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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where the Balls are Rounder

With only one meaningful game remaining in the football season, it's been time to turn my attention to basketball. I've actually been to more live basketball this year than I have since my days in pep band, now that I'm a season ticket holder at UNCG. And yet it's only just now that I'm really starting to pay good attention to the grander scheme of college hoops.

I follow three and a half teams: UMBC, USF, UNCG, with a passing interest in Maryland. Things are actually starting to look up for them. USF  improved to 3-5 in the Big East and first the first time since joining the conference won two consecutive conference games vs. Providence and Seton Hall. If that doesn't sound like improvement to you, well, you're not familiar with USF and Big East basketball. UNCG now has a couple of home wins after a non-conference playing whipping boy to the ACC, and notched two consecutive wins at the Coliseum (interrupted by a home loss back on campus in Fleming). Maryland currently sits atop the ACC. And UMBC? Well, despite a 1-20 record, saved only by two winless teams from being the worst in all of D-I basketball, there's reason to be optimistic at UMBC. Why, you may ask? Because starting with a preseason scrimmage at Navy, it's lacrosse season.

In watching, I'm reminded that I love Big East basketball. It's an interesting realization: While I'm a USF alum, Big East basketball was, and for the most part, still is, a "them" and not an "us" to me. For starters, my entire time at USF was spent in Conference USA. And clearly, USF has never been a force in conference hoops, so it's easy to feel disconnected. On the other hand, I feel more closely connect to ACC hoops, being a part time Terps fan and living in NC, specifically in Greensboro, home of the conference headquarters and often the conference tournament. Clearly I've got a good solid east coast bias, but watching Syracuse-Georgetown last weekend, Louisville-West Virginia today, and Georgetown over Duke this afternoon, I was reminded of my conference love. 
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