November Madness: NCAA Matchups and Hot Spots to Watch the Games
The start of the NCAA Men’s Basketball season is just around the corner and I am shaking with anticipation. Aside from pro football, college basketball is my favorite sport to watch, and this season is sure to pack all of the same surprises and entertainment as past seasons. The polls are out so check out where your team stands, my Missouri Tigers round out the Top 25 on both the ESPN/USA Today and AP polls. I hope you are all strapped in for the five month roller coaster ride on which we are about to embark, it is the only thing that gets me through our brutal winters. The road to March Madness starts in November. Here are some early season games you won’t want to miss along with some great places to eat and drink while you watch. Go Tigers!
Friday, November 10th
(1) North Carolina Tar Heels Vs. Michigan State Spartans ESPN @ 7pm (ET)
The Tar Heels are put to the test early against a young Michigan St. team led by Tom Izzo. The Spartans didn’t break the Top 25, but you can bet they will crack it at some point this season. Coach Izzo’s teams are always some of the toughest around. O’Malley’s West, The Tin Lizzie, The Stretch, Plan B, McFadden’s, John Barleycorn (Lincoln Park), Mad River and Mullen’s On Clark are a few places to catch a congregation of Spartan fans on game day.
If you are a Tar Heels fan you don’t have many choices to find some blue unless you gather your own base. The boys at Gamekeepers show you some love though so be sure to stop in and thank them.
Tuesday, November 15th
Oh happy day! Not one, not two, but three great match-ups to satisfy our needs.
(13) Kansas Jayhawks Vs. (2) Kentucky Wildcats ESPN @ 9 pm (ET)
Jayhawks rejoice, you have the opportunity to knock off one of the most feared teams in the nation, but something tells me Kansas fans don’t fear Kentucky at all. If you are a Kansas fan head over to Crossing, Lottie’s, Kincade’s, or Toons (You may have a Paul Correct sighting).
If you are a Wildcat you will be in good company at The Pony, sister bar of Lottie’s. Kentucky fans gather here to cheer on their team and they gather in numbers.
(10) Florida Gators Vs. (3) Ohio State Buckeyes ESPN 2 @ 8:00 pm (ET)
Here we have a top 10 showdown that brings together two teams that played against each other for a national championship in football and basketball in 2007. Florida won both games so you can bet there is bad blood between these two NCAA powerhouses. This time around it looks like Ohio State has a slight edge.
Florida fans you may have expected me to say there isn’t a ton of places to accommodate swamp dwellers, but you do have some choices. Sully’s House is happy to welcome the Windy City Gator Club and all other Gator fans to watch. If it is too packed to grab a good spot head right down the street to Joe’s On Weed St, there is more than enough room for you and your friends.
All you Buckeyes can find your fellow fans at O’Donovan’s, McGee’s, Vaughn’s Pub , Mickey’s, and Gaslight Bar & Grill on game day. There is a lot expected of this years team which was favored to win the tournament last year but came up short.
(6) Duke Blue Devils Vs. Michigan State Spartans ESPN @ 7:00 pm (ET)
Tom Izzo’s squad is put to the test two times in as many weeks. See if they can knock off their 2nd ACC opponent of the year. You know where to watch.
Duke fans head over to Sedgwick’s Bar & Grill to watch the Blue Devils take on their opponents and prove they are superior to North Carolina in the ACC.
Tuesday, November 29th
(6) Duke Blue Devils Vs. (3) Ohio State Buckeyes ESPN @ 9:30 pm (ET)
Another huge ACC/Big Ten match up, by this time the rankings won’t look anything like the list provided at the beginning of this post, but isn’t that what makes this so much fun?
Wednesday, November 30th
(14) Wisconsin Badgers Vs. (1) North Carolina Tar Heels ESPN @ 9:30 pm (ET)
It’s too bad that the Badgers have to travel to North Carolina to take on the Tar Heels, if the situation was reversed there may have been more hope of winning this game. Wisconsin rarely loses at home in anything, they even win the coin flips. Will’s Northwoods, Redmond’s, Lottie’s, Cedar Hotel, and Kroll’s all harbor Badger fans who come out in large numbers.
That seems to be most of the excitement for the first month at least, with plenty more guaranteed to come. Hope to see you all out there and be sure to try and attend a game or two. Gold Coast Tickets can help you out with tickets to games all over the nation.
My fellow Missouri fans – our headquarters are The Spread and Kelsey’s both located in Lincoln Park. See you all out there.