marquette final would be excellent, high-tempo basketball; although Arizona State, Illinois and LSU could have something to say about that.

Lahaina Civic Center
1840 Hono'apiilani Highway
Lahaina, HI 96761


5. Great Alaska Shootout, Nov. 21-24

The competition: Alaska Anchorage, Butler, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Michigan, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky
Tourney synopsis: If the Puerto Rico Shootout isn't the most underrated event this season, it's the G.A.S. Butler, Gonzaga and WKU fill this event with a variety of styles and mid-major muscle. Plus, you get the Hokies, the General and John Beilein.

Sullivan Arena
1600 Gambell St.
Anchorage, AK 99501


6. NIT Season Tip-Off, New York City, Nov. 21 and 23

The competition: Ohio State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Washington
Tourney synopsis: Don't pencil in the four regional hosts just yet, but this foursome would create two days of contrasting styles at the Garden. The Buckeyes (Kosta Koufos) and Aggies (DeAndre Jordan) feature elite freshman bigs, while the Orange and Huskies have more from the perimeter.

Madison Square Garden
Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street
New York, NY 10010


7. Old Spice Classic, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 22-23 and 25

The competition: Central Florida, George Mason, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Penn State, Rider, South Carolina and Villanova
Tourney synopsis: Some intriguing sleepers here. Mason is the CAA favorite again. K-State is a Big 12 dark horse, with frosh Michael Beasley inside. N.C. State has some ACC buzz working. And Villanova has three excellent guards again. Plus the host, UCF, was a C-USA surprise last season.

Milk House (at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex)
700 Victory Way
Kissimmee, FL 34747


8. Anaheim Classic, Nov. 22-23 and 25

The competition: Miami of Ohio, Mississippi State, San Diego, South Alabama, Southern Illinois, Tennessee-Chattanooga, UC Irvine, USC
Tourney synopsis: A captivating field that features national sleeper Mississippi State, Missouri Valley heavyweight Southern Illinois and buzzworthy USC, with heralded freshmen O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson joining Taj Gibson.

Anaheim Convention Center
800 W Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802


9. Legends Classic, Newark, N.J., Nov. 23-24

The competition: New Mexico State, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia
Tourney synopsis: Two very entertaining doubleheaders are on tap in Jersey. Uptempo basketball will be the rule, not the exception, with these four. Tennessee and Texas are highly ranked, NMSU is a WAC favorite and WVU has talent and Bob Huggins.

Prudential Center
165 Mulberry St.
Newark, NJ 07102


10. Las Vegas Invitational, Nov. 23-24

The competition: BYU, Hartford, Iona, Jackson State, Louisville, North Carolina, Old Dominion, South Carolina State
Tourney synopsis: Everyone wants/expects to see Louisville-North Carolina, which is an instant must-watch; but with ODU and BYU lurking, that matchup is far from a lock.

Orleans Arena
4500 W. Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Andy Glockner is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's College Basketball coverage and is the host of the ESPNU College Basketball Insider podcast.

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