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ESPN Features Deep Roster For College Hoops Coverage

Jason Barrett

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ESPN’s 2015-16 men’s college basketball telecasts – more than 1,900 exclusive games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3, ESPN College Extra, SEC Network, SEC Digital Network and Longhorn Network – will showcase a deep roster of commentators. The wealth of experience working games on ESPN networks include former Division I coaches and NBA, WNBA and collegiate players, along with versatile and veteran play-by-play voices.

Non-conference coverage of more than 750 contests get underway in world-wide fashion on Friday, Nov. 13, with the fourth annual Armed Forces Classic – this year staged from Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan and showcasing Pittsburgh vs. No. 9 Gonzaga at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

College GameDay Covered by State Farm will make an early-season appearance on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the fifth annual State Farm Champions Classic, the neutral-site, early-season men’s doubleheader on ESPN that matches four of the winningest programs against each other: No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 5 Duke at 7:30 p.m. and No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Michigan State at 10 p.m.

ESPN will provide fans with live coverage of at least one game on an ESPN television linear network every day but eight from November 13 to March 6 (November 14, 18 and 28; December 11, 14, 24 and 26; and January 11).

Commentator Highlights

  • A new pairing this season is play-by-play veteran Sean McDonough and analyst Doris Burke on the ACC Big Monday
  • The trio of Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe return to work Big 12Big Monday
  • Analyst Jay Bilas, entering his 22nd season at ESPN, will be paired with Dan Shulmanand reporter Shannon Spake on the Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV game that host’s that day’s College GameDay Driven by State Farm.
  • College GameDay returns for its 12th season as host Rece Davis, Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams will follow the top storylines as the season develops with a schedule that features several options each week to choose from each Saturday, beginning January 23.
  • Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, who enters his 37th season calling games for the network, will join with Dave O’Brien and reporter Allison Williams each Saturday mainly for the marquee ACC matchup.
  • Davis will pair with Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun on a Big Ten Thursday Night Showcase
  • Mike Tirico, the voice of Monday Night Football, pairs again with analyst Dan Dakich,in addition to Williams for the weekly Big Ten Super Tuesday Dakich will also call a Saturday Big Ten contest with Bob Wischusen.
  • ESPN’s weekly Super Tuesday SEC telecast will see the return of Brad Nessler, Sean Farnham and Spake. Farnham will also join Joe Tessitore on the Thursday SEC telecast.
  • Analyst Kara Lawson and Mark Jones will call the Saturday SEC window, plus Lawson will make a weekly appearance in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios on Thursday nights.
  • Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton will again have the call of Pac-12 games on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday with Dave Pasch.
  • ACC games will also be covered by Wischusen and LaPhonso Ellis(Wednesday/Thursday) and on Saturdays by Mike Couzens and Cory Alexander.
  • Big 12 Tuesday and Saturday games will be called by Dave Flemming and Miles Simon, in addition to a Saturday contest called by Jon Sciambi and Fraschilla.
  • American games will see Mike Patrick and Len Elmore on Thursday nights and Allen Bestwick and Tim Welsh on Saturdays.
  • Additional Saturday pairings include Rich Hollenberg and Mark Adams on Missouri Valley telecasts, Adam Amin and Craig Robinson working Atlantic-10 games and Beth Mowins and Brad Dougherty paired for West Coast Conference games.
  • The ESPNU ACC Sunday Night Basketball series will be called by Anish Shroff and Cory Alexander.
  • New to ESPNU, Ted Emrich, Alex Faust, Kevin Fitzgerald and Jenn Hildreth bring a depth of play-by-play experience, in addition to analysts Jason Capel, Antwan Jamisonand Chris Spatola joining the 24-hour college sports network.
  • SEC Network will present more than 120 SEC games exclusively, and will include analysts Dane Bradshaw, Barry Booker, Joe Dean, Jr., Tony Delk, Andrew DeClerq, Daymeon Fishback, John Pelphrey and Jon Sundvold, as well as play-by-play commentators Dave Baker, Tom Hart, Mike Morgan, Dave Neal and John Saunders.
  • Longhorn Network will surround the network’s nine exclusive Texas men’s basketball games with studio programming that includes Game Plan with head coach Shaka Smart, as well as a simulcast of his weekly radio show. Texas GameDay will air from non-conference home games against North Carolina and UConn, in addition to select conferences games. Lowell Galindo will call play-by-play for the network with analystLance Blanks.

Studio Coverage
In addition to Greenberg, Lawson and Williams, ESPN and ESPN2 studio programming from Bristol will also include Dakich, Ellis, Farnham, Fraschilla, Jeff Goodman, Andy Katz and Simon.

ESPNU will rotate its studio coverage including analysts Cory Alexander, Adrian Branch andDino Gaudio, as well as newcomers Jason Capel, Antawn Jamison and Chris Spatola. Studio hosts include Brendan Fitzgerald, Matt Schick and Anish Shroff.

ESPN Buzzer Beater
Analyst Tim McCormick will be seen on the sixth season of ESPN Buzzer Beater – which offers live cut-ins and highlights from numerous top college basketball games Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., beginning Wednesday, Jan. 6.

ESPN.com
Katz, Goodman, Eamonn Brennan, Myron Medcalf, Dana O’Neil, C.L Brown and John Gasaway will provide reporting, analysis and original video on ESPN.com throughout the season, while Paul Biancardi, Jeff Borzello, Adam Finkelstein and Reggie Rankin will contribute to college basketball recruiting coverage. Also, Bracketologist Joe Lunardi will keep an eye on what the NCAA Championship field might look like come March.

Season Overview
Announcers across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3, SEC Network and Longhorn Network will call games involving more than 400 teams from all 32 Division I conferences.

Commentators can also be seen during ESPN’s popular weekly series’ beginning in January –Big Monday, Super Tuesday presented by Hotels.com, Wednesday Night Hoops, Thursday Night Showcase, College GameDay Covered by State Farm, Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV and ESPNU ACC Sunday Night Basketball – plus a full slate of games throughout the season.

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SEC Commissioner Tells Pat McAfee Someone at ESPN Leaked 2024 Schedule Without Permission

“We were trying to protect it. Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it.”

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SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey isn’t particularly thrilled that his new top broadcast partner leaked a portion of next year’s schedule a bit early.

During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, which just so happens to be an ESPN property, Sankey mentioned his displeasure at the Worldwide Leader for leaking a portion of the 2024 SEC schedule early. According to Sankey, the league and the network agreed to release the schedule together in the near future.

“We were trying to protect it,” Sankey said. “Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it,” according to Yahoo Sports college football reporter Ross Dellenger.

While leaks in the media space are hardly a new phenomenon, especially when it comes to something as desirable as a football conference’s yearly schedule, a leak this early in the newly-formed ESPN-SEC relationship is less than ideal. Starting next season, ESPN will take over as the SEC’s primary broadcast partner, assuming the position CBS had long held for decades.

In the leaked portion of the schedule, the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide will play in the regular season for just the third time in the past 15 years. We also know the Bulldogs will play the debuting Texas Longhorns in Texas, while the Tide will play the other Oklahoma Sooners on the road.

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Jim Boeheim Making Analyst Debut on ACC Network, Joining The CW

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Jim Boeheim
Courtesy: Codie Yan, The NewsHouse

Former Syracuse Orange basketball head coach Jim Boeheim will make his debut as an analyst on Saturday, Dec. 2 on the ACC Network. Boeheim will be on the broadcast for the matchup between Florida State and North Carolina at 2 PM ET featuring play-by-play announcer Wes Durham and sideline reporter Cory Alexander.

Boeheim will make his studio debut on Tuesday, Dec. 5 during halftime of the men’s prime-time doubleheader games on the day – which consists of Central Connecticut against Boston College at 6 PM ET, followed by Cornell taking on Syracuse at 8 PM ET.

On the program, he will be joined by host Kelsey Riggs and analyst Luke Hancock, and he will also remain on the air for the 10 p.m. edition of Nothing But Net, the network’s signature basketball show.

Additionally, Jim Boeheim also joined Westwood One and is reportedly set to work on The CW coverage of ACC basketball, debuting this Saturday with pre-taped segments during halftime of two conference games. News of Boeheim working with The CW was first reported by Mike Waters of Syracuse.com.

Boeheim departed Syracuse University after 47 seasons as a coach and holding an overall win-loss record of 1,015-441. He has the second-most wins at the Division I level in the history of college basketball, only being surpassed by former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

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Dan Le Batard: I Thought Pat McAfee Would Grow College GameDay, But That Hasn’t Happened

Le Batard said McAfee is playing under a different set of rules than others at ESPN.

Jordan Bondurant

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Pat McAfee
(Photo: ESPN Images)

Pat McAfee has checked all the boxes Disney and ESPN leadership had when the former NFL punter brought his daily sports talk show into the fray, but one area where it seems like the waters aren’t so smooth for McAfee is in his reception as an analyst on College GameDay.

GameDay viewers have not shied away from making their feelings known that they don’t like seeing McAfee on the show, and Dan Le Batard has found the criticism quite interesting.

On The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Thursday, Le Batard said he thought having Pat McAfee on GameDay would continue taking the show to the next level, but it turns out he was wrong in some respects.

“And so they get McAfee and they give him a new set of rules,” Le Batard said. “But I thought that would result in College GameDay getting bigger and better. More popular. I underestimated the allegiance that the viewer has to David Pollack.”

“I’m reading him and everyone around him saying he’s a good teammate, they all love him, they’re all getting along with him,” Le Batard added. “He is effusive, he is such a positive person. He is effusive in his praise for the people on that sat. But now the numbers are coming back, and this is something that McAfee couldn’t have expected.”

Executive producer Mike Ruiz chimed in saying that a contributing factor in the changing conditions at GameDay is due to the mass layoffs and non-renewals of more expensive talent over the last couple years. He said there was going to be a natural need to switch things up after cutting ties with the likes of Pollack, Tom Rinaldi, and Chris “The Bear” Fallica.

“The format of the show when you take someone like that, you’re changing it,” Ruiz said. “You’re changing the emotional stories that made you cry in advance of a Purdue/Ohio State game. All that stuff starts going away. And now it’s not just going away, some of that stuff is going to FOX.”

Dan Le Batard responded saying he wasn’t trying to blame Pat McAfee for Big Noon Kickoff closing the gap on GameDay and negative fan feedback. But all of a sudden now that FOX can tout its pregame show continuing to grow and be a successful alternative to ESPN’s product, the narrative shifts.

“I always say perception is not reality, but when all you have is perception and fudged numbers, FOX is saying, ‘We’ve caught College GameDay. We’ve caught one of the most popular shows in the history of sports television,'” Le Batard said.

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