There is a triple-header on ESPN2 tonight, so all is right in the world. As football fans try to sort out the haystack of one-loss teams, we merely watch our much more game-dense, much more democratic season begin to pick up the pace. By the way, Hawai'i, if you go undefeated in hoops, I guarantee that you be the national champion.
Soon, it will be turkey, time off, and the yawning chasm between the end of the football regular season and the BCS title game. Literally hundreds of basketball games will occur between the end of football's regular season and its national championship contest. Whether the reasons are valid or not, this is preposterous.
Thankfully, there is no such great divide in college hoops. In fact, the season consists of four parts:
1. Non-conference. This time is made for Gardner-Webbing and Mercering of much ballyhooed "major" teams with resumes built on nothing more than reputation and anticipation.
2. Conference season. This is where a lot of winnowing occurs. Teams are sifted and the wheat and chaff are separated.
3. Conference tourney. Good teams from power conferences jockey for seeding, good teams from non-power conferences battle for the right to rest easy on Selection Sunday, Bubble Boys look to jump to the good side of the fence, and teams mired in mediocrity or teams that are downright stinkeroos look to make a last-gasp run to an automatic bid.
4. NCAA tourney. 64 games in three weeks and we get one champion decided on the court.
While much energy is focused on #4, let us take time to relish Turkeyball. November has already offered up surprises from various A-Sun teams and the upcoming tourneys have more in store, to be sure. Enjoy phase one to it's fullest this November/December.
And, know that if Hawai'i or anyone else does not lose a game this season, they WILL be crowned the champion.
--New Mexico State at Duke. The Aggies are smarting after opening the season with a loss at Ohio, but the WAC faves have a chance to make amends in a big way tonight.