The college basketball season has started. So it’s time to get out your . . . calendar.
A dozen teams in the Washington area are playing big-time college basketball: the men’s and women’s teams at American University, George Mason, Georgetown, George Washington, Howard and the University of Maryland.
(John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST) - Anali Okoloji of George Mason secures a rebound at the expense of a Virginia player. The Patriots are expected to compete for the top of the Colonial Athletic Conference.
You can’t go to all their games. So here’s a handy list of games you don’t want to miss. Maybe you can drop a hint in the next week or two that basketball tickets would be a great holiday present.
January 9: Connecticut at Georgetown. The UConn women’s team is always a basketball powerhouse, and this year is no exception. The Huskies are loaded with talent and should have no trouble handling the Hoyas. But Georgetown’s high-scoring guard, Sugar Rodgers, gives her team a shot at an upset.
January 16: Lehigh at American. Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum is one of the best players in men’s college basketball. The 6-foot 3-inch guard averaged almost 22 points a game last year. McCollum scored 30 points while grabbing sixrebounds and handing out six assists when the Mountain Hawks shocked Duke in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA tournament. He should put on a show against the Eagles.
January 26: Louisville at Georgetown. Sports Illustrated rated the Louisville men’s team second in its preseason poll. The Cardinals went to the Final Four last year and have plenty of returning talent. They also have legendary coach Rick Pitino and a suffocating defense. But Georgetown is always tough at home. This game between Big East rivals should be a good one.
January 31: Drexel at George Mason. The Colonial Athletic Conference is super-competitive in men’s basketball. Last year, Drexel won the CAA’s regular-season title and had 29 wins and just seven losses. Still, the Dragons were not invited to the NCAA tournament. George Mason is solid and should be ready to battle Drexel for top of the CAA this season.
February 19: Delaware at George Mason. Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne is the best all-around player in women’s college hoops. The 6-foot-5-inch forward averaged more than 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Hens last season. This game against George Mason will be a chance to see the senior superstar before she takes her game to the WNBA.
February 24: Duke at Maryland. Maryland’s recent announcement that the Terps will leave the Atlantic Coast Conference and join the Big Ten in 2014 may bring the end of some great rivalries. In the past few years, the Duke and Maryland women’s basketball teams have played some must-see thrillers. Both teams have Top 10 talent again this season. So don’t miss this one.
Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author 18 kids books that combine sports fiction and sports history. His latest basketball book is “Real Hoops.”