‘Astute’ student explains why you should attend men’s basketball season opener

Opening night is finally here- the #7 men’s basketball team is slated to open its 2011-2012 campaign tonight (Friday) at 8pm against Plattsburgh State in the Palestra.

Since the men lost in the Sweet 16 to Middlebury last year, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this night and I couldn’t be more excited.

And here is another “since”: Since the Yellow Jackets’ first scrimmage two weekends ago against SUNY Oswego, I’ve been trampled with homework and exams (click here for a recap of the SUNY Oswego game).

So, in honor of the constant, never-ending amount of school work us students here at UR receive (I know I am not the only one loaded with assignments), here are five reasons why you should attend tonight’s game- in outline format.

1. It’s opening night BABY!
  • There is no night like opening night. It sounds cliché, but clichés are cliché because in many instances, they are true.
  • Nothing holds more promise for prospective greatness than an opening night. For at least one night, any single team has a legitimate shot to be champion. No team has a blemish to its record. No team has serious morale issues. Optimism is high. Anyone has a shot to win it all.
  • The 2011-2012 ‘Jackets fit this description, and for at least one night, in the eyes of UR fans alike, the ‘Jackets not only       have a chance to win the Division III NCAA National Championship: they will.
2. UR has one of its highest preseason rankings in school history.
  • I’ll be honest- I never actually checked to confirm whether or not this is one of the highest preseason ranked teams in UR history.
  • But the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter since:
  • UR is the #7 team in the land according to D3Hoops.com. You can’t be ranked much higher than that.
  • How many times in your lifetime will you get the chance to watch a nationally ranked basketball team play?
  • For most people, the answer to this question is few. The typical UR student has his/her priorities in order. Attending basketball games comes after school work and other responsibilities. Take advantage of this chance, before final exam week is here.
  • For me, the answer to this question is many: My friends tell me I take this stuff too seriously (especially at a Division III school), but the men’s     basketball team IS my priority. I won’t miss a home game this year.

John DiBartolomeo, Courtesy of UR Sports Information Department

3. Featured in the game is the Johnny D Show.

  • Johnny D = UR’s starting junior point guard and best all-around player, John DiBartolomeo.
  • The Staples, Conn. native, who was recently named a preseason All-American, is truly a spectacle worth   watching. Seeing him play is well-worth the price of admission (oh, wait, the games are free.) But if there was an entrance fee, DiBartolomeo’s skills would cover the admission cost.
  • In 2010-2011, DiBartolomeo followed up his UAA Rookie of the Year freshman season by being named an All-American and UAA Player of the Year as a sophomore. He can do it all on the court: shoot, pass and play defense. Despite his 6-0, 170 lb. frame, DiBartolomeo has impressive hops and a burst of quickness rarely seen at the Division III level.
  • Be on the look out for his midrange floater, his signature shot.
  • His 2010-2011 averages: 17.7 points per game, 5.7 assists per game and 4.6 rebounds per game.
  • The scariest part about all of this (for opponents)? He is much improved this year, especially considering he is 100% healthy after missing the entire preseason and the first five games last season due to a hand injury.
4. UR has a player on its roster who was covered by ESPN: senior forward Nate Novosel.

Nate Novosel, Courtesy of UR Sports Information Department

  • If ESPN, arguably the most respected sports reporting outlet in the world, produces a story about you, you know you are something special and worth watching.
  • Novosel had an ESPN article written about him about a week ago- which can be seen by clicking here- and for good reason.
  • Novosel’s twin-sister, Natalie, is the top scorer for the Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team that made it all the way to the Division I National Championship before falling to Texas A&M. As the story points out, Novosel had, and has, a lot to do with Natalie’s prowess on the basketball court.
  • Novosel can ball in his own right. Like DiBartolomeo, he was UAA Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Novosel also dealt with an injury last year, but it looks like he has put that setback behind him.
  • His stat line from 2010-2011: 13.5 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game. He plays a lot bigger than his 6-5, 210 pound frame indicates.
5. What else do you have to do?
  • The cost of admission is FREE.
  • I’m enrolled in Economics 108 this semester. Here’s a lesson I learned: You will incur more of a cost- of your precious time- by waiting outside to be allowed inside UR’s lovely fraternity houses than you will have to pay in money to go to the game.
  • Highly doubt there is really anything else much better going on around UR’s campus at 8pm on a Friday     night.

(*Side note: for anyone who can’t attend, I’ll be broadcasting the game live for WRUR, UR’s student radio station. The broadcast can be heard online at www.thesting.wrur.org.)

Mulberg covers UR men’s basketball for Campus Times’ official basketball blog, The Jackets’ Nest. Follow him on twitter at @nmulb.

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