ESPN has announced that it will tipoff the coming college basketball season Nov. 18 with 23 hours of coverage featuring teams from 14 conferences ... none of them named the Pacific-10 Conference.
(Nov. 18 is the day that the Washington Huskies will play their home-opener, hosting Cleveland State in the first round of the College Basketball Experience tournament, which concludes the following week in Kansas City.)
Otherwise, though, it sounds like fun.
Here's the news release:
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ESPN will celebrate the start of the 2008-09 college basketball season with the new College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon featuring 23 consecutive hours of live college basketball game and studio programming Tuesday, Nov. 18. The new creative way to mark the opening of the season will begin at midnight ET with a tripleheader of live games: Massachusetts at Memphis followed by Fresno State at St. Mary's at 2 a.m. and Idaho State at Hawaii at 4 a.m. Coverage will conclude with Kentucky at North Carolina at 9 p.m.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will offer 33 total hours of coverage overall highlighted by 14 game telecasts, including defending national champion Kansas on ESPNU at 9 p.m. ESPN360.com will offer a simulcast of every ESPN and ESPN2 telecast.
ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon highlights include:
· The first of ESPN's nine game telecasts will feature current Memphis coach John Calipari, a participant in last year's NCAA Tournament Championship game, against Massachusetts, where he coached from 1988-96 and led the Minutemen to their only NCAA Final Four appearance.
· ESPN's coverage will conclude at 9 p.m. with a showdown between the two winningest teams in college basketball history when Kentucky visits North Carolina, which returns all five starters -- including National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough – to a team that made it to last year's Final Four.
· College GameDay will originate from Chapel Hill, N.C., site of Kentucky at North Carolina (televised on ESPN at 9 p.m.), for a one-hour show at 8 p.m.
· In addition to games at midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 9 p.m., ESPN will televise five live games consecutively beginning at 10 a.m.
· ESPN's coverage will include a game played in five different United States time zones -- Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific and Hawaiian – and at least 14 different conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, BIG EAST, SEC, ACC, Atlantic 10, Conference USA, WAC, WCC, Big Sky, Ivy, Colonial, Big South and Summit).
·ESPN's 2 p.m. telecast will feature Iowa at Kansas in a women's matchup.
·Coverage will include the College Hoops Tip-Off Special, a live four-hour studio show originating from ESPN's studios in Charlotte, N.C., beginning at 6 a.m.
·In addition to the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 will televise a tripleheader of 2008 NIT Season Tip-Off matchups beginning at 7:30 p.m. ESPNU will offer a doubleheader beginning with a NIT Season Tip-Off game at 7 p.m. followed by a CBE Classic game at 9 p.m. featuring defending National Champion Kansas.
Last season's Pac-10 TV schedule called for 48 games nationally available on FSN, five nationally or regionally on CBS, four regionally on ABC, at least 23 appearances on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, and one on CSTV.
The Pac-10's 2008-09 TV schedule should be released over the next week or two.