Chicago State and Utah Valley tip off play of the Great West Conference tonight. It is the inaugural season for the conference made of fledgling or struggling Division I programs. Last season the Cougars and Wolverines played some amazing games.
Great West play begins tonight
The game in Chicago was a 123-121 four overtime game last season. The return game was a taught 77-72 game Orem, Utah. Tonight they tip-off the season against each other in what should be an exciting affair.
It is the proper beginning for teams that have been circulating the country playing guarantee games and earning money to subsidize their basketball programs. Now they finally get to play teams on the same level and compete for a bid in the College Insider.com Tournament in March.
The conference race is going to be wide open because all of the 8 teams are on the same level. The highest ranked team is South Dakota - after it's failed upset bid last night against Cornell, at 254th, while North Dakota is last and ranked 343rd.
Utah Valley is tied with South Dakota with the best record heading into conference play at 6-8. Although Texas-Pan American with it's 1-16 is obviously more dangerous than the record might indicate as the Broncs gave Northwestern quite the scare on Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The other teams in the Great West Conference are Houston Baptist and NJIT (known more for their losses than their wins).
If you want to learn more about the Great West I'd recommend you check out Storming the Floor's Getting to Know the Great West series. It is excellent.