So... What's great about this again?
I don't know if you remember this, but a few years back, the Great Alaska shootout was a really big deal. I remember Purdue started to make some noise, defeating Duke in the shootout in 2003. Those are big gets! In the years since, major conferences sent in quality teams to compete in the event. IT was one of the premier preseason tourneys, right up there with Maui and the preseason NIT.
This year, tonight's Championship game features Murray State and Southern Mississippi. I would like to say both teams have made impressive runs to get to this point. Murray State defeated Alaska-Anchorage and San Francsico. Southern Miss knocked off perennial stalwarts UC Irvine and New Mexico State. They couldn't even get the good team from New Mexico.
So what happened? It likely has something to do with a crush of tournaments that tend to have better sponsors and locations. If you had the choice of Puerto Rico or Anchorage in late November, what would you pick? But still, it's a nice little get for Murray State or Southern Miss if they win tonight.