2011 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Field Finalized: Maryland, Purdue, Alabama Highlight

First things first: apologies to Colorado, Temple, and Witchita State for leaving you out of the headline. Limited room, you know?

Anyway, we knew Maryland's preseason tournament this year would be taking the Terps to Puerto Rico, but we didn't know (all of) the field they'd be facing. Now, we do: earlier today, the tournament announced the field in entirety. Besides the Terps, teams include Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Purdue, Temple, Western Michigan, and Witchita State. The Tip-Off is in bracket format and 12 games will be played over three days before crowning a champion.

It's not a bad field, but there's a definite lack of high-end teams. There are a lot of teams that could be good, but certainly none that should be downright spectacular. Purdue's the headliner here: they were great last year and finally get back Robbie Hummel, which means they should be a top 25 team heading into the year. They also lose JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, though, and those two formed the backbone of the team last year. They're probably the biggest name at the moment, but they're not that imposing.

Alabama might be the next-biggest team in the field. They were a bubble team last year and nearly snatched a bid after going 12-4 in the SEC. They do lose two starters and their sixth man, but more importantly they return the three biggest cogs of last year's team: JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell, and Trevor Releford. They should be pretty solid in Anthony Grant's second year. Colorado was a bubble team last season, too, but they're trending the opposite direction. They'll lose four starters from last year's team, including star swingman Alec Burks.

If it isn't Alabama, it's probably Temple. The Owls beat Maryland last year, as you probably know, and gave San Diego St. a run for their money in the NCAAT second (er...third) round. Lavoy Allen graduates, but the staples of a very good backcourt (Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez) both return.

Witchita St. returns three starters from a bubble team last year, and should be competitive. As for Iona and Western Michigan: you probably shouldn't fear them too much.

All in all, a solid field in a decent locale. It isn't the Maui Invitational, but then again few are. 

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