A total of 46 teams from around India - 25 in the Men's and 21 in the women's section - have descended upon the city of Ludhiana in Punjab for India's biggest annual basketball event, the 63rd National Basketball Championship for Men & Women. The tournament, which will be pitting the finest basketball players that India has to offer, will be tipping off on Friday, December 28, 2012, and will conclude with the Finals on January 4, 2013.
Here is the complete list of participating teams in their groups, via the BFI.
- Level 1, Group A: Punjab, Services, Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka.
- Level 1, Group B: Tamil Nadu, Indian Railways, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh.
- Level 2, Group C: Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh.
- Level 2, Group D: Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal.
- Level 2, Group E: Odhisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan.
- Level 2, Group F: Maharashtra, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry.
- Level 1, Group A: Indian Railways, Delhi, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab.
- Level 1, Group B: Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh.
- Level 2, Group C: Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat.
- Level 2, Group D: Rajasthan, Bihar, Haryana, West Bengal.
- Level 2, Group E: Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand.
Last year's champions in Chennai, Punjab (Men) and Indian Railways (Women) will be looking to defend their titles this year. Punjab come into the tournament not only as reigning champions but also as hosts, but they can expect a stiff challenge from the likes of Tamil Nadu, Indian Railways, and Services in the Men's division. Indian Railways (Women) have been dominating this tournament and have won it for the past nine consecutive years. They will be looking to make it 10 in a row this time around, although teams from Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi might also look to upset the powerhouses.
In addition to the tournament, a 'Train the Trainer' coaching clinic is scheduled to be held at the venue on January 1-2 under the direction of India's new national team coach Scott Flemming and India's Strength & Conditioning Coach Zak Penwell. Penwell's book on Strength & Conditioning for the Indian basketball player will also be officially released at this event both in English and in Hindi.
On January 4, Coach Flemming will host an open tryout for any interested youth players to try and have a shot at India's U16 teams for both boys and girls.
The next week is definitely going to oversee the most significant domestic events in Indian basketball, so all hoops fans in the country are encouraged to attend and follow the action. You can follow results of the games daily here on the BFI website.