This Week’s Sunflower Showdown: Not Nationally TelevisedPosted by rtmsf on March 1st, 2010
In doing a little research for this week’s games of interest, we came across a peculiarity in the schedule that is a little hard to believe. In the only matchup of two top-5 teams this week (and merely the second such game of the entire season), good luck finding #5 Kansas State’s visit to #2 Kansas in Lawrence on your television Wednesday night. That’s right, even with a potential NCAA Tournament #1 seed on the line, the only way for a national audience to see the biggest Sunflower Showdown since Wilt Chamberlain was on campus is to hope that you get the Big 12 Network or have a subscription to ESPN Full Court or access to ESPN360 on your computer. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. (note: the Big 12 Network only reaches eight of the top fifty US markets for this particular game)
Kansas of course comes into the game having been at or near the top of the polls all season long, and even after dropping a game at Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Jayhawks are still sitting at 27-2 (13-1 Big 12) and at #2 in the polls. Their dramatic overtime win in Manhattan last month was stuff for the ages, but Frank Martin’s Wildcats didn’t pout after that loss. Instead, his team (24-4, 11-3 Big 12) rebounded nicely, feasting on a relatively soft schedule in running off seven straight wins to slowly inch their way up the polls into the top five.
Your national viewing options on this night include such treats as:
UConn @ Notre Dame – 7 pm (ESPN)
Wake Forest @ Florida State – 7 pm (ESPN2)
Alabama @ South Carolina – 7 pm (ESPNU)
#4 Duke @ #22 Maryland – 9 pm (ESPN)
Oklahoma State @ #23 Texas A&M – 9 pm (ESPN2)
Virginia @ Boston College – 9 pm (ESPNU)
It’s not a bad lineup with some 7 pm bubblicious activity and the ACC showdown in College Park later, although the ESPNU games are a complete disaster. A little piece of us dies inside, though, when we see that ESPN2 is already showing a Big 12 game that night — it’s just the wrong one. Still, the key takeaway from all this is that there needs to be more flexibility with the scheduling and airing of these games late in the season. It’s the same complaint we had when ESPN did Gameday two Saturdays ago at Washington, a school going nowhere fast, playing UCLA, a school already there. With more flexible scheduling through their existing contracts, we won’t have situations where Virginia and Boston bleeping College are getting seen by more eyeballs nationally than a game involving two top five teams are.