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The college basketball difference: The ball can change from game to game

The college basketball difference: The ball can change from game to game

When UCLA tips off against California on Thursday, the referee will toss into the air an orangish inflated sphere with eight panels.

Most everything else about the game ball is up to the Bears. It can be leather. Or not. It can be 29 1/2 inches, or 30. If he wants to, California Coach Cuonzo Martin can stitch the game ball himself.

College basketball allows a quirk unseen in most other major sports. The NCAA sets basic parameters for a basketball, but the home team is free to choose whatever ball it desires. The balls often differ significantly game to game.

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