It's been awhile since I last posted (which may be a theme for the next few weeks, as I'm encountering significant staffing issues at my regular job), so I wanted to share with you a whole bunch of scheduling links for the upcoming season that have been on my radar.
Early season tournament pairings are slowly trickling out, as are full schedules. Plus, there are even a couple pieces of conference tournament news that are worth a mention. I'll go through all of these after the jump.
The field for the NIT Season Tip-Off is complete, but the actual slate of first-round matchups are to be announced. Here are the four regional pods.
Philadelphia: Boston University, George Washington, Marist, Villanova
Knoxville: Arkansas State, Belmont, Missouri State, Tennessee (according to this link, the pairings will be Arkansas State-Tennessee and Belmont-Missouri State)
Winston-Salem: Hampton, VCU, Wake Forest, Winthrop
Los Angeles, Nevada, Pacific, Pepperdine, UCLA
The matchups for the Chicago Invitational Classic are set, as Purdue vs. Southern Illinois and Richmond vs. Wright State will be the top-flight semifinals. The second bracket features Austin Peay vs. Charleston Southern and Oakland vs. Southern.
Basketball Tournaments, Incorporated's two Las Vegas tournaments normally feature the same format, but the promoter made an adjustment to November's Las Vegas Invitational to ensure Kansas and Arizona meet on November 27. The Jayhawks will meet Ohio U and the Wildcats face Santa Clara on November 26. The Bobcats and Broncos meet before the Big 12-Pac-10 tilt on the 27th. Bethune-Cookman vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Northern Colorado vs. Valparaiso are the matchups for the low-major bracket of this event.
December's Las Vegas Classic will play out like an actual tournament, however. Indiana vs. Northern Iowa and New Mexico vs. Colorado are the top-flight semifinals, while Longwood will play the Citadel and SIU Edwardsville will meet South Carolina State in the low-major semis.
The BB&T Classic will be a tripleheader this season, with the first game being a complete surprise, as Florida will play American in the first game, a return game for the Gators' 76-60 win over the Eagles in Gainesville last season. Navy will meet George Washington in game two, while Maryland will face Temple in the nightcap.
In other Gator schedule news, the Florida-Ohio State game scheduled for Gainesville as part of ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon is actually part of one of those new five-team round-robin exempt events. UNC Wilmington, North Carolina A&T, and Morehead State will travel to Columbus and Gainesville for the tournament, playing each other as well.
Creighton and Iowa State will headline another one of these events, with the two meeting in Des Moines, presumably for the title. Northern Arizona, Alabama State, and Kennesaw State are the other teams involved. (Remember that LSU and Memphis will also feature in one of these events, with the two schools meeting in Tupelo.)
However, the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, which last year was played in the non-conventional round-robin format, just with two five-team tournaments culminating in St. Louis, returns to Springfield, Mass. as an eight-team event. The reconfigured event will work like the Chicago and two Las Vegas events, with two four-team brackets. Bradley, UMass, New Mexico State, and USC will make up the marquee bracket, while Rider and three others will play in the second bracket.
Penn will face Navy at the Meadowlands before the big Butler-Duke rematch on December 4.
Schedules that have trickled in over the past few weeks...
Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle wrote a comprehensive piece about building a college basketball schedule, focusing on the issues faced by Missouri Valley schools. There's also an insightful blog post about how the piece came about. The two combine to explain the primary issues mid-majors face in building a slate that can earn them at-large consideration.
The White and Blue Review, a Creighton fan forum, has a great rundown of all of the MVC schedules as they currently stand. This is important because the conference will use RPI to break any ties in the conference standings when determining seedings for Arch Madness.
In one other piece of conference tournament news, the WAC will adopt the double-bye system currently used by the WCC and Horizon League, thanks to the suggestion of new Boise State head coach Leon Rice, a former Gonzaga assistant. The top two seeds will get a bye to Friday's semifinals at this season's tournament, which will be played in Las Vegas for the first time since the MWC/WAC split. (H/T to Diamond Leung at ESPN)
If you have any schedule news to share, please post it here (or as a Fanshot or Fanpost) or e-mail me at bloggingthebracket at gmail dot com. Links are always appreciated.