You would've seen the anticipation building over the past few days. Inter-state events around the country. Each state/unit team lining up for the long road trip. Blessings and wishes on social media. Nerves. Stress. Anticipation. Hope.
Today, the biggest festival of domestic hoops in India - the 69th National Basketball Championship for Men and Women - will tip off in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The 'Senior Nationals', organised by the Gujarat State Basketball Association and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), will feature dozens of the top state and unit teams from January 5-12, 2019 at the city's Sisdar Sports Complex.
- Level 1, Group A: Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat.
- Level 1, Group B: Services, Indian Railways, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Kerala.
- Level 2, Group C: Telangana, Delhi, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram.
- Level 2, Group D: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland.
- Level 2, Group E: Haryana, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Puducherry, West Bengal.
- Level 2, Group F: Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh.
- Level 1, Group A: Indian Railways, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, West Bengal.
- Level 1, Group B: Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana.
- Level 2, Group C: Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, Puducherry, Uttarakhand.
- Level 2, Group D: Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Odisha.
- Level 2, Group E: Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya.
- Level 2, Group F: Rajasthan, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand.
Last year's Senior Nationals were held in Chennai, and the host Men's team - Tamil Nadu - took home the gold medal in a final win over Services. The women's tournament was won by Indian Railways in a blowout over Chhattisgarh. All four of these teams will again be among the favourites for the title at Bhavnagar, as well as Punjab and Indian Railways (Men) and Karnataka and Kerala (Women).