Andrew Wiggins makes the cover of Sports Illustrated … in October? (PHOTO)

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One of the major knocks on college basketball as a sports is that the schedule says that it runs from November through early April, very few folks across the country actually start paying attention to it until February.

Until after football is over.

Until hoops is the only sport that they can find on their TV at night.

The real ratings don’t come until March, either, when the excitement of Championship Week and our national obsession with the NCAA tournament kicks into full gear. Listen to the critics and the cynics, and you’ll be believing that college basketball is a one month sport pretty quickly.

That’s what makes this week’s Sports Illustrated cover that much more meaningful. Brad Smith, the Director of Photography for SI, tweeted out a picture of the cover yesterday. Here it is:

source:

Yup, that’s a cover story on Andrew Wiggins. In America’s most famous sports magazine. During the month of October, no less, when the baseball playoffs are happening, college football season is six weeks old, and the NFL and its fantasy football machine are kicking into high gear.

It will be a solid month before Wiggins actually suits up in a game.

I’d say there is some hype heading into this season, wouldn’t you?

And how ticked are Kentucky fans that the first SI cover story on college hoops is on the kid they missed out on when they’re toying with the idea of going 40-0?

UPDATE: The cover animation from SI’s iPad app is pretty freakin’ awesome, too: