Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Some Men's College Basketball TV Notes for the 2016-17 season

A few men's college basketball scheduling notes that were of interest to me that you might find fascinating as well

* Surprise!  The first matchup between Duke and North Carolina isn't scheduled for a Wednesday.  Instead it is set for Thursday, February 9th.  The last time the first meeting of the season for the two schools wasn't set for a Wednesday was 2006 when they met on Tuesday, February 7th.  NOTE: The first meeting in 2014 ended up being on a Thursday due to a postponement from a Wednesday date.
* Instead of bumping the NBA for Duke-UNC with a solid undercard, the Wednesday with no NBA on ESPN in February will have a very solid ACC doubleheader of Duke at Syracuse followed by Louisville at North Carolina.  Still probably worth your time.
* Wake Forest at Notre Dame was scheduled for ESPNEWS on February 7th, the first time I can recall that the ACC has allowed a men's basketball game to be scheduled for ESPNEWS.
* ESPN Networks will carry just seven Pac-12 intraconference games on Wednesday nights, down from fourteen a season ago.  They'll carry three more intraconference games on Thursday nights with small increases on other nights.  To be fair, the Pac-12 TV partners, to my knowledge, do not have a set number of intraconference or non-conference games that they are required to carry (see FOX Sports note re: Pac-12).
* A nice rivalry doubleheader on February 17th on ESPN2, the Friday of the NBA All Star Break, with Valparaiso at Oakland & Richmond at VCU (the Capital City Classic).  Missing from that Friday right now: a college basketball game on ESPN.  No game is scheduled for the network on that date right now.  Might have NBA All Star Game festivities & programming instead.
* I think there's an opening on ESPNU for the North Carolina at Hawai'i MBK game to be shown at 11:30pm on Friday 11/18 after the last Charleston Classic game that evening.

FOX Sports
* Moving the date of the Big East marathon to the MLK Jr. holiday makes some sense as many schools do observe the holiday.  For some schools it may be the last day before the start of spring semester, so students should be back on campus.  The date is typically a big day for the NBA as well, with NBA TV carrying games in the afternoon and TNT in the evening.  Scheduling around the College Football Playoff, end of NFL season on New Years Day along with shared arenas with NBA and NHL teams isn't easy.  In fact, Marquette's game is in the evening due to a Bucks in the afternoon.
* Speaking of the College Football Playoff, interesting call for a Big East game on January 9th, the date of the championship game.   St. John's at Georgetown is starting at 6:30pm and should be done before the start of the football game.
* FOX Sports, being very judicious with their 22 Pac-12 choices, did not select any non-conference games, though they'll have games from Cal, Arizona and USC as part of the Pearl Harbor & Las Vegas events that they will televise.  Every Pac-12 controlled game will be an intraconference game.
* One of FOX's Pac-12 broadcast network games is on a Sunday this year, with a doubleheader on the Sunday before the Super Bowl of Virginia at Villanova followed by Washington at Arizona.  The other FOX broadcast network game, Colorado at Oregon, was originally listed by the Pac-12 for February 19th and would have followed Daytona 500 pole qualifying.  FOX's schedule release has the corrected date of February 18th, where it would be part of a doubleheader with Villanova at Seton Hall.
* The semifinal evening games of the Las Vegas Classic on December 22nd have had time adjustments that will allow them to air on FS1.  They were originally scheduled for FOX College Sports.  This season is the first time the semifinal games from this event have made it to television since FOX Sports has taken over the operations of the two Las Vegas events.
* The Orange Bowl Classic will be shown nationally on FS2 this season instead of one game being shown on FSN and the other on FS1 with a FOX Sports Florida simulcast.
* Besides C-USA, which has moved its basketball games to other networks, there are no Ivy League games on the schedule,  Curious to see where its conference tournament ends up.

ACC Regional
* Most non-conference games were set for ACC Network Extra, but don't be surprised if a handful end up on ESPNU or regional sports networks.  Only three non-conference games were set aside for ACC RSNs and they all involved Duke or North Carolina.  Last season there were fifteen non-conference games distributed to regional sports networks, so I think they've got some adjustments to make.
* Boston College at Clemson on March 4th is the only intraconference game without any television designation at this time.  This is typically when the ACC regional sports network would run into conflicts with the women's basketball tournament, but the tournament would be in semifinals on an ESPN platform that day (ESPNU in previous years).

Pac-12 Networks
* Pac-12 Networks will have just four games during conference play on Sunday nights, down from nine last season.  It appears those games have been shifted over to Saturdays.

* As has been standard practice, a few dates have flexible start times for BTN telecasts: December 3rd (conference football championship) and the first three Sundays of January (last Sunday of the NFL season and two playoff rounds).
* February 18-19th, February 25-26th and March 4th-5th are the dates where CBS will have Big Ten wildcard games.  BTN will be in on many of those games CBS doesn't select.  ESPN may be once their schedule is announced.

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