Friday, August 21, 2015

Men's basketball schedule release notes

*For non-conference games, only Kentucky released their primary national TV non-conference games.  Two home games on ESPN2, the road game at UCLA on ESPN and the Louisville home game on CBS.
* Louisville at Kentucky will lead in to CBS's Sun Bowl broadcast on 12/26.
* The four SEC schools who are not part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge will play conference games against each other on January 30th.
* The SEC Network will carry three to five games on Saturdays during conference play with the exception of the day of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.  Much like football, FSN will no longer sublicense men's basketball games (or any sports) from ESPN.  The SEC Network will be the beneficiary of those games.
* ESPN did not release a separate Super Tuesday schedule for the SEC and Big Ten, which makes sense after the SEC schedule was announced as most Tuesdays will have a flexible option for the SEC half of the doubleheader.  Games are set for a particular time on Tuesday but could air on ESPN, ESPNU and/or SEC Network.
* There are a few ESPN2 Wednesday night games.  Don't remember the SEC having any ESPN or ESPN2 games on Wednesdays in prior seasons.  That was typically the point of the Tuesday & Thursday games.  SEC Network and, previously, syndication packages (FOX, Comcast, Raycom/JP/SEC TV, etc) or the odd ESPN3 exclusive were on Wednesdays.

Big 12
* Similar to the SEC, only a handful of non-conference games were released.  Kansas, who usually releases all TV details when the Big 12 schedule comes out, only released the start time & TV info for the game vs. Oregon St. in Kansas City and that the road game at San Diego St. would be on CBS Sports Network.  The Big 12/SEC Challenge games have not yet been set for TV.
* Six intraconference games were not picked up for airing on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS or sublicensed to CBS.  Three of the games were Texas home games and the school has confirmed they will air on Longhorn Network.  The other three (TCU at Kansas St., Texas Tech at Kansas St. and Baylor at Texas Tech) will likely be distributed by FSN to multiple regional sports networks as they have reverted back to the home school.
* When counting up the Big 12 controlled games currently scheduled for ESPN Networks plus the CBS sublicense, 105 games have been chosen.  This does include the conference tournament and the three intraconference games on Longhorn Network.  Per the Big 12 website, around 115 games can be chosen by ESPN and the CBS sublicense, approximately 106 regular season games plus the nine conference tournament games.  Expect a handful of December games, like SMU at TCU, Vanderbilt at Baylor, Iowa at Iowa St. (which had a date change requested by, presumably, ESPN) and a few others.

* Four American Athletic Conference non-conference home games were set for TV, including a pair of mid-February games: Gonzaga to SMU on Saturday 2/13 and Villanova at Temple on Wednesday 2/17.  ESPN appears to be trying to push rivalries towards the 2/17 date which is when Duke at North Carolina should be played.
* The TV schedules for the final day of the Maui Invitational and the first evening of the Charleston Classic are set.

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