November 21, 2007

Old Spice field offers many challenges

Sorry Mickey. When the Old Spice Classic tips off in Orlando's Disney World Resort on Thursday, the theme park's usual cast of characters will be cast aside in favor of some of the biggest names in college basketball. And while No. 20 Villanova and No. 18 Kansas State are probably the favorites to win it all, both teams will have to navigate their way through a stacked tournament field to do so, including a possible semifinal matchup on Friday night that will pit Villanova junior forward Shane Clark against K-State super freshman Michael Beasley. Here is a team-by-team breakdown of this year's Old Spice Classic field.


Conference USA

2007-08 record: 2-0

Kirk Speraw 15th yr (233-187)

Not only are the Knights unbeaten entering the Old Spice Classic, but the tournament games will be played 35 miles away from the school's campus, so Central Florida possesses a least some form of home-court advantage. The Knights won 22 games a year ago, but were held out of the NCAA Tournament amidst some controversy, and will certainly refocus their efforts in this season. Point guard Jermaine Taylor is the team's most athletic player, while David Noel averaged more than nine points per game last season. The Knights defeated a Nevada team that was thought to be one of the countries elite mid-major programs in their 2007 season opener, and look to have more than a fair chance of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Coach Kirk Speraw's team could be the sleeper in this year's Old Spice Classic field.

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