’Tis the season for holiday tournaments, and, in the spirit of the times, Dartmouth has left the cold woods of Hanover for the frozen wilderness of Anchorage to participate in the Great Alaska Shootout. Like turkey and stuffing, the classic tournament is a Thanksgiving fixture, as it tips off its 34th edition tonight.
The Shootout lacks some of the heavy hitters that it’s hosted in the past, but the tournament has more than made up for it with an eclectic mix of mascots, which include the Big Green, the Anteaters, the Chippewas, the Racers, and the Dons. Dartmouth squares off against the aforementioned Dons tonight (or, um, this morning) at 1:30 a.m. in a game televised on Fox College Sports and YES Network.
San Francisco—which returns all five starters from a team that went 10-4 in the WCC a year ago—has jumped out of the blocks to a 4-1 start. The undersized Big Green will have its hands full with the Dons’ duo of Angelo Caloiaro, a 6’8 senior putting up 13.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, and Perris Blackwell, a 6’9 junior who averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds a season ago. But the Big Green might have found something in its own frontcourt, as freshmen Jvonte Brooks and Gabas Maldunas have each grabbed co-Rookie of the Week honors in the season’s first two weeks. Both freshmen were instrumental in Dartmouth’s first win against Bryant on Saturday, combining for 20 points and 18 rebounds in the 66-62 victory.
The winner of Dartmouth-San Francisco will face the winner of Murray St.-Alaska Anchorage in the semifinal, while the losers will square off in a consolation game. The other side of the bracket pits Central Michigan against New Mexico St. and UC Irvine against Southern Mississippi. It must be said that in every iteration of the Great Alaska Shootout at least one participant has made it to the NCAA Tournament.