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.
|Mon, Nov 17||7 p.m.||No. 13 Baylor at No. 6 Kentucky women||ESPN2|
|Miami at No. 9 Florida||ESPNU|
|9 p.m.||No. 1 Connecticut at No. 20 Stanford women||ESPN2|
|11 p.m.||No. 12 SMU at No. 15 Gonzaga||ESPN2|
|Legends Classic: Detroit at No. 22 Oregon||ESPNU|
|Tue, Nov 18||1 a.m.||Auburn at Colorado||ESPN2|
|3 a.m.||New Mexico State at Saint Mary's||ESPN2|
|5 a.m.||High Point at Hawaii||ESPN2|
|7 a.m.||Iona at Wofford||ESPN2|
|9 a.m.||Northern Iowa at Stephen F. Austin||ESPN2|
|11 a.m.||Manhattan at UMass||ESPN2|
|Noon||Baylor at South Carolina||ESPN|
|2 p.m.||No. 5 Wichita State vs. Memphis (Sioux Falls, S.D.)||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Utah at No. 20 San Diego State||ESPN|
|6 p.m.||College GameDay (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)||ESPN|
|Legends Classic: Toledo at No. 14 VCU||ESPNU|
|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 State||ESPN2|
|9:30 p.m.||State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 Kentucky||ESPN|
|9:30 p.m.||Texas Tech at LSU||ESPN2|