Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014-15 ESPN Men's College Basketball Schedule & Notes

ESPN, through four channels, has a massive amount of college basketball.  There's no way around it.

For ESPN, there aren't many changes here from last year.  Mondays are Big Monday with the ACC & Big 12.  Tuesdays are Super Tuesday with the SEC & ACC.  Thursdays are flexible doubleheaders, coupled with ESPN2 for the SEC, Big Ten, American and Pac-12, with an occasional WCC option.  Saturdays are the typically tripleheaders or quadrupleheaders, with a 7pm or 9pm game thrown in as in the past this was the College Gameday game.

College Gameday appears to be going towards a more flexible rotation.  Says they will be going to the best game on a given Saturday, with a one hour pregame leading into the game on site.  To me, that means one of two things.

1) None of the Saturday tip times are set in stone.  Not a single one, even though nearly all of the Saturday games have tip times through February 21st.
2) ESPN has targeted some games for College Gameday.  I wrote about that here.  

ESPN MediaZone's schedule for January seems to indicate option #2.  Certain games have been targeted and the pregame show leading into the College Gameday game is at a specific time.  Schedules can change though.

ESPN2 has around 80 or so more games than ESPN.  ESPN2 has a Wednesday doubleheader involving a Pac-12 game.  What appears to be new for this year is a (fairly) regular Friday night game on ESPN2 starting on January 23rd:

1/23: VCU at Saint Louis
2/6: George Washington at Dayton
2/13: Horizon League Game
2/20: Cleveland St. at Green Bay
2/27: MAAC Wildcard
3/6: MAC Wildcard & Texas Tech at Baylor

ESPNU has the most college basketball of any traditional TV network.  300+ games.  Key items I noticed:

* The MAC will have a handful of Friday night games, alongside the MAAC and/or Horizon League.
* Most Sundays starting in January will feature tripleheaders with the MVC, ACC and Pac-12.

ESPNEWS will carry a little over 50 combined games with the majority of the games coming from the American and the Big 12.

With the Big 12 ending their syndication package in favor of national cable coverage with ESPN, the conference will see more games on ESPNU and ESPNEWS.  Because of that, you'll see games from their conference tournament ESPNU, in addition to ESPN & ESPN2 coverage.  The American will have a couple games from their conference tournament on ESPNEWS too.

There are 30+ games that have not yet been slotted for a specific network.  They'll either be slotted as part of the flexibility for College Gameday or closer to the date of the game based on network programming.

There is also ESPN3, which is going to have a ton of games.  Far too many for me to compile a list of as schools are now producing their own games to air on ESPN3 in addition to conference TV deals.  The SEC Network will also have 100+ televised games, which I'll tack on in a separate post that discusses the conference television networks.

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