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Season Begins (sort of) with Exhibition!

College basketball season is underway. Real games started last night when St. John's defeated William & Mary with a strong second-half effort in the opening game of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Carnesecca Arena. Exhibition season, however, isn't quite over for the biggest programs, as evidenced by Kentucky's 85-point ultra-blowout of Morehouse College, a tiny all-male HBCU located in Atlanta.

Villanova will get in on the exhibition gravy-train tonight, with a 7 p.m. tip-off against the New York Institute of Technology, a Division II school from Long Island, New York. Villanova has made the exhibition game against a lower-division or NAIA opponent an annual tradition in recent years, holding the game at the Wells Fargo Center.

The NYIT Bears compete in the East Coast Conference in every sport except Baseball, where they compete in Division I, as part of the Great West conference (before you laugh, they aren't a complete outlier, the Great West also features Newark, NJ-based NJIT).

In basketball, the Bears have made one appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship Game, losing losing 80-74 to Virginia Union in 1980. Their most recent NCAA Division II Tournament appearance was in 2004, and their most recent conference championship (regular season, I assume) was in the 2006-07 season.

Information about the NYIT team is pretty scarce. Being based in such a large media market, it seems that their is a dearth of coverage for the school's athletics program. Nonetheless, Newsday provided the following blurb:

Coach Sal Lagano enters his 15th season and has All-ECC G/F Kavyon Roberts (14.0, 5.0) and G Dominic Scurry (9.7. 4.1) poised for big seasons. There's also a host of newcomers in G Jahleel Felix, G Antoine Brown and G Khalif Chaplin. Transfers include G David Naves (Howard University), G Ryan Williams (Alameda CC) and F Alzel Prather (Montgomery CC)

The Bears were picked to finish 6th in the ECC preseason poll. They finished the 2010-11 season with a record of 13-15 overall and were one-game under .500 in league play.

The game will not be televised, but will provide a gametracker and audio stream through Nova Nation All-Access.