Though football - namely Ohio State vs Michigan - is still king, the first full week of college hoops action is also on our plate in the days ahead, and this one seems to provide a much more well-balanced slate of games. A number of the "in-season" tournaments like the CBE Classic, NIT Tipoff, 2K Sports Classic, and Paradise Jam will provide some of the week's top matchups, though there are also a number of impressive contests set to take place on non-neutral courts, like Georgetown's trip to Vanderbilt in what could be the best game of the entire week.
CBE CLASSIC - Monday-Wednesday
Texas Tech, Marquette, Stanford, and Duke will host the four regions of this year's CBE Classic. It appears the Cardinal may have the toughest bracket as they welcome in both Air Force and Long Beach State. The winners of each region will advance to Kansas City for next week's championship round.
NIT SEASON TIPOFF - Monday-Wednesday
It's another four region event, with those four brackets hitting the hardwood in Indianapolis, Nashville, Charlotte, and Spokane. Notre Dame and Indiana are set for a day two showdown in their home state if each gets through round one, while Tennessee could face UNC-Wilmington on the second evening if both prevail. North Carolina and Winthrop are the favorites in Charlotte, while the Spokane bracket - featuring Rice, Gonzaga, Colorado State, and Baylor - appears to be the deepest of the bunch from top to bottom.
2K SPORTS CLASSIC - Thursday-Friday
Texas, Michigan State, St. John's, and Maryland got through their opening-week regional brackets and have advanced to New York City for this week's championship round. The Storm and Terps will go head-to-head before the Horns and Spartans meet later on Thursday, setting up what should be an impressive champonship bout on Friday.
PARADISE JAM - Friday-Sunday
Eight college hoops teams will head to the Virgin Islands for this event, which won't crown its champion until next Monday. Alabama, Iowa, Xavier, and Villanova highlight the lineup, though Virginia Commonwealth and College of Charleston won't go down easy either. Toledo and Middle Tennessee round out the field.
Loyola Marymount at Mississippi State - Monday
Both of these teams are somewhat of a mystery at this point, so it should be a good gauge early on.
Northern Arizona at Arizona State - Monday
The Lumberjacks begin a tough week against the in-state rival Sun Devils, hoping for big things under new head coach Herb Sendek.
Western Kentucky at Georgia - Tuesday
Dennis Felton welcomes in his old squad as the Bulldogs look to begin a season they hope returns them to the top half of the SEC.
Wake Forest at Bucknell - Tuesday
The Demon Deacons are looking to put last season out of their minds, but this battle at Bucknell certainly will not be easy.
Air Force at Long Beach State - Tuesday
Both squads have high expectations for the upcoming season, making for a good mid-November matchup on the ocean front.
Colorado at New Mexico - Tuesday
Star Richard Roby will lead the way for Colorado this year, while the Lobos will look for contributions from a couple of huge transfers.
Northern Iowa at Washington - Tuesday
The hopes are high for both heading into the campaign, so this should be a good early gauge on where each stands.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Michigan - Wednesday
The Panthers have had great success in recent years, but they may be more of a mystery this season. And speaking of a mystery, will Michigan finally get over the hump?
Kansas State at Rutgers - Wednesday
New head coach Bob Huggins hopes to make Wildcat basketball competitive in the state of Kansas, while RU is trying to follow the lead of the guys from the gridiron and earn some national recognition.
Oral Roberts at Kansas - Wednesday
ORU is fresh off a nice victory in California over Loyola Marymount, but there's no doubt this test will be much, much tougher.
Georgetown at Vanderbilt - Wednesday
There are big expectations for the Hoyas this year, but heading into Nashville is never an easy task for anyone. This might be the week's best game.
Northern Arizona at Arizona - Wednesday
NAU takes on another in-state foe, and this time it's Lute Olson's Wildcats who hope to have a fresh start and put the past behind them this season.
Nevada at Oregon State - Wednesday
Nevada's unquestioned leader is Nick Fazekas, one of the top players in the country, but can he lead to the Pack to an early-season win on the road in Corvallis?
BYU at UCLA - Wednesday
This one won't be easy for last year's national runner-up, as the Cougars are hoping to be on the positive side of the bubble when March rolls around this year.
Lipscomb at Missouri - Thursday
The Bisons are perhaps the best team in the Atlantic Sun, and they'll certainly challenge new head coach Mike Anderson's Tigers.
South Carolina at Southern Cal - Thursday
It's a battle of the USC's, both looking to take a step up to the next level this season.
Winthrop at Mississippi State - Saturday
Winthrop is again expected to make a run at the NCAA Tournament, but the Bulldogs have their eyes on a possible berth this spring as well.
Wichita State at George Mason - Saturday
You would be hard-pressed to find two better mid-majors from a season ago, so this should be a quality early-season showdown between teams with very high expectations.
Massachusetts at Pittsburgh - Saturday
Expectations are higher than they've been in quite some time for the Minutemen, but the Panthers have their eyes on a Big East title themselves.
California at San Diego State - Saturday
This quality in-state showdown features a PAC-10 team against possibly the best squad in the entire Mountain West Conference.
Creighton at Nebraska - Saturday
Another in-state showdown, this one features high-powered mid-major Creighton and their star Nate Funk. Can the big-conference Huskers knock off the Jays?
Air Force at Colorado - Saturday
Yet another in-state showdown, this will be the Buffs' second tough test of the week. AFA earned a NCAA bid last spring and hopes for similar achivements this year.
New Mexico State at Arizona - Sunday
The Aggies are simply loaded with transfer talent, and those new faces will get their first chance to make some noise when NMSU travels westward to visit the 'Cats.
Lipscomb at South Carolina - Sunday
It's the second big game of the week for both schools, so it will be interesting to see how each reacts after their fates earlier in the week.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Northern Iowa - Sunday
Another matchup of high quality mid-majors, this one could set the tone for both early on in the campaign.