As conference kicks into high gear in January, the games get harder and harder to choose from. There are 10 games that are definitely worth watching, but I had to pick the five best ones. Please note that Columbia, Stony Brook, Iona and St. Francis (NY) all have multiple games this month that are worth attending. This is just a sampling.
As non-conference play comes to a close, a few schools are going to get an early jump on conference games as well. One of those games appears in our top five. The big event at MSG this month is the Jimmy V Classic – Missouri vs. Villanova, Marquette vs. Washington – but there’s another set of games on the schedule at The Garden that makes this list as well.
First, congratulations to Iona’s Michael Glover for being named to the John R. Wood Award Men’s Preseason Top 50 List. It’s quite the honor to be recognized by the national media and it shows just how far he’s come. What’s even more impressive is that Glover made the list while playing for a team that plays in the MAAC. There were a lot of other talented mid-major players that got snubbed.
This week, as part of my preseason coverage, I’m going to take a look at some key games coming up in 2011-12. It just so happens that there are five months in the college basketball calendar, so this works out perfectly. While there are plenty awesome games in November at Madison Square Garden – the Champions Classic Nov. 15 and the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer on Nov. 17, here are some local mid-major games worth checking out.
Dribble Handoffs is going to be another weekly feature on the site this season. Get ready for the weekend with a bunch of interesting links. There are lots of really smart people writing about college basketball and each week I’ll try and highlight some to read. It’s like Follow Friday for cool college basketball writers.
Sixteen conferences and 142 teams are participating in BracketBusters this season. While most people are making jokes about how everyone gets to play, it’s interesting to see which conferences aren’t present this season. For instance, the Atlantic 10, Great West, Northeast Conference and the Ivy League present four examples of why a conference would sit out an event that offers 26 schools a decent bit of national exposure (and the rest a home-and-home series).
There are a bunch of teams in and around the New York City area. What better way to get a handle on them by putting them into your classic power ranking? Note: In order to be included in the power rankings a team’s campus has to be within a 65 mile radius of Manhattan according to Google Maps. That means that every team that plays Division I basketball in New Jersey is also included along with a few Connecticut teams. Let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone. From now on these will get updated every Wednesday and contain a little feature at the top instead of this boring explanatory blurb. Away we go…
The Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament is leaving Atlantic City and heading to the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn starting in 2013. There were rumors that the ACC Tournament might also be moving to the Barclays, so the A-10 had to move fast if they wanted the venue. It’s a good thing they did, because moving to New York City at the same time the Big East Tournament is going on should increase media coverage at the event. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That’s the reason Brooklyn was selected.
CAA Hoops published its conference predictions and it’s the thorough, yet fast-moving read that you’d expect. You’ll notice though that it takes quite a while to get down to Hofstra. The Pride are picked to finish 10th. I’ll have more on this later, but I think that’s awfully low. I expect Hofstra to finish solidly inside the third quartile (7-9) at the very least, and possibly in the top half of the league. It may sound like semantics, but there’s a big different between 7th and 10th. Still, highly recommended reading.
St. Francis (NY) and Glenn Braica have one of the toughest challenges in college basketball this season – to replace two senior stars. The loss of Ricky Cadell and Akeem Bennett off a team that went 15-15 a season ago leaves a big hole in the roster. While Dre Calloway and Akeem Johnson should get the first cracks at replacing the two stars, there is a big recruiting class coming in to help as well.