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2013-2014 College Basketball Season is Underway

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

To celebrate the return of college basketball, we’re going to pick every Top-25 game this weekend.

2013-2014 College Basketball Season is Underway

When the Florida Gators and the North Florida Ospreys tipped off this afternoon, the 2013-2014 college basketball season officially began. The hopes and dreams of schools across the nation are as big as ever this time of year. It's been a long time since the Louisville Cardinals took down the Michigan Wolverines in the title game, and the top of the college basketball landscape looks very talented again. High-profile prospects like Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke) and Kentucky's best-ever recruiting class have their fan bases excited about deep tournament runs and national titles.

But several upperclassmen returned for another opportunity for tournament glory. Players like Creighton's Doug McDermott and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart are primed for big seasons on teams ready to make a big splash come March. There are plenty of talented teams like St. Johns, Georgetown, Boise State, Tennessee and Indiana lurk outside the first Top 25 rankings, but they all could easily be there in a couple weeks' time. Heck, there's even a brand new Big East Conference.

But to me, the best part of the NCAA basketball season being back is the unpredictability it brings. Everything we learn about teams over the course of the season is often rendered useless once the madness of the tournament begins. Who would have ever thought that Florida Gulf Coast would topple Georgetown in the tournament and then advance to the Sweet 16 after that upset? No one I know. And even though quite a few expected Gonzaga to fall early in the tournament, it wasn't any less surprising when Wichita State took them down and then almost made it to the National Championship. While the cream really rises to the top, what's beautiful about college hoops is the parity created around the country. It's the possibility that any team can go down any time that makes it so much fun. It might not have the quality that hardcore NBA fans look for, but there is just something about NCAA hoops that is just as appealing to me. 

So to commemorate the return of the college hoops season, I'm going to predict the outcome of all the Top-25 games for this weekend (aside from Florida's victory, which already happened). Every ranked team but Memphis will take the court, and it should be a great beginning to what so many of us hoops fans have been waiting a long time for. Don't take it for granted, because before we know it, we'll be watching "One Shining Moment" and wondering where this season went.

Friday (18) UConn vs. Maryland: UConn
(24) Virginia vs. James Madison: Virginia
(8) Syracuse vs Cornell: Syracuse
(2) Michigan State vs. McNeese State: Michigan State
(7) Michigan vs. UMass-Lowell: Michigan
(21) Notre Dame vs. Miami (OH): Notre Dame
(20) Wisconsin vs. St. John's: St. John's (Upset Special!)
(4) Duke vs. Davidson: Duke
(19) Oregon vs. Georgetown: Oregon (though this will be a tough game for the Ducks)
(14) VCU vs. Illinois State: VCU
(1) Kentucky vs. UNC Asheville: Kentucky
(5) Kansas vs. UL-Monroe: Kansas
(8) Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi Valley: Oklahoma State
(12) North Carolina vs. Oakland: UNC
(18) Marquette vs. Southern: Marquette
(6) Arizona vs. Cal Poly: Arizona
(25) Baylor vs. Colorado: Baylor
(22) UCLA vs. Drexel: UCLA
Saturday (11) Ohio State vs. Morgan State: Ohio State
(3) Louisville vs. Charleston: Louisville
(16) Wichita State vs. Emporia State: Wichita State
(15) Gonzaga vs. Bryant: Gonzaga
(23) New Mexico vs. Alabama A&M: New Mexico
Sunday (21) Notre Dame vs. Stetson: Notre Dame (1) Kentucky vs. Norse: Kentucky

So not many upsets in my mind this weekend, but this is college basketball. The unpredictable often happens every night.

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