Some Network's Basketball Invitational

By Jeff Lippman - November 13, 2007


If you thought the first weekend of action in the 2007-08 season was good, you ain't seen nothing yet. With the WNIT heating up and the ESPNU Basketball Invitational down in Tampa on Thursday, the action is non-stop.

From Downtown will be heading down to the Sunshine State for the two-game invitational - not a tournament - that features No. 10 Duke at host South Florida in the first matchup and an amazing No. 1 vs. No. 9 neutral site battle between the Lady Vols of Tennessee and Courtney Paris and Oklahoma.

The Blue Devils struggled in their season opening win over Denver on Sunday, but that was a rare away game to open the season and Duke will rely on a lot of freshman talent so they were only playing in their first collegiate games. They should not have a problem with South Florida.

The second game, the game of the night in all estimation, pits the Lady Vols, who also struggled on their way to beating Chatanooga by 20 points - the Vols only led by four at the half, and the Sooners, who lost their opener against No. 4 Maryland.

Maryland's Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne held OU's Paris to a very human 11 points and 10 rebounds - although that consecutive double-double streak is still firmly intact - but Tennessee's bigs are youngsters, only freshman, and the Vols might need to rely on Candace Parker and Nicky Anosike to stop Paris on the block.

Don't expect Paris' numbers to look anything like they did on Sunday, she will hit 20 and 10. But the Lady Vols are the Lady Vols and I don't see them losing. It's tough scheduling when Oklahoma can come right out of the gate and - lose two games in a row. A win for the Sooners would be huge, but a loss doesn't hurt that much. The important thing for Oklahoma is winning the Big 12 and going far in the NCAA Tournament. When they do that, then they can worry about beating Tennessee.

Also on Thursday, Nov. 15
If you think the ESPNU Invitational is the only basketball between ranked teams this Thursday, you are wrong. While Maryland must defeat Delaware Tuesday to get to the championship of the WNIT, No. 4 LSU has a much tougher contest to reach the finals. The Tigers have to beat No. 17 Michigan State, who are without forward Aisha Jefferson, but 6-foot-9 Allyssa DeHaan is still patrolling the inside area.

This will be no cake walk for the Tigers. An upset by Michigan State is definitely possible, but would be a shame considering the absolute dream matchup between the No. 3 Terps and No. 4 Tigers in College Park should both advance to the final.

From Downtown at games on Nov. 18
-Hunter Pavlik will be blogging live from Knoxville as Gail Goestenkors gets her first big test when No. 21 Texas meets No. 1 Tennessee.
-Mark Selig will be blogging from College Park should the Terps and Tigers make that WNIT Final to be played on the Terps home court.
-If that matchup does not take place, Selig will instead be blogging from the sidelines at George Washington for their game against No. 6 Rutgers.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 01:02 PM on November 13, 2007
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