The holidays are a beautiful time in college basketball. Just as one big early season tournament finishes, there is another one to start right back up again. Syracuse and Baylor will meet off for the Maui Invitational championship to highlight the slate of games on Wednesday.
Eastern Michigan vs. No. 3 Kentucky, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3
It has been an up and down season for the young Kentucky Wildcats so far. If everything goes according to plan, Kentucky shouldn't have many problems against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Kentucky got an unexpected scare at home against the Cleveland State Vikings in their last game, having to battle back from 10 points down in the second half. Freshman Julius Randle continued his strong campaign, scoring 15 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to continue his season-long streak of double-doubles. Eagles guard Ray Lee had a career-high 38 points in his last game.
Drexel vs. No. 4 Arizona, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU/WatchESPN
The NIT Season Tip-Off tournament has always been a friendly one for the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona won the tournament in 1990, 1995 and 1999, which ties them for second-most with Syracuse behind the four championships won by Duke (the latter of which is a potential opponent in the championship game). First, they'll have to get through the Drexel Dragons.
Drexel has had a rigorous non-conference schedule to open up the season, with three out of four games on the road. They went 2-1 in those games, losing to UCLA by five to open up the season. The Wildcats will be their toughest opponents this season. Arizona was played close by San Diego State, and responded by winning their next two games by a total of 78 points.
Alabama vs. No. 6 Duke, 9:30 p.m ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN
The Duke Blue Devils nearly lost their non-conference home-game winning streak when they played Vermont. So going from the friendly confines of the Cameron Indoor Stadium to the Madison Square Garden, often Duke's home-away-from-home, should help keep the Blue Devils at ease. Jabari Parker scored 26 to lead the Blue Devils over Vermont, but it was Rodney Hood's free throws with five seconds left to give Duke the win over Vermont.
The Blue Devils' defense might have their hands full with Alabama's smart shot selection. The Crimson Tide are led by Trevor Releford's 18 points a game, and the team shoots 52 percent from the floor, which is good for 12th in the nation.
No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 18 Baylor, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN
The Baylor Bears are in their first Maui Invitation championship game in school history, but if they want to pull the upset on the Syracuse Orange they might need to quit the Jekyll and Hyde act they've got running. Baylor sits undefeated at 6-0, but three of those wins are by a combined eight points. Still, as the mindset goes, a win is a win, and the Bears gutted one out against Dayton to make it into the championship game. Baylor took the lead with 16.4 seconds left in the 67-66 win after trailing for the previous 38 minutes.
The young backcourt of Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney paced the Orange past the California Golden Bears on Tuesday. Ennis scored 17 points and Cooney scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half as the Orange try and make it a perfect three Maui Invitational championship titles in three invites.
No. 10 Wisconsin vs. West Virginia, 9:30 p.m. ET
The Wisconsin Badgers are off to their best start in coach Bo Ryan's history, and their best start since opening the season 11-0 in 1993-94. The Ryan coaching system was on full display against Saint Louis as the Badgers limited the Billikens to 33 percent shooting in a 63-57 win on Tuesday.
Eron Harris led the Mountaineers with 19 points in a 78-60 win over Old Dominion on Tuesday. He was one of four West Virginia players to score in double-digits, as the Mountaineers shot 56 percent from the floor.
Arkansas vs. No. 11 Gonzaga, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN
The Gonzaga Bulldogs bounced back nicely from their first loss of the season, but it also was at the hands of a Division II school. Facing off against the offense of Arkansas will be a much better indicator of how the Bulldogs season is going. The Bulldogs fell to Dayton to open the Maui Invitational, and they took their frustrations out on Chaminade. Gonzaga shot 69.7 percent from the floor and 13-of-23 from the three-point line in the 113-81 win.
The Razorbacks took a close game at half against Minnesota and blew it wide open, outscoring the Golden Gophers 52-33 in the second half to advance to the fifth place game. After opening the second half trailing by five, Arkansas went on a 10-0 run to take the lead. Alandise Harris had 15 points as the Razorbacks ran as much as possible, while keeping the full court pressure going to disrupt Minnesota's offense.