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Monday, February 4, 2008

Sorry, my dance card is full...

(originally posted at MyESPN, Early January, 2008)

So, begrudgingly, it's that time of year when focus shifts from college football to college hoops. It's only begrudging because of my love of football mind you--make no mistake, I love college hoops as well.

My focus during basketball season is much different than it is during football season. During football season, I've got nearly exclusive focus on my USF Bulls. It's a no-brainer; it's my dear alma mater, and of the schools I've attended or worked at, it's the only one with a football team. That one's easy.

Come basketball season, however, my eyes are forced to dart back and forth. I've got no fewer than four teams I follow, so keeping up with them keeps me busy.

My college basketball love began in the great state of Maryland. I spent four years playing with the pep band at UMBC, so of course I'm ride or die for my Retrievers, who got off to a strong start this year and will hopefully beast in America East.

As a corollary, I fell into favor with the Turtles down the road, the University of Maryland Terrapins, during my time spent in Maryland through some friends who attended UMCP. I was there in 2001 when College Park burned after the loss to Dook in the Final Four, and I was proud to see them go back and take it all in 2002. The Terps are an interesting allegiance for me; i'm not sure i'd root for them over any of my other teams (and it's not a choice I often have to make) but I follow them all the same.

My other alma mater, USF, is hopefully giving me something to be excited about this year. During my two years at USF and the two seasons that followed, admittedly, the Bulls have given me little to be excited about, but that won't stop me from being true to my school. My time was spent as a mid-carder in Conference USA; we've since transitioned to a cellar dweller in the Big East. So far, however, I'm optimistic about the Heath era of USF basketball.

And finally, I currently work at UNCG. As both a sports fan and as someone who works closely with Athletics several times a year in my position in campus activities, I've grown attached to UNCG's athletics programs. This year's been promising so far, beating Georgia Tech and of course having Kyle Hines in his senior season.

Fortunately/unfor tunately, by and large I don't get to see any of my teams all that often. UNCG, of course, I can catch live, and I was fortunate to be able to catch them on SportsSouth today. You'd think being in ACC country the Terps wouldn't be hard to come by, which is somewhat true, but heaven forbid any of the Big 4 (UNC, State, Wake, Dook) be playing in the area. Despite the Big East's lucrative contract, USF's still hard to catch, being the small fish in a big pond, although they were on The Deuce the other day and have a few more scheduled appearances before the season's out. And the more TV that UMBC gets is locally in Baltimore and on MASN, which of course I don't get (and that's another post for another time).

So while college hoops season doesn't carry quite the same fanaticism from me as college football does, I'm still ready to receive it with open arms once there's no more football. Go Dawgs/Bulls/Spartans /Terps!


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