Tonight is the real tip-off of college basketball, with a majority of schools (or nearly so, I haven’t counted) beginning their season. As usual, I’ll be trying to document the surprises that slip under the national radar. If my calculations are correct, one of those will be Maarty Leunen of the Oregon Ducks, a team that may take the college hoops world by storm despite getting a combined one vote in the two major pre-season polls. (My track record of predicting Pac 10 hoops is particularly pathetic, however.)

If they do, the praise will go to Aaron Brooks and Malik Hairston, but I’ll be giving attention to Leunen, the 6-9 junior who had 35 boards in 56 exhibition minutes against Lewis & Clark and Southern Oregon. That’s 25.7 rebounds per 40 minutes. You may be questioning the level of competition, but those teams provide a good proxy for the Ducks’ preseason schedule.

Maarty Leunen is what this site is all about. He doesn’t score enough to get national attention, but he’s plenty quirky enough to get my attention. A great defensive rebounder (12th in the country last season), yet a below average offensive rebounder.

The Menace of the Defensive Boards begins his season tonight, starting at power forward for Oregon in a tussle with Lehigh at 7 pm PST. I’ll be watching you, Maarty.