World Vision Classic
Tonight vs. Portland at 8 p.m.
Saturday vs. Liberty at 5:30 p.m.
Sunday vs. San Diego State at 4 p.m.
The Fresno State menâ€™s basketball team tips off its regular season starting tonight at the Save Mart Center in the World Vision Classic against Portland at 8 p.m.
The Bulldogs are coming off exhibition victories over Western Washington (D-II) and Fresno Pacific (NAIA) earlier in the week.
The Bulldogs trailed to Western Washington by nine at the half, and then outscored the Mustangs 61-22 after the break for the 97-67 victory.
Against the Sunbirds, Fresno State made 11 3-pointers in the first half and 18 total, racing to a 87-68 win.
Starting with tonightâ€™s season opener, Fresno State will play three games in three days, a test of stamina and bench depth.
Last season, Fresno State started the season 7-0, on the way to a 22-10 season that earned a National Invitational Tournament bid.
The Bulldogs will have to get past the loss of its two leading scorers from last year, Quinton Hosley (13.9 ppg), who graduated and Dominic McGuire (13.5 ppg), who left early for the NBA.
For the Bulldogs to be successful, they will have to play with emotion, unlike in the first half against Western Washington.
If Fresno State gets on fire from behind the 3-point line, watch out. There could be the potential of blowout victories.
Visiting the Save Mart Center for the World Vision Classic are Portland, Liberty and San Diego State.
The Aztecs had the best 2006-07 season, going 22-11, but were outed in the second round of the NIT by Syracuse.
Fresno State plays San Diego State on Sunday, but the Aztecs are without their leading scorer from last season, Brandon Heath, who graduated as the Mountain West Conferenceâ€™s all-time leading scorer.
In the season opener, the Bulldogs will take on Portland. The Pilots finished last season, 9-23. In its two exhibition games, Portland lost to Western Oregon, 66-64 and then defeated Concordia, 96-67.
As for Liberty, the Flames went 14-17 in 2006-07 and are picked to finish sixth in the Big South Conference this season in a poll voted on by coaches, public information officers and media.
In their exhibition game on Monday, the Flames barely knocked off Barton, the defending D-II national champions, 77-75 with point guard TeeJay Bannisterâ€™s layup with less than five seconds left in the game.
Bannister transferred to Liberty from Virginia from the Atlantic Coast Conference, having played 76 games for the Cavaliers, but had to sit out last season because of transfer rules.
Out of the three teams, the Flames could give the Bulldogs the most fits having key returning players.