Today's blog was written by a loyal member of our student fan group, Hoya Blue. Enjoy!
This coming basketball season looks to be an exciting one for the Hoyas. The men enter the season ranked 21st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, and the women sport an even higher initial ranking in that same poll: lucky number 13.
The BIG EAST is packed with talent this year, with three men's teams besides the Hoyas (Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse) in the top 25, along with four other women's teams, led by No. 1 Connecticut. As always, the season promises to be filled with both exciting home games in the Verizon Center and McDonough Arena, as well as nail-bitting away games at the XL Center (UConn) and the Carrier Dome (Syracuse), among others.
This season, the women kick off the basketball season in Washingon, D.C. with three-straight home games before their trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam: the opener on November 13th vs. Augusta State, a game against Maryland on November 16th, and a final game on November 19th vs. La Salle. Of these three games, the Maryland game on Tuesday night is being pushed as the big event of what will still be a very young season. The Athletic Department is organizing a GRAY OUT for this game, handing out free gray tee-shirts to the first 1,500 fans in attendance. We want to use this game to start a stronger tradition of attendance, excitement and spirit in McDonough. Hopefully, we will be able to pack the house with Hoya fans before the Maryland fans even arrive!
The men's basketball team only has one game this year in the friendly confines of Verizon Center before Thanksgiving break. Last year, the Hoyas beat Tulane, 74-58, a score that they hope to match or improve on, November 15th. The team looks promising this year, despite the loss of Greg Monroe, with the return of notable starters Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Julian Vuaghn. The Monday night game should be an awesome way to start the season, and the length between it and the next post-Thanksgiving home game should increase student attendance, as everyone looks to get a sneak peek at the team before they head out on the road again.
If the Hoyas can replicate their strong start of a year ago, it will put them in a great position when BIG EAST play begins on December 29th at Notre Dame. Perhaps the game that most students will look forward to this year, however, is the Senior Day game vs. Syracuse on February 26th. Hopefully, this game will have significant implications for the top of the BIG EAST standings entering the tournament in early March.
As a student, I can definitely say that I am anxious for the season to start for both the men and the women, and to see if the Hoyas can fulfill pre-season expectations on the court. There stands no reason why both teams can't build momentum and rise steadily in this polls this year, events that would certainly raise enthusiasm on campus during the winter.
We are all eager to see what the men and women can do, and what the results of a long off-season of work, after both teams made trips to last year's NCAA tournament, will be. To get the season started right, it is crucial that we show both teams our support in their opening games, and PACK THE HOUSE IN GRAY.