Thanks to Illinois and West Virginia putting together an exhibition scrimmage at Aviano Air Base in Italy during their preseason tours, we have our first glimpse of what college basketball in 2011-12 will look like.
This wasn't a pick-up game or a Pro-Am showcase. It was two college teams going at it for 20 minutes in five-on-five action with refs, and you can watch some highlights here of Illinois winning 47-26 before an estimated crowd of 500.
But mainly, the two teams got to entertain the troops, and afterward Illinois coach Bruce Weber called it a rewarding experience.
"They're going to battle and they're thanking me for coming to entertain them, to have a fun night of basketball that they don't get to see," Weber said. "It was very inspirational."
The two teams got to scrimmage the airmen as well, and one of them might have actually stolen the show during a dunk contest, according to Stars and Stripes.
A team made up of Aviano airmen and dependents served as a warm-up act for both teams by playing them for 10-minute contests. West Virginia won, 25-7, and Illinois came out on top, 26-12.
Players from the two collegiate teams and from Aviano then engaged in a dunk contest. Illinois’ Joseph Bertrand and 7-foot-1 center Meyers Leonard advanced to the finals along with Aviano’s Douglas Henderson. Henderson was mobbed by his teammates as well as a few collegians after finishing a dunk in the preliminary round that included him throwing the ball off the wall behind the basket.