Season starts with games stationed on two military fronts

This blog is dedicated in memory of my two grandfathers who nobly served in the U.S. Army, European Theater during World War II (neither man saw combat), and would eventually lead both healthy and productive lives for the remaining half of the 20th century.

I want to say thank you to all of the veterans past and present for their service and their sacrifice in keeping our world and our country safe.

At least, we do know where a couple hundred of our fighting men and women will be doing come Saturday (that’s Friday night to you and me).  That’s right, no bands or cheerleaders in these two unique venues–but they will be hooting and hollering at their favorite schools, as the season finally begins for real.

The occasion is the fourth annual Armed Forces Classic, this time from Camp Foster half a world away in Okinawa, Japan.

Two schools which have never met on the hardwood will get an early chance to prove that they are tournament worthy, as Gonzaga takes on one of many coaches on the proverbial hot seat with Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh.  That game will air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.  After some updates on other college games and some NBA action–sometime around 10 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN will take us to Shanghai, China as Shaka Smart begins the new “Hook ‘Em Horns” era as the Texas Longhorns square off against the Washington Cougars.

For more perspective on why this time matters to begin the college basketball season, check out the November 4 article posted by longtime Sports Illustrated columnist Seth Davis, whom you see periodically on CBS Sports from December and throughout the Turner Sports led coverage of the NCAA Tournament:

http://www.si.com/college-basketball/2015/11/04/season-preview-opening-day-veterans-day

Other games worth checking out Stateside on Friday include:

  • The Samford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will get the honor of lifting the lid on the games that count as Steve Prohm begins the new era at Iowa State with the Cyclones matching up with Colorado.  The fun starts at 5 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
  • ESPNU will have a doubleheader:  A 2K Classic game at 7 p.m. Eastern as Siena travels to Cameron Indoor Stadium and the defending National Champions of Duke.
  • This might be a game worth DVR’ing starting at 9 p.m., as Ben Simmons leads LSU in the season opener at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against mid-major school McNeese State.
  • On Sunday, a past NCAA Tournament matchup from the 1990’s will take place as Fairfield travels to the Dean Smith Center to take on North Carolina.  That game airs at 4 p.m., part of four games slated to be shown on ESPNU.  The nightcap will feature the same Siena Fighting Saints traveling to Madison and a mostly different looking Wisconsin squad that appeared during the last two Final Fours since Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker have since taken their talents to the NBA.  The action at the Kohl Center will start shortly after 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Plans for the blog going forward, VIP PLEASE READ

I will chime in with updates periodically.  My goal (except for the weeks during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) is to blog at least twice a week.  The frequency of postings will increase once the calendar shifts past Leap Day 2016 and we enter in that crazy period of March, where anything can happen.

You can expect clear and concise information on the games that matter the most.  There are other blogs here on WordPress and other online outlets that will probably blog on the thousands of games that will take place from coast to coast.  I plan to cover the big upsets and the teams that have more than a fighting chance on hopefully making the 2016 NCAA Tournament a reality, instead of most of the GOP candidates running for President during the debates in giving people false hope.

There will be times when the season reaches certain peaks and valleys, and depending on what news shakes things up in the college basketball world–I will try my best to get the facts right.  Too often in this me, me, me world, everyone is trying to get the story first.

That mantra used to work long ago, back in the days when printing presses and telegraphs were the common threads used in the media back in the Great Depression.  If there is a controversial story involving a player, a coach, or the simple fact of too many fouls being called by the referees–I will say what I mean and hopefully, the comments I make will stick with fans.

Of course, the true ranting and raving will be saved for Selection Sunday, shortly after 7 p.m. Eastern time when CBS goes back to their usual prime-time programming and we have just seen the 68 team bracket posted live for instant review and feedback:

Which schools should have had been seeded higher?

Which schools should have been seeded lower, if any?
Which schools backed their way into the field?

Consequently, which teams saw their “bubble burst”?

Which schools had their bids taken away from them?

Those and other key questions will hopefully be answered over the 120 days that comprise the regular season.

Enter Part One–the nonconference schedule, my favorite period of following the games outside of March itself.

Say it with me–including my recent new online friends in Meagan, Alyssa, and Gia, say it loud and say it proud:

This…is…going…to…be…FUN!

See you this weekend.

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