Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

ESPN Hits The Jackpot With Hoops Marathon

Posted by Zach on September 24, 2008

No longer will the opening of the college basketball season be hidden in the shadows of competing sporting events, a slew of meaningless games that the general public barely realize are even occuring. Nope, not this year. ESPN has decided to install a radical idea on Tuesday, November 18 to show 14 games in 24 hours starting after Monday Night Football on ESPN heading straight to Memphis for their tilt against Massachusetts. Sure, some games will take place before 11/18, but this is certainly a welcomed event, even if it is on a Tuesday rather than a prefered Saturday or Sunday.

Here’s the schedule:

• Midnight: UMass at Memphis (ESPN)
• 2 a.m.: Fresno St. at St. Mary’s (ESPN)
• 4 a.m.: Idaho St. at Hawaii (ESPN)
• 6 a.m.: College Hoops Tip-Off Special (ESPN)
• 10 a.m.: Penn at Drexel (ESPN)
• Noon: Liberty at UNC-Asheville (ESPN)
• 2 p.m.: Iowa at Kansas (women) (ESPN)
• 4 p.m.: Centenary at Baylor (ESPN)
• 6 p.m.: Richmond at Syracuse (ESPN)
• 7 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Purdue (ESPNU)- Most likely Purdue vs. Georgia
• 7:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Boston College (ESPN2)- Most likely BC vs. Saint John’s
• 8 p.m.: College GameDay-Chapel Hill (ESPN)
• 9 p.m.: Kentucky at North Carolina (ESPN)
• 9 p.m.: Florida Gulf Coast at Kansas (ESPNU)
• 9:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Oklahoma (ESPN2)- Most likely Oklahoma vs. Davidson
• 11:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Arizona (ESPN2)- Most likely Arizona vs. UAB

Crazy, right?

Both the Saint Mary’s and Hawaii games will tip-off at 11 PM local time to cater to this extravaganza. There are more than a few intriguing games on the slate for this special day. The premiere event is UNC-Kentucky, but that will most likely be a blowout. While I like Kentucky to improve throughout the season as Patrick Patterson re-gains strength and their point guard situation resolves, North Carolina has way too much firepower, especially in Chapel Hill. College Gameday will be there for a rare November edition.

Also on the slate are four very respectable preseason NIT games, assuming all goes to plan (any Gardner Webb’s in the house?) Purdue shouldn’t have too much problem with Georgia, but it’s still a matchup between two BCS conference teams in mid-November. If BC and SJU can avoid upset stings to Loyola (MD) and Cornell, respectively, this game would showcase Tyrese Rice to a national audience for the first time this season. The two best are the late editions. Can the Oklahoma guards like Crocker, Warren and Johnson handle Curry? Who will guard Blake Griffin? Also, the finale could turn into a shootout between Chase Budinger and Robert Vaden. I’ll be staying up for those two.

Watch out for Richmond against Syracuse, at least for a scare. You know how the Orange get with non-conference, competitive mid-major teams in November. Richmond fits the bill. This will also be the first glimpse at how Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins emerge from devestating injuries and if the flashy Johnny Flynn can continue to improve at point guard. The first game will also answer some questions: How will the Memphis additions (Evans being the most touted) flow with mainstays Dozier, Anderson and Taggart? How will Memphis handle the up-tempo play of UMass, an always dangerous team.

Don’t forget about the other Curry brother’s debut for Liberty and the first look at Saint Mary’s, a top mid-major in the nation this season.

This idea for a true tip-off marathon by ESPN is a tremendous one. While the ratings may not be sky-high due to the Tuesday slot, I’m hoping it continues down the road as a tradition.

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