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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] B.League Begins 7th Season with Expanded First Division

Twenty-four teams will compete in B1 in 2022-23, an increase of two from last season. It’s the most teams in the top flight in league history.

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Player representatives from each of the B.League's 24 first-division teams pose for a commemorative photo with league chairman Shinji Shimada on September 20 in Tokyo. (KYODO)

This article first appeared on SportsLook, JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website.

The B.League launches its seventh season this week.

Opening night, Thursday, September 29, will feature just one game in the first division: Nagoya Diamond Dolphins vs. SeaHorses Mikawa. Tipoff is 7:05 PM.

The 60-game season begins in earnest on Saturday, October 1 with all 24 teams in action.

In between the Dolphins-SeaHorses clash and a busy Saturday slate of games throughout the nation, the NBA’s reigning champion Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards will hold the opener of their two-game exhibition series at Saitama Super Arena on Friday at 7 PM.

The NBA clubs will play again on Sunday, October 2 at 2 PM at the same venue.

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Originally, the B.League had 18 first-division teams during its inaugural season, 2016-17. That number remained until the 2020-21 season, when it was increased to 22. All along there have been a combined 36 teams in B1 and B2, also known as the second division.

Entering the 2022-23 season, the Utsunomiya Brex are the reigning champions, having swept the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the best-of-three B.League Finals in the spring. 

A new coach, Norio Sassa, is now in charge of the Brex. Title-winning bench boss Ryuzo Anzai left Utsunomiya and re-emerged in the offseason as an adviser for the B2 Koshigaya Alphas coaching staff, which is led by former NBA and longtime SeaHorses standout J.R. Sakuragi.

Read the full story on SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

Subscribe to Ed Odeven's weekly sports newsletter.

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