Let’s take a closer look at the four teams that will be betting odds favorites to capture the championship at the Mohegan Sun.
Fairfield Stags (19-16 SU, 12-20-1 ATS in 2012-13)
There’s no doubt that the team has some major shoes to fill with Derek Needham moving on and signing a professional contract with BC Siauliai in Lithuania, as he finished third all-time in scoring with 1,875 points and 535 assists.
Don’t overlook this squad as an underdog in this event, as it has earned four consecutive postseason appearances.
The defending national champions have a belief in the locker room that they have the ability to repeat, especially with senior guard Russ Smith returning to campus, as he’ll be joined by regular contributors Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware.
Ware’s ability to potentially come back from a compound fracture in his leg is key, as it could supply the program the proper motivation to pull off the feat.
North Carolina Tar Heels (25-11 SU, 21-13 ATS)
The program just announced Sunday that junior guard P.J. Hairston has been suspended indefinitely due to receiving a traffic citation for reckless driving, which is a major blow due to the fact that he averaged 14.6 points in 34 games a season ago.
It’s also important for college basketball handicappers to note that the school is still dealing with an ongoing academic scandal, which could cause a lack of concentration in the early going.
Played in the postseason for the fifth time in the last six seasons, as the program advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational.
A dangerous opponent for any school, considering it has won eight of its last 14 contests against ranked foes.
The Spiders will be challenged to replace seniors Darien Brothers and Cedrick Lindsay, as the duo combined to score 26.1 points per game.
For full coverage of all early season tournaments head over to our NCAA Basketball Picks page.
Dates: Nov. 11-24
Campus Sites: Nov. 11-20
Consolation & Championship: Nov. 24 at Mohegan Sun
Naismith Bracket (Fairfield, Louisville, North Carolina, Richmond)
Springfield Bracket (Belmont, Hartford, Hofstra, Holy Cross)