Game #9-010: Charleston Southern at Charlotte 49ersNovember 9, 2012 6:00 pm
Just as the first Tuesday of November holds special meaning as the climax of political campaigning, the second Friday of November each year holds special meaning in Our Game as the start of the season. While the offseason may have been better for certain teams than for others, nothing has been done to affect a team's postseason chances, unless an APR or other violation makes you ineligible. But for teams this season, once November 9 comes you better be ready. While conference play is bigger for most teams, early non-conference games are the standard for comparisons between conferences when it comes time for the selection process in March. For elite mid-major conferences like the Missouri Valley and the Atlantic 10, non-conference play might make the difference between being a one-bid conference and as much as four bids. For lower-tier mid-major conferences like the Big South and the Atlantic Sun, non-conference play might make the difference between a 13 seed and playing for a 16 in Dayton. While many casual fans might still be watching American-style football for the next couple months, this time of year is underrated in college basketball.
A new season also allows us to reflect on the past, and move on from there. My dad's alma mater, Southern Illinois, has fallen on hard times recently as Kyle talked about briefly in his most recent essay
. Their coach Chris Lowery was forced out and had to change places, as often happens in Our Game. Fortunately for Lowery, his connections with another former Saluki coach in Bruce Weber allowed him to get a job an assistant coaching job above the Red Line at Kansas State. Some players have transferred, and are now beginning new careers at a different school. Even with our own 800 Games Project participants things have changed. Most of the active participants from last year are on a Season 9 team, but some have opted out of committing to a team due to life circumstances.