Each week I'll talk about the sport I love, college basketball:
• I am excited about the match-ups for the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in December. Will it be a Big East party? Georgetown faces Butler in the first game, followed by Pittsburgh against Indiana. Greg Monroe of the Hoyas will be one of the premier big men in America. Brad Stevens has all of his players back from last year's talented team, including Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward up front, plus Shelvin Mack in the backcourt. I am looking forward to seeing Jamie Dixon and Tom Crean match moves on the sidelines. It should be a great doubleheader as we continue the fight against cancer.
• The third annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which is set for Nov. 19-22, has a solid field. The eight teams competing include Kansas State (22-12), Boston University (17-13), Dayton (27-8), George Mason (22-11), Georgia Tech (12-19), Mississippi (16-15), Indiana (6-25) and 2009 Final Four participant Villanova (30-7). You know the Yellow Jackets and Hoosiers will be much improved over last season, and a lot of people like Andy Kennedy's Rebels as a sleeper in the SEC. Having Scottie Reynolds, Gani Lawal and Chris Wright among the players in action will please fans down in Puerto Rico.
• Another interesting tournament is in Charleston. The 2009 Charleston Classic is set for Nov. 19-22 at Carolina First Arena in Charleston, S.C. Davidson will join La Salle, Miami (Fla.), UNC-Wilmington, Penn State, South Carolina, USF and Tulane to form the field of eight. It figures to be a competitive group with Tailor Battle of the Nittany Lions and Devan Downey of the Gamecocks in the spotlight. Bob McKillop's Wildcats are also scheduled to compete in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. Also in that field are St. John's, Hofstra and Cornell.
• This is the time of year where some big names in college basketball try to hook up in the pros after going through the NBA draft without hearing their name called. In glancing at summer league rosters, some familiar names are trying to make a good impression: Levance Fields (Pittsburgh) and Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga) with Orlando; Gary Wilkinson (Utah State) and Jimmy Baron (Rhode Island) with Utah; Dionte Christmas (Temple) and Jeff Adrien (Connecticut) with the Nets/Sixers; Curtis Jerrells (Baylor) and Alfred Aboya (UCLA) with Dallas; Ben Woodside (North Dakota State) and Paul Harris (Syracuse) with Minnesota.
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