ESPN College Gameday Schedule AnnouncedPosted by zhayes9 on August 25th, 2010
Zach Hayes is a editor, contributor and bracketologist at Rush the Court.
If you didn’t know, January, February and March mornings in the Northeast are cold. Very cold, often times extremely cold. That’s where 14 consecutive hours of college basketball on Saturday comes in handy. Throw on the coat, make the customary Dunkin Donuts coffee run and plop down on the couch for a full hour of fans shouting and screaming over Hubert Davis defending the eye test to determine NCAA bids. The football version is special in itself, but the hoops edition of College Gameday warms the heart of yours truly on those frigid Saturday mornings. Today, the 2011 slate was announced with the same Gameday crew visiting eight sites, the kickoff featuring a men’s-women’s doubleheader in Knoxville. If anything, these schedules trickling out continue to give us hope that mid-November isn’t all that far off in the distance.
Here’s the Gameday schedule (all times ET):
January 15- Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (men’s)- 12 PM, Vanderbilt @ Tennessee (women’s)- 8 PM
January 22- Michigan State @ Purdue- 9 PM
January 29- Kansas State @ Kansas- 7 PM
February 5- Kentucky @ Florida- 9 PM
February 12- Pittsburgh @ Villanova- 9 PM
February 19- Illinois @ Michigan State- 9 PM
February 26- Duke @ Virginia Tech- 9 PM
March 3- Texas @ Baylor- 9 PM
Some quick thoughts on the schedule:
- As they did last season, ESPN did a fantastic job identifying the teams projected to contend for a national championship and featuring their most challenging games on the schedule. In my opinion, Pittsburgh and Villanova will be the top two teams in the Big East. The same applies to Kentucky and Florida in the SEC. Kansas State and their top ten caliber squad visiting Kansas should be their toughest road test. Duke has only a handful of games this season where they have a legitimate chance to lose- the trip to Virginia Tech is one of them. Duke, Michigan State, Purdue, Kansas State, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Kentucky and Florida could all be in the preseason top ten. Exciting stuff.
- The best game honor goes to the January 22 contest between Michigan State and Purdue in West Lafayette. This was the most obvious Gameday selection from the moment Robbie Hummel and Kalin Lucas were forced to return for their senior seasons. For the third straight fall, the debate for best team in the Big Ten- Spartans or Boilermakers- is a heated and tight one. Winner of this game gets an early leg up on their stiffest competition.
- The women’s selection is also no surprise given that ESPN opted to visit Storrs for a Connecticut women’s game last year. They threw a bit of a curveball with the men’s/women’s doubleheader, but it’s a creative concept that I’m absolutely in favor of.
- A potential stinker on the slate is Illinois visiting East Lansing to take on Michigan State. Illinois is a talented team led by Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale, but there’s doubt whether the Illini have enough ammo to stick within 10-15 points of a loaded Spartan squad. Would Ohio State have been a better matchup? I think so. The Buckeyes are one team I felt were snubbed.
- One final note that caught my eye was no Pac-10 game featured. They usually throw that conference a bone and I expected Washington to make an appearance in one of their more difficult road games at Arizona or UCLA. Instead, Gameday opted for two contests involving SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 teams. No argument from me.
- I did expect the Gameday crew to make a trip to Hinkle and give Butler a primetime stage following their run to the national title game. The ratings for a team like Detroit, Wright State or Valparaiso at 9 PM on ESPN just wouldn’t have been there, though. A Mountain West duel (BYU at San Diego State), given the strength of that conference, would have been welcomed, but ESPN doesn’t have the TV rights for that conference.
- If you’re wondering why Duke-UNC is nowhere to be found, CBS stole ESPN’s thunder and will broadcast that game in Chapel Hill in primetime.
- The best part? Another year of halfcourt heaves. And those are always fun.