In the early part of the 2010-11 season, college basketball fans will get to see rematches of the 2007, 2008, and 2010 National Championship games, even if the cast of characters will be completely different in two of the three matchups and one of them didn't even happen according to the NCAA. More on these games and a few other scheduling tidbits after the jump.
As widely rumored and anticipated, the rematch between Butler and Duke is happening. The two 2010 National Finalists will meet at Duke's second (or third) home court, the soon-to-be tenant-less Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford on December 4 at 3:30 Eastern on ESPN. That's not the only big happening for the Bulldogs, as they'll help Louisville open their new arena as part of ESPN's season-opening marathon on November 16.
The Championship Game rematches don't stop in the Swamps of Jersey. There will also be one in the real Swamp during ESPN's November 16 marathon, as Florida will host Ohio State in a rematch of the 2007 Final. The two will meet again in Columbus in the 2011-12 season, which also happens to be when the Gators kick off a home-and-home with Arizona.
The Jimmy V Classic will feature two marquee matchups on December 7, including yet another Championship rematch, as Memphis will take on Kansas in the opener in a rematch of the 2008 game that the NCAA has partially erased from the record books. However, the big game of the doubleheader may be the second, as Michigan State and Syracuse clash in the nightcap. The second game could be a look to the future if Big Ten expansion comes to pass. Spartans vs.Orange would likely be a matchup of league's two biggest hoops draws. (Unless Indiana suddenly rebounds or Purdue or Wisconsin claim a title soon.)
Several e-mails from Wake fans lead me to think that the Demon Deacons will join Tennessee, UCLA, and Villanova as a regional host for the NIT Season Tip-Off. According to these e-mailers, former Wake head coach Dino Gaudio mentioned the Deacs would play in the event this coming season on his former radio show, and there's no reason to think new bench boss Jeff Bzdelik would pull Wake out of the event. SB Nation's own Wake blog, Blogger So Dear, also believes this is the case.
Also from the speculation department is new talk that Arkansas and Georgetown have joined the Charleston Classic field, where Charlotte, The Citadel, East Carolina, George Mason, and NC State are already confirmed participants.
On Saturday at 5 p.m. ET, players will have to decide if they'll stay in the NBA Draft or return to school. Expect a very early (and for comedic purposes only, believe me) preseason bracket on Sunday evening. Actually, make that two brackets, one with an Opening Round featuring auto bids and a second with one made up of the Last Eight In.