Two for the show

This 2014 Harvard/MIT game didn't count against MIT's record, but that didn't stop the Engineers from battling their next door neighbors.
AP photo by Michael Dwyer 

Is it time to tip off the 2016-17 season yet?

How about now?

Now?

It’s a long, hard wait from the end of the last season to the first games of the next one on November 15. As part of our preseason preparation, we’re making sure all the men’s and women’s team schedules are posted on our site accurately. In the process we’ve found a handful of interesting exhibition games.

These games won’t count toward the Division III team’s records. That's usually for the best because the Division III teams are major underdogs, if such a thing exists for exhibitions. Some of these games will give our athletes unforgettable opportunities to play in historic venues, others will provide a chance to match up against future NBA stars and others are interesting extensions of coaching relationships.

October 30 - UW-Platteville at Wisconsin: Bo Ryan is no longer the head coach at Wisconsin (or UW-Madison as we like to call them), but there's still a strong connection between these two schools. The Badgers are now coached by Platteville alum Greg Gard whose younger brother Jeff coaches the Pioneers. 

October 30 - Washington U. at Illinois: This is another fun matchup between an elite Division III program and a Big 10 mainstay. It's also a homecoming of sorts for Bears' head coach Mark Edwards, who grew up in Peoria.

Say, maybe we should get a D3hoops/Big 10 Challenge going! We could have their Northwestern play our Northwestern. Their Rutgers could play our Rutgers or our other Rutgers. Duncan Robinson's new team (Michigan) could play his old team (Williams). Penn State could play Penn College at the University of Pennsylvania. Let's make it happen! We'll even split the admissions receipts with those other schools.

October 31 - Baruch vs. St. John's (N.Y.): Every once in a while there's an exhibition score that catches my eye because it's closer than I would've guessed. Last year Baruch played Seton Hall surprisingly close. Baruch plays the Pirates conference mates, who haven't been as good as Seton Hall. If you had to pick one game for a potential upset, this is the one.

November 1– Hope at Indiana: The Flying Dutchmen have one of the biggest venues in Division III but they’ll get to experience an even bigger one when they travel to Assembly Hall to play the Hoosiers. Indiana head coach Tom Crean was an assistant at MIAA rival Alma in the late 1980s. The game is reportedly sold out but will be streamed on the Big Ten Network’s website.

November 2 – Whitworth at Montana: Grizzlies’ coach Travis DeCuire is a Washington native, which might explain the Pirates’ 205-mile trip east to Missoula.  Last season Whitworth kept the game close for a while, and even briefly led early in the second half, before the Grizz pulled away 83-64.

November 3 – MIT at Harvard: These Boston-area neighbors now open the season against each other with a scrimmage, but they've also played each other in games that count.  The Crimson handed the Engineers their first loss of the 2009-2010 season when MIT went on to reach the Division III NCAA tournament. 

November 5 – Kalamazoo at Western Michigan: Fancy meeting you here! Kalamazoo’s new head coach Jay Smith was formerly the head coach at Central Michigan which plays in the same conference as the Western Michigan Broncos. This will be his debut as a head coach at the Division III level.

November 5– Lubbock Christian at Sul Ross State (women): As Sul Ross State’s new head coach, Caleb Henson knows the Lobos have a long way to go to compete for a national title. Sul Ross has just four conference wins combined over the last four seasons. But Henson had a chance to watch the premier Division III teams in person last March. He was an assistant at Division II champion Lubbock Christian, which won its national title in the first game of the Division II/Division III championship doubleheader, right before Thomas More and Tufts battled for the Division III crown. His old team will visit his new one in an exhibition game.

November 7 – Catholic at Notre Dame: It’s a matchup between the Catholic University of America and the most famous catholic university in America. A couple years ago the Cardinals played an exhibition game against Maryland and two years ago they opened the season against Davidson. This time around, someone for Catholic will hopefully get to battle VJ Beachem who is projected in some places as a first round pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

November 7 – McMurry at Abilene Christian (women): Abilene Christian head coach Julie Goodenough won 188 games over nine seasons at McMurry’s crosstown rival Hardin-Simmons, which is also in Abilene. Abilene Christian is in the process of reclassifying from Division II to Division I while McMurry is continuing its transition back to Division III from Division II. 

Bonus mention for Southern Virginia which has the most ambitious travel schedule. The men will play at Idaho State on November 2 and at Utah State on November 4. Knights’ head coach Tony Caputo graduated from Weber State in Utah. The women will play at Utah Valley on November 5 and then at something called Snow College, whose mascot is the Badgers when it should really be the Blowers, Cones or Flakes. About 90 percent of the Southern Virginia students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and several players come from this part of the country, so these trips probably double as recruiting trips.