November 26, 2023 

The legend of FloHoops Feast Week grows

If a Stanford Tree falls on FloHoops, does it make a sound?

The broadcasting of women’s basketball has come a long way. ESPN+ has enabled the widespread broadcast of nearly half of all Division I games. The entire Power 5 4 will be easily accessible by quality streaming next season. And yet, one thing remains: FloHoops.

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For those unaware, FloHoops is the preferred streaming network of most prominent Thanksgiving tournaments (and the primary broadcast partner of the BIG EAST), known best for being extraordinarily expensive ($30 per month, almost three times as much as ESPN+) and having mediocre quality control. Countless games between otherwise interesting teams go unwatched every Thanksgiving as a result of this uninviting combination, surprise blowouts and historic thrillers alike falling by the wayside, unusual and inexplicable results flourishing, in a trend we’re calling “FloHoops Feast Week.”

For example, remember when a Big Ten guard dropped 50 points in a double-overtime loss at West Palm Beach? Remember when the No. 11 team in the country went to Atlantis and lost on back-to-back days to unranked teams? Remember when teammates in Puerto Rico had triple-doubles in the same game for the first time ever?

Okay, that last one I made up. But it sure seems plausible, doesn’t it? That’s because you’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s a signpost up ahead; your next stop: FloHoops Feast Week, where anything can happen but no one will know.

Here at The Next, we don’t forget. We honor the rich anthology of FloHoops Feast Week, from its Thanksgiving tournaments to the encores of Christmastime invitationals and the bizarre experiences it all provides. And all of the following has come in just the past couple of seasons:

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The 2022 San Diego Invitational has three instant classics, half the field goes to the WNIT

The quintessential FloHoops experience came last December. Four teams entered, with three ranked: No. 3 Ohio State, No. 16 Oregon, No. 17 Arkansas and RV* USF. Three of the very best games of the season were played: the Bulls beat the Razorbacks by one point in overtime, then narrowly lost to the Buckeyes in another close overtime game as four players combined for over 100 points, and Oregon beat Arkansas in a shootout where both programs had a pair of teammates drop at least 20 points. Ohio State won the whole event by the slimmest of margins and was the only group among the quartet to finish the season ranked. Oregon and Arkansas both collapsed in conference play before losing in the WNIT quarterfinals.

USF beats Stanford, no one notices

The 2021 Thanksgiving tournaments were chaotic in every which way, but nothing has captured how FloHoops Feast Week falls under the radar quite like the Bulls in the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Classic. The in-game win expectancy swung more than 180 percentage points in just the final 21 seconds, as USF left Lexie Hull wide open in the corner and then got stuffed by Cameron Brink. But a missed free throw allowed a Sydni Harvey heave to lead to one of the biggest wins in Bulls history, resulting in … both teams moving up in the rankings. Stanford would secure a No. 1  seed in that year’s March Madness; USF was a nine-seed.

Ranked Florida State takes back-to-back unranked losses

Fall of 2021. Morgan Jones’ last year in Tallahassee. The Noles have started the season beating up on bad teams, are enjoying the bench breakout of freshman Makayla Timpson and show up to the St. Pete’s Showcase ranked top-20. They promptly lose to two unranked teams in three days, and drop out of the rankings for good less than two weeks later.

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Nia Clouden sets Sparty scoring record in 2OT loss

In December 2021, Nia Clouden and Michigan State met FGCU in the West Palm Beach Invitational. The Eagles were receiving votes in the AP Poll and the Spartans were not, but the game went to double-overtime on the back of Clouden’s Michigan State-record 50 points. She scored 36 across the second half and overtime and took just 28 shots all game while playing 46 minutes. Sparty still lost by one point. Clouden did not receive USBWA Women’s National Player of the Week honors following that performance.

Notre Dame can’t play a normal game

The 2021 Daytona Beach Invitational was a hodgepodge of teams, with four participants who’d be ranked at some point in the 2021-22 season and only one who wasn’t in and out of the polls all season long. The Irish ended that year in the Elite Eight, blowing an eight-point lead to N.C. State when Dara Mabrey turned her back to allow Raina Perez the famous pick-six steal. The seeds of that chaos were planted in Notre Dame during a wild two-day sequence in which it blew a 90% win expectancy to unranked Georgia by shooting 0-for-4, all 3-pointers, in the last two minutes of regulation, then beat No. 16 Oregon State the next day despite letting a 22-point third quarter lead turn into a two-point win. Because FloHoops Feast Week doesn’t have to make sense.

The 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis

This gets its own section. The tournament featured No. 3 Texas; No. 6 Louisville; No. 11 Tennessee; and three teams receiving votes in UCLA, South Dakota State and Gonzaga.

Day 1: UCLA beats South Dakota State, Gonzaga beats Louisville, Marquette beats Texas.
Day 2: UCLA beats Tennessee, Marquette beats Gonzaga, Louisville beats Texas.
Day 3: Gonzaga beats Tennessee and South Dakota State beats Louisville.

The final results of the 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis, with their rankings entering the tournament:

  1. RV UCLA
  2. Marquette
  3. RV Gonzaga
  4. No. 11 Tennessee
  5. RV South Dakota State
  6. No. 6 Louisville
  7. No. 3 Texas
  8. Rutgers

Which 2023 holiday season games will we add to the pantheon of FloHoops Feast Week? Is it Kansas nearly upsetting No. 9 Virginia Tech in a game where no one scored in the final three minutes? Aneesah Morrow needing to score 37 points to help No. 7 LSU escape unranked Virginia? What about Caitlin Clark finding her inner Nikola Jokić by committing an intentional foul in a near-40-point win?

My money’s on No. 10 N.C. State demolishing No. 3 Colorado. But only time will tell.

* RV = Receiving votes

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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