This week, the NCAA basketball season got underway in earnest — always a fun time — full of hope and curiosity as you begin to gauge where your alma mater(s) are compared to the competition. Who's going to be "tough" this year? Can anyone be this year's George Mason? et cetera. And the best thing is: compared to the mess that college football is every January, you know that come March you'll get all your answers.
Of course, the most important question of any basketball season is: who will win the ACC? Having gone to grad school in Chapel Hill, I am of course a little biased to North Carolina. This year's team should be another strong one, with 4 of 5 starters returning from last year's 23-win team, plus a strong freshman class. A couple of early games against Ohio State (Big Ten — pffft) and Kentucky will be an interesting barometer for this team. Of course, all that really matters is beating Dook. The Heels opened up the pre-season NIT by beating up on Sacred Heart.
My other alma mater, where I went to college, is the University of Delaware, which is unfortunately not quite as much of a basketball powerhouse. The Fightin' Blue Hens opened up their season tonight by taking one on the chin against Marist. Despite making the tourney a few times early in this decade, expectations are low this year for the Hens. They have a new coach (an assistant from St Joe's in Philly) and are not predicted to contend in the Colonial Athletic League.
It's good to have college basketball back. Go HEELS! Go HENS!