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Golden Nuggets for 11.14.08

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It's gameday!

Excuse my excitement, but the college basketball season is my favorite time of year. November and December kick off with interesting match-ups all across the country in various tournaments. Then come January, as our lawns glisten with snow, there's nothing better than a Saturday afternoon of college basketball.

Unlike the NBA, in most every game, you see the passion. Many of these kids dreamt of playing college basketball. Many of them are living their dream and you can tell.

The Gophers' 2008-09 journey begins tonight when they open up Williams Arena to the NABC Classic. The opponents are nothing to write home about. But tonight at 8 p.m. central time on BigTenNetwork.com, the Gophers will open their season against Concordia-St. Paul. On Saturday at the same time and same place the Gophers host the MAC's Bowling Green. And the three-game round-robin winds down Sunday at 6 p.m., again online, against Georgia State.

The Gophers are obvious favorites to go 3-0, but I expect some tense moments, more than a few miscues and some nerves among the 5 new Gophers. I can't wait!

GN is heading to Madison tonight to cover the football Gophers tomorrow. I'll be here with a game thread tonight. Since the game is only on BTN online, if you're watching the game you might as well join the conversation here as well.

I'll also be back later this afternoon with some items to watch this weekend. Forgive me if I don't preview Concordia St. Paul!

  • The Gophers communications team has a breakdown of the participants in the NABC Classic and the new look Gophers here. And this tidbit: Did you know the last time Williams Arena hosted a tournament was the Pillsbury Classic in 1981?
  • Big Ten speed baby! Apparently all Big Ten basketball teams are going to employ a fast pace of play this season. Big Ten Geeks has all the pertinent links, though Todd Lickliter and Bill Carmody are apparently holding out.
  • Here's a pretty well done Big Ten basketball preview. We're going to wait on our conference predictions until closer to Big Ten season.
  • Minnesota wrestling fan? This wrestling forum has good things to say about J. Robinson and notes some things to look at in 2009.
  • Despite his season tailing in off (in part due to injuries) Tim Brewster remains a candidate for the Tennessee job according to news sources culled by Football Rumor Mill. Texas Tech coach Mike Leach would seem to me to be the most attractive on the list. North Carolina coach Butch Davis has said he's not interested. Meanwhile, David Climer of The Tennessean has this to say about the Vols coaching search: "Personally, I'd gravitate toward Tim Brewster at Minnesota because of his live-wire personality and relentless recruiting style. If you can sign blue-chip recruits at Minnesota, you should be able to one-up that at UT."
  • Badgercentric tries to answer this question: How good are Brewster's Gophers?
  • This writer says the Big Ten basketball race is a three team battle with Purdue, Michigan State and Wisconsin. I just want to remind everyone that very few people at this time last year picked Purdue to do much of anything.