Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 11/21/11
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The 2011 CBE Classic lacks the star power compared to last year’s field of Duke, Marquette, Gonzaga, and Kansas State.  The return of Tim Abromaitis could give Notre Dame the edge but Cal and Missouri have just as good a chance to win the tournament especially Mizzou since the games are being played in Kansas City.  Here are my predictions for how the two-day event will unfold:

SEMIFINALS (Monday):
Missouri vs. Notre Dame, 6:30 pm, ESPN2

What to Watch:
The Irish have gotten off to a 4-0 start despite not having the services of Tim Abromaitis as he served a four-game suspension.  Abro will be back on the floor Monday evening as will guards Eric Atkins and Joey Brooks who each missed the last game due to flulike symptoms.  ND will have a size advantage over Mizzou who frequently uses a four-guard line-up and doesn’t have a lot of depth of height inside since Laurence Bowers is out for the season.  The Tigers will really have to light it up from deep and/or frequently get out in transition to knock off the Irish.  Missouri does have a home court advantage of sorts since the tourney is being played in Kansas City.  Still…

Prediction: Notre Dame 84, Missouri 77

California vs. Georgia, 9:00 pm, ESPN2

What to Watch:
This begins a tough stretch for the Dawgs as they will play Cal, ND/Missouri, and Xavier in the next five days.  Georgia has shot an abysmal 24% from distance and lack any real low post presence.  The Golden Bears have been led by sophomore shooting guard Allen Crabbe and have also gotten quality contributions from Minnesota transfer, Justin Cobbs.  Seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp bring experience and intangibles to the floor making Cal a team with a lot of options.  This one could be over by halftime.

Prediction: California 73, Georgia 52

THIRD PLACE GAME (Tuesday):
Missouri vs. Georgia, 6:45, ESPNU

What to Watch:
While the Bulldogs have been bricklayers from distance, the Tigers have come out guns-a-blazing, hitting on 48.3% of their triple tries.  Georgia just isn’t very good this year and will need a near perfect performance combined with an awful outing from Mizzou to pull off the upset.

Prediction: Missouri 81, Georgia 67

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (Tuesday):
Notre Dame vs. California, 9:15 pm, ESPN2

What to Watch:
These two teams actually match up pretty well so it will probably come down to who executes better.  I will give the Irish the advantage since I think they have a little more firepower off the bench as guys have been thrust into bigger roles early in the season due to Abro’s suspension, and Atkins and Brooks battling illness.  Depth always seems to be important in these tournaments where teams are playing two games in 24 hours.

Prediction: Notre Dame 64, California 58

TOURNAMENT MVP: Tim Abromaitis

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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