5 Must-See College Basketball Games in November
The 2013-14 college basketball season kicks off this week.
We will not have to wait until February or March to see some excellent hoops action.
There will be great games before we eat turkey on Thanksgiving or brave the crowds on Black Friday.
Here are 5 must-see college basketball games in November.
Here we go!
Nov. 8: Georgetown vs. Oregon at Camp Humphrey's, South Korea
Put me down for someone who is 110 percent in favor of taking D-1 college basketball games at the beginning of the season to our overseas military bases.
My support of this is not for the purpose of expanding the global footprint of the NCAA or the sport.
I love it strictly from the standpoint of honoring those who are serving our country, especially those who are doing so abroad.
Last year's Armed Forces Classic game featured Michigan State and UConn squaring off in a hangar at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
This year's game between Georgetown and Oregon features two solid teams that will compete for their respective conference championships.
The Hoyas will feature a perimeter-based attack with senior point guard Markel Starks (pictured) running the show.
A win will start the season off right for either of these teams. But the experience these two programs have in simply playing this game is a greater benefit than the outcome of the contest.
Prediction: Georgetown by four
Nov. 12: Michigan State vs. Kentucky
Can you say, "Final Four Preview?"
What a fantastic, early season contest between two of the elite 2013-14 college basketball programs.
Seasoned experience vs. young talent? Who could ask for anything better than this?
If Spartans shooting guard Gary Harris can get and stay healthy, MSU will be March Madness monsters.
Kentucky's Wildcat wunderkinder will be thrown right in to the fire to see how they perform.
We may not see a better power forward battle all season than UK's freshman power forward Julius Randle going head-to-head against MSU's Payne.
To be honest, every clash at every position could define the outcome of this heavyweight bout.
Prediction: Kentucky by six
Nov. 12: Kansas vs. Duke
Is it possible that the two best games in the entire 2013-14 college basketball regular season could happen on the same mid November night at the same location?
The answer to that question is "Yes."
On November 12, at the United Center in Chicago, immediately following the Michigan State vs. Kentucky contest (previous slide), Kansas and Duke will battle.
Kansas was on its way to a rebuilding year after losing their entire 2012-13 starting five. Then, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden arrived in Lawrence, and the Jayhawks went from Big 12 hopefuls to being a legitimate national contender.
Even with all of this talent on the floor, it may take a while for the Jayhawks to fire on all cylinders.
There is no shortage of star power on the Blue Devils' roster.
All eyes will be on Duke's Jabari Parker, who gets to play before his family and hometown friends right off the bat.
Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood is ready to pen the next chapter in his collegiate hoops career.
One question mark for the Blue Devils as they enter this new season is interior defense.
With the absence of a true center, head coach Mike Krzyzewski will depend on sophomore PF Amile Jefferson (pictured) to patrol the paint.
Call it a basketball junkie's wish, but I would love to see Wiggins and Parker guard each other for some of this game.
THAT would be must-see action.
Prediction: Duke by 2
Nov. 19: Memphis at Oklahoma State
Even though he and the Cowboys will open at home with games against Mississippi Valley State, Utah Valley and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Smart's first real test will come on Nov. 19 when Josh Pastner's Memphis Tigers come to the Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Memphis will bring a strong collection of guards who will attempt to slow down Oklahoma State's high octane attack.
A year ago, OSU went 24-9 (13-5 Big 12) in 2012-13, the best record for the program since the 2004-05 season.
Memphis went 31-5 and a perfect 16-0 to take the Conference USA championship.
Both of these teams will be right in the thick of their respective conference races.
Prediction: Oklahoma State by 7
Nov. 24: North Carolina vs. Louisville (Possible Matchup)
Ok. Technically, before this contest can take place, North Carolina and Louisville will have to win their respective first round games in the Hall of Fame Tip Off at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
But, assuming that the Tar Heels take care of Richmond and the Cardinals put down Fairfield, we should see these two heavyweights square off.
There won't be too many games this season where the coaches have won as many games as U of L's Rick Pitino (664-239; two NCAA championships) and UNC's Roy Williams (700-180; two NCAA championships).
Louisville will be paced by combo guard Russ Smith, one of the best scorers in the country. Smith's return for his senior year helps the Cardinals chances of defending their national title and making another deep run in the 2014 NCAA tournament.
On the other side, it is still unclear when or if North Carolina will have the services of junior wing P.J. Hairston.
While the NCAA investigates possible eligibility issues, Hairston was recently held out of UNC's Nov. 1 exhibition game.
One of the key match ups to watch in this one will be the inside battle between Louisville's Montrezl Harrell and Carolina's James Michael McAdoo.
If McAdoo can establish his game down low, it will open up all kinds of possibilities for the other Tar Heels scorers.
Prediction: Louisville by 5