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Welcoming EDSBS and The NIT Season Tip-Off Field Is Out

I'm back, if only briefly.  Proposals are still the order of the day at the office (damn that pesky government fiscal year), and this will remain the case until I leave for a trip Chicago to see the Cubs two weeks from tonight.  Upon my return, it will be nearly football season.  That means it's time for me to start with my season preview content.  (Also known as, I do all the writing I wanted to do before real work intervened.) I also plan on doing bowl projections during the football season.

On the topic of college football, I received an e-mail in my inbox this morning that was the second time in about five minutes where I had to pick my eyes up from the floor.  That's how great and surprising the news was.  (OK, the first time wasn't so great.  The cost of a one-way car rental for my California trip made me re-think my itinerary.)  Many of you are fans of football as well, and you will be pleased to know that the GREATEST college football site on the planet will be joining the ranks of SBN soon.  Everyday Should Be Saturday, run by fellow UF alum Spencer Hall aka Orson Swindle and Holly--even if she went to Tennessee, will be on the network in the next couple of weeks.  You can read Orson's announcement here.  This news made my day, as I spent many a great Saturday hanging out in live blogs and game threads over there, and since EDSBS has been a major inspiration to me as a blogger, even if I'm not really anywhere near as funny.

Welcome aboard Spencer and Holly!  You will love it here.

In hoops news. join me after the jump for a bit on the NIT Season Tip-Off.

The 16-team field and the regional matchups are out.  The pairings are set up so that UConn and Duke meet up in the final.  The East regional in Durham is an all-Carolina affair.  The Blue Devils will take on Cliff Ellis's Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the first round, and with a win, either Charlotte (with Bobby Lutz on a bit of a hot seat at his alma mater) or Elon for the right to advance to New York.  

The East Regional winner will take on the winner of the West Region in the semifinals.  Arizona State will host that pod out in Tempe.  The Sun Devils will look to do better than their archrivals did in hosting a regional last year, where Arizona lost to UAB in the regional final.  ASU faces Texas State in round one, with TCU and Cal State-Northridge on the other half of the bracket.  (Don't sleep on the Matadors, even after their lost their top two scorers to graduation.)

UConn appears to have an easy path to New York in the North Regional.  The Huskies face Colgate in round one, and, if they survive, they'll get the winner of Hofstra and Yale in round two.

The host who has the best chance to become an upset victim, however, is LSU.  While they shouldn't have much trouble with Indiana State, even if they are a crafty MVC team, they could face a very tough Western Kentucky team in the regional final.  However, the Hilltoppers make it past their first opponent, Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Just like last year, the 12 teams who don't make it to New York will play in four-team tournaments at the home courts of the three highest seeds.  

I'll talk more about the NIT Season Tip-Off and many of the other early season tournaments as we head into the fall.