Everything You Wanted To Know About ESPN's 2008-2009 College Basketball Season

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So we've already commented on ESPN's crazy 24-hour night to kickoff the College Basketball season on November 18th, but I wanted to highlight some of the other highlights from the entire set of approximately 1,100(!) games they'll be covering. Obviously a majority of those will be on ESPNU and ESPN360, channels which no one seems to have, but there's still a ton of great matchups through out the year on ESPN and ESPN2.

The network recently issued a three-page press release on the season and here's what I've pulled out that's either new or interesting. It goes without saying that ESPN's College Sports programming is unprecedented and just like College Football, College Basketball coverage is one of the better things the network puts out there. I haven't put the "after the jump" feature back on the site, so I apologize for the length, but it's definitely a good read. Have at it....

Notes on New Coverage:

- The new College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon celebrating the beginning of the season with 23 consecutive hours of live college basketball themed programming. Coverage will be highlighted by eight games on ESPN including at midnight ET, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and conclude with Kentucky at North Carolina at 9 p.m.
- An expanded Thursday Night Showcase Presented by T. Rowe Price schedule during conference play – generally featuring five games across ESPN and ESPN2 -- with the addition of an 11 p.m. West Coast Conference or Western Athletic Conference game. ESPNU will generally televise two to three games every Thursday.
- A new Saturday night time slot for the Big 12 Conference Championship (March 14 at 6 p.m. on ESPN) and the addition of SEC semifinal games (outside of SEC territory) and three WAC contests

Returning Features:

ESPNU Campus Connection Week, formerly known as Student Spirit Week; Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s; Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers; Rivalry Week Presented by Cisco; ESPNU BracketBusters; Judgment Week and Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Tournaments and Notes:

2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer – ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 10-21
ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise 10 games of the annual event featuring 16 teams and the championship at Madison Square Garden in New York. Participating teams include Duke, UCLA and Michigan.

O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 14-25
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise 10 games of the event featuring a new format of 12 teams competing at four regional sites with the regional hosts (Kansas, Florida, Syracuse and Washington) automatically advancing to the Championship Rounds in Kansas City. The remaining teams will advance to play a round-robin series at one of two other sites.

Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off – ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 17-28
The networks will combine to present 12 telecasts of the early-season tournament, including the semifinals and championship from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Participating teams include Purdue, Arizona, Boston College, Davidson and Oklahoma.

O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off – ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 20-23
Networks will televise all 12 games of the second annual event from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Participating teams include Memphis, Xavier, USC, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Missouri, Fairfield and Chattanooga.

EA SPORTS Maui Invitational – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 24-26
For the fourth straight year every game of the event will be televised. Host Chaminade will be joined by North Carolina, Texas, Notre Dame, Indiana, Oregon, Alabama and St. Joseph’s.

76 Classic– ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 27-30
All 12 games of the second annual event from Anaheim, Calif. will be televised. Participating teams include Wake Forest, Baylor, Providence, Arizona State and St. Mary’s (Calif.), Cal State-Fullerton, UTEP and Charlotte.

Old Spice Classic – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Nov. 27-30
Networks will televise all 12 games of the third annual event from Orlando, Fla. Participating teams include Gonzaga, Tennessee, Georgetown, Michigan State, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Siena and Wichita State.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Dec. 1-3
This marks the seventh consecutive year every game of the event will be televised on ESPN between the two conferences playing for the Commissioner’s Cup.

Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series – ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN360.com, Dec. 4-7
ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise five matchups of the annual event between two of the top conferences.

Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic – ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 9
The 14th annual Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic will showcase four elite programs in an ESPN doubleheader December 9. For the fifth consecutive year, New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden will host the two-game, college basketball showcase: Davidson vs. West Virginia at 7 p.m. followed by Texas vs. Villanova at 9 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

SEC/BIG EAST Invitational – ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 16-18
ESPN and ESPN2 will televise all four matchups of the second annual event between the two premier conferences from two neutral sites (Nashville and Cincinnati).

Weekly Schedule:

Big Monday: A weekly ESPN doubleheader featuring the BIG EAST and Big 12 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively.
Super Tuesday Presented by KFC: Big Ten, SEC doubleheader on ESPN as well as a weekly ESPN2 primetime matchup featuring various conferences.
Wednesday Night Hoops: A weekly Big 12 game on ESPN2 as well as weekly conference games featuring additional conferences such as the ACC and BIG EAST.
Thursday Night Showcase: An expanded Thursday night schedule with an additional 11 p.m. ESPN2 window featuring a WCC or WAC game in addition to a BIG EAST and Big Ten matchup every week on ESPN or ESPN2 as well as action from the ACC, Atlantic 10, Pac-10 and SEC.
Saturdays: Afternoon and evening games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU from top conferences including ACC, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Conference USA. Saturday Primetime, a 9 p.m. game-of-the-week on ESPN, will begin January 17 with Miami at North Carolina.

College Gameday Schedule:

Miami at North Carolina (January 17th)
Connecticut at Notre Dame (January 24th)
Florida at Tennessee (January 31st
Memphis at Gonzaga (February 7th)
Ohio State at Wisconsin (February 14th)
Oklahoma at Texas (February 21st)
UCLA at California (February 28th)
Louisville at West Virginia (March 7th)

List of Better "Out of Conference" Matchups:

Massachusetts at Memphis (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Nov. 18 at midnight)
Kentucky at North Carolina (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Nov. 18 at 9 p.m.)
Indiana vs. Notre Dame (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Nov. 24 at 5 p.m.)
Syracuse vs. Florida (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m.)
Maryland vs. Michigan State (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.)
North Carolina vs. Michigan State (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 3 at 9:15 p.m.)
USC at Oklahoma (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.)
UCLA at Texas (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 4 at 9 p.m.)
Ohio State vs. Notre Dame (ESPNU, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.)
Miami at Kentucky (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m.)
Wisconsin at Marquette (ESPNU, Dec. 6 at 9:30 p.m.)
Davidson vs. West Virginia (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.)
Texas vs. Villanova (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 9 at 9 p.m.)
Tennessee at Temple (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 13 at noon)
Utah at Oklahoma (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m.)
Marquette vs. Tennessee (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 16 at 9:30 p.m.)
Temple at Kansas (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m.)
Syracuse at Memphis (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.)
Butler at Xavier (ESPNU, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.)
Texas at Wisconsin (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 23 at 9:30 p.m.)
North Carolina at Nevada (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Dec. 31 at 10 p.m.)
Tennessee at Kansas (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Jan. 3 at 2 p.m.)
Davidson at Duke (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.)
Gonzaga at Tennessee (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m.)
Xavier at LSU (ESPN2 and ESPN360.com, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.)
Memphis at Gonzaga (ESPN and ESPN360.com, Feb. 7 at 9 p.m.)

So there you have it. A ton of great stuff this year, and I'll have more on the announcers and schedules as they're released.


Thanks for the summary - just makes me even more eager for the season to begin. Still trying to figure out how Philadelphia doesn't have ESPNU on Comcast...but then again...we waited "patiently" for the Big Ten Network so who knows...maybe it will show up someday. That being said, there's so many games on the "family" of networks as well as everywhere else it is impossible to watch it all...but I'll try.

Sportsattitude said...
Oct 22, 2008, 11:31:00 AM  

That was some good info. ESPN360 isn't really a channel though.

GMoney said...
Oct 22, 2008, 11:39:00 AM  

ESPN360 is better then not being able to see the game at all.

Anonymous said...
Oct 22, 2008, 12:01:00 PM  

End of an era with no west coast game to finish off the Big Monday tripleheader anymore...just the Big East and Big XII games now...

Anonymous said...
Oct 22, 2008, 12:29:00 PM  

@Anon 12:29: Looks like it was just moves to Thursday @11pm. As long as they keep Stephen Bardo.

Oct 22, 2008, 12:56:00 PM  

Anybody have the link to the full release?

Unknown said...
Oct 22, 2008, 1:01:00 PM  

espn360 is better than ESPNU. At least you have a chance to get ESPN360. For a Comcast subscriber like myself, ESPNU isn't even an option. Still not sure why since Cox cable (in Connecticut) has ESPNU and it's on some sports tier. Not like the Big Ten network trying to get on basic cable.

Anonymous said...
Oct 22, 2008, 1:08:00 PM  

College basketball, a high-profile collegiate sport that's settled the right way, on the cour of competition. Then again, to quote Mychal Cooper, (the Lakers' radio analyst) you can't really call college football a "sport," so sorry Mychal. Anyway, war Jimmy Dykes. He's the coolest analyst anywhere!

Brad James said...
Oct 22, 2008, 1:31:00 PM  

More CBB news for you guys and gals: USA Today is reporting that Greg Anthony (formerly of ESPN) will fill the old role of Clark Kellog starting this season.

Anonymous said...
Oct 22, 2008, 1:42:00 PM  

I believe the full release is here:


Anonymous said...
Oct 22, 2008, 7:47:00 PM  

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