By Kellan King
The MGM Resorts Main Event tournament will be a 4 team tournament in Las Vegas, featuring Louisville, Arkansas, San Francisco, and Colorado State. It will take place on November 20-22 at T Mobile Arena, and will benefit Coaches vs Cancer.
Colorado State vs San Francisco
Arkansas vs Louisville
Colorado State vs San Francisco Preview
This is obviously the lesser of the 2 first round games, but it is still a great matchup. Both teams are coming off of 20 win seasons, and both programs shown steady improvements over the past few years. Colorado St has their best season since 2017 under 2nd year coach Niko Medved. They return Isiaih Stevens, their leading scorer and 2020 MWC Rookie of the Year. They do lose 2nd leading scorer Nico Carvacho, but bring back key starters David Roddy and Adam Thistlewood. They’re offense was one of the best in the Mountain West last year, and should improve as their young starters gain more experience.
The Dons went 22-12 last year, and are one of the best rising mid majors in the country. They lose some key players, including Charles Minlend, who transferred to Louisville. They also return one of the best backcourts in the WCC, with Jamaree Bouyea, Khalil Shabazz ad GCU transfer Damari Milstead. These 3 should be the leaders of the team and will have to carry a lot of the offensive load. They bring in a few talented recruits, and also mix 3 star recruit from 2019 Isiaih Hawthorne into the fold. They could take a step back, but I expect them to be one of the top contenders to Gonzaga in the WCC.
Arkansas vs Louisville preview
Last year was an up and down one for the Razorbacks. They started the season off 14-2, then ended up losing 10 of the last 16. They were on the bubble for a tournament bid, but most likely weren’t going to get in. Their two top scorers, Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe have both entered the draft, but might still return to school. Even if the star duo doesn’t return, the Razorbacks will still have a talented team. They bring back key player Jalen Harris and Desi Sills, and more importantly, they bring in the 8th ranked recruiting class in the country, and 2 talented transfers. The class has 4 4 star recruits, and both transfers are former 4 stars themselves. This team will be young and oozing with talent, its just a matter of whether Coach Eric Musselman can put together the pieces.
The Cardinals often have a lot of roster turnover, and this year will be no different. They lose top scorers Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch, and other key role players like Ryan McMahon. While they lose all this talent, they bring in some great talent. They’re recruiting class, while not as good as in past years, still is 25th and has 2 4 star recruits. They also have 2 great transfers coming in, Carlik Jones and Charles Minlend. Both are big time scorers who can shoulder a lot of the offensive load that they lost.
USF 76 Colorado State 68
I think this game will be close early, but the Dons backcourt experience will help them pull away late
Louisville 82 Arkansas 79
This should be a high scoring affair, but once again I think the Cardinals experienced transfers will help them eke out a close win
Louisville 76 USF 71
This will be a matchup between Charles Minlend and his former team. I expect the Dons to get off to a fast start, but eventually Louisville’s talent will win out