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24-hour TV marathon has big-time non-league tilts, Champions Classic

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

This is a pep in the step. For any college hoops lover, some scheduling news that promises fantastic non-conference games in November -- hey, it's welcomed.

ESPN announced on Monday the lineup for its annual 24-hour college hoops marathon. There are some seriously good games. The highlight is the renewal of the Champions Classic, the four-team event that always features Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas. The past three years have seen those teams rotate in playing each other.

This year, the Champions Classic games will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis; they will move to Chicago for 2015, and 2016 in New York City. Michigan State-Duke is the undercard, being played at 7 p.m. ET, while Kentucky-Kansas tips off at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 18. That's a Tuesday.

College hoops does its November schedule well. Though I'd love to see more on-campus games between top 25-caliber teams in November and December, at least these made-for-TV tilts deliver the goods.

Before the marathon culminates with the Champions Classic, there's a slew of solid contests. SMU -- albeit without Emmanuel Mudiay -- will play at Gonzaga on Monday, Nov. 17, at 11 p.m. ET. Both teams have Sweet 16 expectations. Marquette-Ohio State is going to be fun, primarily because Ohio State's going to be better than people think ... and nobody knows what to expect from Marquette.

Strangest/maybe best game: Wichita State playing against Memphis -- in South Dakota? Yes, South Dakota. (We reported on this back in March.)

Utah State-San Diego State is a good afternoon game for the diehards to catch, as is Northern Iowa-Stephen F. Austin. The sneaky-good game to me? Manhattan-UMass. I might have to drive up from Connecticut for that 11 a.m. tip.

And the women's game will be featured, as UConn will play perennial cross-coast power Stanford. Baylor-Kentucky in women's hoops is also on the billing.

Here's the schedule. Bookmark/favorite this page for the fall.

DateTime (ET)GameNetwork
Mon, Nov 177 p.m.No. 13 Baylor at No. 6 Kentucky women ESPN2
Miami at No. 9 FloridaESPNU
9 p.m.No. 1 Connecticut at No. 20 Stanford womenESPN2
11 p.m.No. 12 SMU at No. 15 GonzagaESPN2
Legends Classic: Detroit at No. 22 OregonESPNU
Tue, Nov 181 a.m.Auburn at ColoradoESPN2
3 a.m.New Mexico State at Saint Mary'sESPN2
5 a.m.High Point at HawaiiESPN2
7 a.m.Iona at WoffordESPN2
9 a.m.Northern Iowa at Stephen F. AustinESPN2
11 a.m.Manhattan at UMassESPN2
NoonBaylor at South CarolinaESPN
2 p.m.No. 5 Wichita State vs. Memphis (Sioux Falls, S.D.)ESPN
4 p.m.Utah at No. 20 San Diego StateESPN
6 p.m.College GameDay (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)ESPN
Legends Classic: Toledo at No. 14 VCUESPNU
7 p.m.State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke ESPN
7:30 p.m.Marquette at Ohio StateESPN2
9:30 p.m.State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 KentuckyESPN
9:30 p.m.Texas Tech at LSUESPN2
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