ESPN's 24-hour college hoops tipoff marathon will get off to a good start at midnight as rivals Washington State and Gonzaga meet at The Kennel in Spokane. The Cougars have embarked on life without Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, and while that means they've got a lot of scoring to account for Ken Bone's got some established returnees back to lead a solid recruiting class. As for Gonzaga, the best news for them may be the health of junior foward Elias Harris.
Friday marks the first big day of the college basketball season with more than 100 games on the schedule. Sure most of the games look to be of the "opening sacrifice" variety, but a closer look reveals some intriguing matchups. It only makes sense to begin with the game that needs little introduction, the Carrier Classic game matching preseason national title favorite North Carolina and Michigan State. The game will be played on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, which will likely cue a few "I'm on a boat" jokes.
The first two questions in our college hoops "roundtable", where I ask some college basketball writers what their thoughts are on some of the hot topics in the game, centered around conference realignment and the new recruiting rules.
Glover is joined on the first team by Fairfield University junior guard Derek Needham and senior center Ryan Olander, Iona senior guard Scott Machado and Rider University senior guard/forward Novar Gadson.
Iona received eight of the first-place votes and 97 points, followed by last season's preseason pick Fairfield University,which received two first-place votes and 92 points. Loyola University (Maryland) finished in third with 76 points.
G: Darryl Partin (Boston University)
G: Chris De La Rosa (UMBC)
G: Gerald McLemore (Maine)
F: Ferg Myrick (New Hampshire)
F: Brian Voelkel (Vermont)
G: Tu Holloway (Xavier)
G: Ramone Moore (Temple)
America East: James Kennedy (Boston University)
With the college basketball season finally on the horizon, the game that's been overlooked by many in conference realignment will once again have the center stage. Perennial contenders will once again make a run at a national title while some new faces will pop up as well. The first four-part preview will focus on the conferences, and more specifically who will win each of the 32 leagues.
No matter where you look for information on the 2011-12 season for the MAAC the theme remains the same: regular season champion Fairfield and MAAC Tournament finalist Iona will stage a two-team race for the title. But while the Stags and Gaels are most certainly contenders for the league's automatic bid don't forget about Tommy Dempsey's Rider Broncs.