The Old Spice Classic has become one of the better early-season exempt tournaments to play in. it is not quite the Maui Invitation (which Purdue will play in during the 2014-15season), but it is a good tournament that provides multiple chances for early season quality out of conference wins. After Purdue went 1-3 in this year's exempt event (the 2KSports Classic), any news is good news. Well, the news this week is we know which events Purdue will take part in to measure up nationally.
Next season Purdue will play in the Old Spice Classic played Thanksgiving weekend at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando:
The field for the eighth annual event includes LSU, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Saint Joseph's, Siena and Washington State. An eighth team will be announced later.
This is a good field for us. Oklahoma State, Memphis, Washington State, and LSU are major conference teams that are threats to make the tournament as at large teams. Every at large team we beat makes our overall NCAA profile look that much better. St. Joseph's is a recent opponent we beat in the Paradise Jam during the 2009-10 season and Siena was our first round NCAA opponent that season.
The 2014 Maui Invitational is now set too:
For Boilermaker coach Matt Painter, this tournament should be especially interesting, considering that the eight-team field will include Kansas State, coached by Painter mentor and former Purdue assistant Bruce Weber, and Missouri, which courted Painter in 2011 before he agreed to a long-term deal to remain at his alma mater.
The remainder of the field will include Arizona, Brigham Young, Chaminade, Pittsburgh and San Diego State.
Kansas State is famous in Purdue lore for beating the team that was probably Gene Keady's best shot at a Final Four and a National championship. It was likely our biggest choke in program history too.
When you go out to Maui you want to avoid playing Chaminade. Unless you play them to start it likely means you have lost a game or two. Beating them counts as nothing in the RPI, and if you lose to them (like Texas this year) it is even worse. The last time Purdue went out to Maui it lost its first game in 2006, but won the two consolation games. In 1999-2000 Purdue defeated Chaminade and Florida before losing to North Carolina in the final. Both Florida and North Carolina went to the Final Four that season.
It is a ways off, but 2014-15 should be our next best chance at a Big Ten championship and a Final Four. It can always happen early because crazy things (like George Mason, VCU, and Butler reaching Final Fours) always happen, but by then Our current freshmen will be juniors, next year's freshmen will be sophomores, and they will hopefully be bolstered by a 2014 class that has a lot of talent available. Anthony Johnson, and Jacob Lawson would be the only two scholarship seniors on that team, with Neal Beshears being a senior walk-on that could contribute major minutes if needed. It is going to be an exciting team that, if everything develops well, could be a preseason top 15(or higher).
But that is all in the future. It is merely something to dream about as we watch the early pieces of those two teams develop before our eyes.