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Tomorrow They Begin: The 2009-10 Early Season Tournament Preview

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Yes, my friends, our long wait is almost over. Tomorrow, there will be actual games to watch. Right now, I want to invite you to join me over at the SBNation NCAA Basketball page. On just about every night of the season (except for a few when my posting will be limited when I'm in California), I'll be delivering updates and commentary as the games go on. I'll still be posting game previews, brackets, and commentary here, but on game nights, I'll be focusing a lot of my efforts there, as well as on Twitter, @bracketdobber.

But, since tomorrow's televised games are all part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, a hybrid multi-team event or MTE, I figured I'd better get my post covering the bevy of early season tournaments up.

At the beginning of my season preview series, I posted an analysis of the growth of MTEs over the past couple of seasons. The other day, I noticed another DC area hoops blogger, Dan Hanner, built on this with a truly great post that did a nice job of breaking down who's going where over November and December.

One thing both Dan and I call out is the growth of events that exist solely to skirt the exempted tournament rule. Sure, there are a few events--like the ones the Gazelle Group and Basketball Tournaments, Inc. have set up--that separate major and non-major schools when it comes to determining a champion. There are also hard-to-figure out quasi-round robins like the Glenn Wilkes Classic and Philly Hoop Group Classic. But the biggest scheduling trend of this offseason is the growth of four-team round-robin tournaments like kudzu across the land, something I wrote about here.

Now, I didn't realize that there were quite so many of these until I started doing conference previews. Not only did BCS schools like Oregon, Providence, Texas Tech