Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• I love it when power conference members square off in non-conference games. They give a true indication of strengths and weaknesses prior to the start of league play. Georgetown will play its first game in California in eight years when the Hoyas travel to play the University of Washington as part of the John R. Wooden Classic on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 in Anaheim. This will be Georgetown's first trip to California since Dec. 29, 2001, when the team played at UCLA. The first-ever meeting between the two programs, the game will also mark the Hoyas' first appearance in the Wooden Classic. It is a good test and great experience for Greg Monroe and company. Georgetown is also facing Butler in the Jimmy V Classic.
• I do not like the fact that Big Ten teams do not get to face each other twice. I understand that the schedule of teams that play each other once rotates. For example, this season Michigan catches a bit of a break as it faces Purdue and Illinois just once.
• East Tennessee State gave coach Murry Bartow an extension through the 20-13-14 season. The son of legendary coach Gene Bartow has done a solid job with the Buccaneers over his six seasons there, including a pair of NCAA tournament berths.
• New Alabama coach Anthony Grant has a familiar name on his coaching staff. Dan Hipsher, the former head coach of Akron, actually gave Grant his first coaching job; he hired him as an assistant at Stetson. Hipsher spent the last two seasons as an associate head coach at South Florida under Stan Heath.
• The University of Texas, Pittsburgh, Iowa and Wichita State are the regional hosts in the 2009 O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. All four schools will host Regional Round games before automatically advancing to the Championship Rounds at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Nov. 23-24. The event includes a 12-team field and will begin on Nov. 15-18 at the four regional sites. The four regional hosts will play two games at home before heading to Kansas City for the semifinals and championship/consolation games.
• In case you wanted to look ahead, here are the sites for the NCAA tournament this season: First & Second Rounds March 18-20 New Orleans (New Orleans Arena); Providence, R.I. (Dunkin Donuts Center) San Jose, Calif. (HP Pavilion); Spokane, Wash. (Veterans Memorial Arena) March 19-21 Buffalo, N.Y. (HSBC Arena); Jacksonville, Fla. (Veterans Memorial Arena) Milwaukee (Bradley Center); Oklahoma City (Ford Center). The NCAA Regionals are March 25-27 East: Syracuse, N.Y. (Carrier Dome); West: Salt Lake City (Energy Solutions Arena) March 26-28 Midwest: St. Louis (Edward Jones Dome); South: Houston (Reliant Stadium) and of course the Final Four is April 3-5 in Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium).