The biggest game over the next nine days is Sunday’s 1-2 showdown between South Carolina and Stanford (3 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN App).
But starting Saturday, tournaments around the Thanksgiving holiday present a basketball feast of other top nonconference games.
College basketball is too often in the background during a busy sports calendar in November, but other than the last couple of weeks in February and early March, there is perhaps no more crucial time in the season. The tournaments and events over an eight-day span from the Caribbean to Portland, Oregon, contain enough quality matchups to make, and sometimes even break, NCAA tournament résumés. The opportunities are massive for programs whose best nonconference games come over Thanksgiving.
With UConn and Iowa as the headliners, the Phil Knight Legacy and Invitational events in Portland will get a lot of the spotlight wrapping up the holiday weekend. But the second-annual Battle 4 Atlantis could have as many as six games that are the quality of a second-round or Sweet 16 NCAA tournament game.
Here is your guide to the best games of the week and how to watch them.
Saturday, Nov. 19
No. 11 Tennessee vs. Rutgers
Battle 4 Atlantis (Bahamas), 12 p.m. ET, FloHoops
The Scarlet Knights will be the Lady Vols’ third Big Ten opponent in the season’s first two weeks. The first two didn’t end well as Tennessee lost to Ohio State on the road and then at home to Indiana to fall to 1-2, its worst three-game start since 1981-82, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Perhaps the Lady Vols — who are missing injured Jordan Horston — can find what was missing in those double-digit losses to the Buckeyes and Hoosiers. Tennessee has won 10 straight against Rutgers.
UCLA vs. South Dakota State
Battle 4 Atlantis (Bahamas), 2:30 p.m. ET, FloHoops
These two teams met twice last season, first at the Gulf Coast…