Wednesday’s Den: Lets get the college hoop season started

13) 11am Wednesday morning, East Tennessee State vs Abilene Christian kicks off this year’s college basketball season, live from Estero, FL. McNeese-Nebraska is the noon game on Big Ten Network- they have games on that channel all day/night.

Things are very fluid; games are being dropped from the schedule because of COVID, others are being added. It’ll be an unusual season, just like this whole year has been unusual, everywhere.

We’ll do our best to stay on top of things, but its a work in progress. Hopefully by the time the NCAA tournament rolls around, there will be a vaccine and things will be calming down some. Hopefully. 

12) 68-year old Rick Pitino is the new coach at Iona, which made six of the last eight NCAA tournaments, but was just 12-17, when their last coach was on the sidelines with health issues.

Iona had nine open scholarships when Pitino got to New Rochelle, so the Gaels won’t have a lot of experience, though their two returnees are senior guards, which helps. Iona has four big men who are all from other countries; Pitino is following the Gonzaga model; get quick guards, bring in quality transfers and get your big guys from other countries.

Iona will be an interesting team to follow. 

11) UConn is back in the Big East, after seven years in the AAC; Huskies never won an AAC title, but they did win the national championship in their first year in the AAC. Huskies were 19-12 under Danny Hurley last year, and they have four starters back, but they’re moving up in class. 

10) Speaking of the AAC, Wichita State fired Gregg Marshall after former players complained about Marshall’s coaching style, which they claimed was abusive. Six players transferred out of Wichita last season, which lit the fuse for his dismissal. 

Marshall was 331-121 in 13 years at Wichita and made a Final Four; not often a coach with a record like that is told to take a hike. 

9) Top six teams in America this season, according to KenPom.com:
— Gonzaga
— Duke
— Baylor
— Villanova
— Kansas
— Texas Tech

8) San Diego State poached grad transfer Terrell Gomez from Cal-Northridge to be its point guard; Aztecs lost three starters from LY’s 30-2 team that was probably going to be a 1-seed in the NCAA’s- eight of their 12 players this year are juniors/seniors. Thats a good thing. 

7) Cal-Oregon State is a late addition to Wednesday’s schedule; this will be a non-conference game between Pac-12 rivals. Both teams needed a game, so they hooked up on short notice. 

6) SEC will play an 18-game conference season, starting December 29-30. There will also be a set of games between SEC and Big X teams in there somewhere, too.

5) 7-foot-3 big man Matt Haarms left Purdue, then chose BYU over Kentucky as his next stop, which raised eyebrows. BYU is picked 2nd in the WCC by Blue Ribbon, and that’s because Gonzaga is picked #1 in the country. 

4) MAC is changing how its conference tournament works; only 8 of 12 teams will make it this year, which eliminates the on-campus first round games in Championship Week.

3) Big West has two new teams this year; UC San Diego and Cal-Bakersfield; Bellarmine is new to the Atlantic Sun and Division I. Tarleton State joins D-I and the WAC. 

2) South Dakota State is the heavy favorite in the Summit League, which is down to eight teams; Jackrabbits have all five starters back from LY, and also have three subs back who played 11+ minutes a game.

1) Memphis-Saint Mary’s in the 2:00 game on ESPN2, live from that basketball hotbed of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Excellent early season matchup. 

This should be a fun, interesting, odd season. Let’s get started.

Answer to yesterday’s trivia question: Cal Golden Bears have had five of their QB’s start a Super Bowl, more than any other college program:
Joe Kapp, Craig Morton, Vince Ferragamo (started at Cal, transferred to Nebraska), Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.