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Basketball starts early this year

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Basketball season is upon us, and it’s arrived earlier than normal in Oklahoma.
Oh, sure, the games start around the same time every year, the NBA tipping off in late October, the colleges in mid-November. But really, no one in our fair state usually pays roundball much attention until early January. That’s when the football season normally winds down. Even though the final regular-season game is in late November, there are oftentimes locals involved in the Big 12 title game or the Heisman Trophy ceremony or the national championship game.
At least, that’s the way it’s gone in recent years.
But not this year.
Oh, sure, bowl games remain for Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. We’ll find out their destinations officially on Sunday night, but it sure looks like the Cowboys are headed to the Cotton Bowl while the Sooners are going to the Sun Bowl. And while those bowls will draw our attention for a couple days leading up to them, then for a day or so afterward, we won’t be immersed in football for the next month or so.
That means we’ve already started turning our attention toward basketball. It was fitting that there were three games involving four in-state teams all played simultaneously Wednesday night inside our borders. The Thunder played Philadelphia at the Ford Center. The OU men played Arkansas at the Lloyd Noble Center. And the OSU men played at Tulsa.
If this one hardcore hardwood night is any indication, we’re in for an interesting season. All four of the in-state teams involved have great potential, but all have flaws, too. Primary among them is inexperience. Some nights, that means we’re going to see fantastic play out of these teams. And some nights, we’re going to wonder what rec league team stole their uniforms.
Will it be frustrating at times? Sure.
But there will never be a dull moment. The unexpected will be the norm, and that will be grand fun.
So, go ahead and welcome this basketball season, Oklahoma. It should be an exciting ride.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›