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It’s Baaa-aaack…  college hoops unofficially started tonight and I couldn’t be more excited.  The 2011-2012 season has the potential to be one of the craziest seasons in some time.  Some big names decided to stick around long enough to become sophomore sensations this season (which could become a yearly occurrence if a new rule to keep players in college for 2 years gets put into play after the year).  Some big names are joining the league looking to be the BMO their C.  And some big names only have a year or two left and still have that sour taste in their mouth from last year’s big dance.  *** This Will Be The Year of The Abbreviation! *** (See page 2)

My First Game Of The Season – William & Mary vs. St Johns

Most people might hear the mascots of these two teams and immediately change the channel.  The Tribe vs. Red Storm.  I can hear the conversation now, “Wait, The Tribe?”  “Yeah, The Tribe”  “Oh, ok… Isn’t New Girl on tonight?”  The Tribe’s new mascot, The Griffin, is a mythical creature with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. (It was introduced in 2010 but I guarantee it’s new to 99.9% of those who read this)  I want to believe it was a combination of a lack of funds designated to the program and Nancy, the team mom, being confused as to what she was actually stitching together.  These videos will give you an idea of where these guys heads were at.

The Griffin is being introduced in this video when, not 20 seconds in, there is already an awkward “wow we’re going to lose every game this year aren’t we” kind of moment by the two dudes waiting for the raffle sitting right below the bird-lion.  http://youtu.be/9uDDxliL2w8

(I didn’t take the time to watch the remaining 67 seconds more so let me know how that goes.)

Speaking of ugly – both games I watched tonight ended with an inexplicable amount of fouls at the end of the game.  In my opinion, fouling at the end of games is still one of the most boring tactics in all of sports.  Valpo tried this strategy unsuccessfully tonight in their first game of the season against a decent ‘Zona team.  (Bryce Drew was not on the court or this strategy may have been worthwhile.)  I’m calling for an automatic technical for teams losing by more than 12 points under 1 minute who intentionally foul.  If you’re down by more than 4 scores under 1 minute it’s over.  Move on, don’t waste our time – sorry.

Top 10 Teams With Reasons Why They’re On Top:

1. North Carolina – Coach Roy Williams.  Harrison Barnes, John Henson, & Tyler Zeller are back.

2. Kentucky – Coach John Calipari’s Ability to Recruit MVP Type PG’s – Marquis Teague’s turn?  4 McDonalds All-Americans coming in.

3. Ohio State – Coach Thad Matta. A Slimmer Jared Sullinger Big Ten Beast Mode.  William Buford & Aaron Craft are also back.

4. Connecticut – Coach Jim Calhoun.  Jeremy Lamb (Smoothest Award).  Added best big man in the country Andre Drummond.  Coming off a National Championship.

5. Syracuse – Coach Jim Boeheim.  Returning all but 1 starter.  Scoop Jardine (David Lighty Award – 4th year going on 9).

6. Duke- Coach K (3 wins away from becoming the winningest men’s basketball coach in D-1 history). Preseason ACC Fresh of the year Austin Rivers.  Seth Curry (Stephen Curry’s Brother – we all know what the Curry family has done).

7. Vanderbilt – Returns all 5 starters.  Plethora of Sr’s.

8. Florida – Coach Billy Donovan.  Patric Young.  4 Guard Rotation.

9. Louisville – Coach Rick Pitino.  Chane Behanan (Pitino calls him the best freshman he’s coached since Jamal Mashburn).  Experienced Team.

10. Pittsburg – Coach Jamie Dixon.  Ashton Gibbs.  Coming off a Big East Championship.

*** If you’re like me, the average shmuck, you take notice that most of the top ten teams in the nation are the kind of squads you abbreviate on your bracket in March knowing you’ll have to write their name down multiple times (UNC, UK, OSU, UCONN, CUSE, DUKE, VANDY, PITT, etc).  Big Name Teams. Big Name Players. Big Name Coaches. If things play out like they’re suppose to, strap yourself in because March is going to blow you out of the water.

Side Note: Going along with one of the givens in life that gambling makes ANYTHING more interesting, there is no reason for not getting into my 15th anniversary pool this year.  You must be thinking, “This the 15th year he’s managed to successfully con people into filling out a bracket while taking all of their money?”  True & False.  It was 15 years ago when I started to manage an NCAA pool.  It was also 15 years ago the last time I made money off of the pool.  My continuous streak for placing 1 seed out of the money is now running on 4 years straight.  The other’s I’ve just flat out fallen on my face.  That’s neither here nor there – The moral of the story is that there are plenty of great games through out the entire season that you should be watching/paying attention to.  You all should be extremely knowledgeable about this years tournament based on great games alone – no excuses about not knowing what happened this year!  For instance, I was reading about the UNC vs. Mich St. game that will take place on an aircraft carrier this Friday.  Forget the amazing early season matchup of two top 25 heavy weight programs – it’s on an aircraft carrier?!?  Like I said before, this season won’t disappoint.

My Pick For National Champs – North Carolina.

-B Easy