Commentary

The Big Apple will be rocking this Thanksgiving

Updated: November 20, 2008, 11:18 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

The Big Apple will be buzzing during Thanksgiving. Oklahoma is heading to New York for the NIT season tip-off semifinals.

The fans going to the Garden, the mecca of college basketball, will see one of the nation's premier players in Blake Griffin. The super soph is off to an incredible start, posting double-doubles. All he did against a talented Davidson foe was score 25 points while grabbing 21 boards. Griffin's teammate, unsung diaper dandy Willie Warren, added 20 points.

Warren is very talented and people will learn about him in a hurry. Coach Jeff Capel has a very exciting and explosive team. The Sooners held off the Wildcats as Stephen Curry had a brilliant shooting performance, putting 44 points on the board. While it was not enough to get to the winner's circle, few will question how the All-American will do now with Jason Richards gone.

Davidson was down big and I know New York City would have been thrilled to catch Curry in action. I know the fans will be enthused over the play of Griffin.

Also going to New York City is a solid club, the Purdue Boilermakers. Matt Painter has done a remarkable job putting this program back in the basketball landscape. Purdue advanced in blowout city, taking apart Loyola-Illinois. This team plays as a cohesive unit and America should know about Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore and company as the Boilermakers battle Michigan State for supremacy in the Big Ten this season.

Speaking about this tournament, what about Arizona? It was heartbreak hotel for the Wildcats, losing at the wire to UAB. Mike Davis' squad escaped Tucson with a W with one second to go when Jamelle Horne fouled Paul Delaney, who converted a free throw for the victory. Wow, Santa Claus came early for UAB as the Blazers go on to New York City.

Rounding out the Final Four in the Big Apple is Boston College. Al Skinner's team got past St. John's. Tyrese Rice is one of the top scorers in the ACC and his supporting cast stepped up. Transfer Joe Trapani, who came over from Vermont, had 19 big points in the win.

The Garden has four exciting teams competing for the early-season crown. The winner will build some momentum through the non-conference portion of the schedule. Wow, guys like Griffin, Hummel, Robert Vaden of UAB and Rice ... that is star power, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.