Thursday, November 1, 2007

College Basketball Season is Underway

Well it is for me at least, anyway. Teams were allowed to officially begin practicing two weeks ago and the school I root for (in all college sports) is the Maize and Blue, the Michigan Wolverines of the rough-and-tumble Big Ten Conference. Last year's NIT trip (yet another one) under then-coach Tommy Amaker capped off a season well short of expectations and as a result, Amaker got fired. Renowned offensive guru John Beilein was brought in from West Virginia to take over the still-prestigious program in Ann Arbor. Michigan opened its season tonight with a 78-40 exhibition win over Division II program Ferris State, with freshman guard Manny Harris leading the way with 15 points for the Wolverines. Michigan's first official game is next Friday night (Nov. 9) at home against the Radford Highlanders (where coincidentally, I played in two state semifinal games as a freshman and sophomore with my high school soccer team; Radford is the host of the Virginia High School League state playoffs for boys' and girls' soccer). The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with tipoff set for 7:00 PM.

Since this blog is geared mainly towards English soccer, I'm going to keep the basketball talk light and leave the nitty-gritty stuff to the professionals and the folks that write about it on a full-time basis. What you'll get here is content about Michigan, the Big Ten, and some random thoughts of mine during the season and all the way through March. There some great, great sites listed under the Useful College Basketball Sites section on the left of the blog homepage and I strongly recommend to you that you check those out if you want the real detailed information about what's going on on the national scene. Here, I'll give you some bracketology and tournament talk as well as what I've already discussed earlier, but like I said, head over to those sites if you want more than just the basics. Believe me, if I had the time to maintain and update a serious, truly informative college basketball blog at the level at which I'm capable of doing so, I would do it, as it's my favorite sport in America, but I simply don't have the time. You can't match the passion and atmosphere found in a college arena, you can't match Dick Vitale or Bill Raftery and their enthusiasm for the game.

For right now though, I've decided to leave you with a few of the many, many early-season tournaments that are becoming the new craze these days. Michigan will be heading to Anchorage, Alaska to take part in the Great Alaska Shootout from November 21-24, where they'll join some quality opposition in Butler, Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, and Gonzaga, as well as the hosts Alaska-Anchorage, Western Kentucky, and Eastern Washington.

Here are some of the more notable tournaments/events this November:

2K Sports Classic (Nov. 5-16)
NIT Season Tip-Off (Nov. 12-23)
CBE Classic (Nov. 12-20)
Paradise Jam (Nov. 16-19)
Puerto Rico Shootout (Nov. 15-18)
Top of the World Classic (Nov. 15-18)
Maui Invitational (Nov. 19-21)
Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 20-24)
Anaheim Classic (Nov. 22-25)
Old Spice Classic (Nov. 22-25)
Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 17-24)
Big Ten/ACC Challenge (Nov. 26-28)

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