The college hoops godsend returns for another season. And it's even better.
ESPN announced the Nov. 17 schedule for its hoops marathon to open the 2009-10 season. It added a few timeslots, bringing the total to 19 total games – 17 on the men's side and 2 from the women.
And, unlike last season when ESPN used a kickoff show to fill some of the time, it's truly a round-the-clock day. Monmouth and St. Peter's, two New Jersey schools, play each other at 6 a.m. ET. It's followed by Drexel at Niagara at 8 a.m. That's some dedication.
The network has broadcast about 8,200 college hoops games, but it's never had any in those time slots. I bet. Getting up at 6 a.m. is hard enough, let alone playing hoops. Or not.
Mary Ann Chastain/AP
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ESPN programmer Nick Dawson told USA Today that "There were definitely schools who weren't interested. But to my surprise, lots of people were interested."
Anyway, there's a complete schedule of all the action below. Quite a few games are must-sees, including Michigan State-Gonzaga, Memphis-Kansas, Arkansas-Louisville and Clemson-Liberty (seriously, the Tigers are playing at Liberty at 10 a.m.; sounds like upset material), which is what you'd expect in a field with 14 NCAA tournament teams from 2009.
Andy Katz has a complete breakdown of the games here. He tries to make compelling reasons to watch each game, not an easy task given Northern Colorado plays at Hawaii at 4 a.m. ET. (Hint: That's when even die-hard viewers catch up on the zzzzs.)
For readers who don't want to sift through the bull, try Rush the Court's preview instead. Not quite as much text and it also gives a link to their "coma-inducing live blog" from last year. My favorite section follows:
5:46pm – Fatigue sets in. I can't deny it at this point. I just went outside to get something out of the car and when I came back in, as I realized 20 minutes later, I left the back door wide open. Sure, come on in, everyone. Come on in and kill me.
5:50pm – Energy drink.
5:57pm — Energy drink.
5:59pm — It's over. 90-55, Baylor.
6:01pm — Coffee.
6:07pm – Atrial fibrillation.
That's called taking one for the team. Remember to stock up on Red Bull.
Schedule (all times Eastern)
Midnight -- Cal State Fullerton at UCLA, ESPN/ESPN360.com
2 a.m. -- San Diego State at St. Mary's, ESPN/ESPN360.com
4 a.m. -- Northern Colorado at Hawaii, ESPN/ESPN360.com
6 a.m. -- Monmouth at St. Peter's, ESPN/ESPN360.com
8 a.m. -- Drexel at Niagara, ESPN/ESPN360.com
10 a.m. -- Clemson at Liberty, ESPN/ESPN360.com
Noon -- Northeastern at Siena, ESPN/ESPN360.com
2 p.m. -- Arkansas Little-Rock at Tulsa, ESPN/ESPN360.com
4 p.m. -- Temple at Georgetown, ESPN/ESPN360.com
5:30 p.m. -- O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic: Binghamton at Pittsburgh, ESPN2/ESPN360.com
6 p.m. -- Dick's Sporting Goods NIT: TBD at Duke*, ESPN/ESPN360.com
7 p.m. -- ESPNU Road to the Championship: Tennessee vs. Texas Tech (women's game from San Antonio), ESPNU
7:30 p.m. -- Hall of Fame Showcase: Arkansas vs. Louisville (from St. Louis), ESPN2/ESPN360.com
8 p.m. -- Gonzaga at Michigan State, ESPN/ESPN360.com
8 p.m. -- Northern Illinois at Illinois, ESPN360.com
9 p.m. -- ESPNU O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic: Duquesne at Iowa, ESPNU
9:30 p.m. -- ESPNU Road to the Championship: Connecticut vs. Texas (women's game from San Antonio), ESPN2/ESPN360.com
10 p.m. -- Hall of Fame Showcase: Memphis vs. Kansas (from St. Louis), ESPN/ESPN360.com
11:30 p.m. -- Dick's Sporting Goods NIT: TBD at Arizona State*, ESPN2/ESPN360.com