ACC/Big Ten Challenge Expands to 14 Matchups this December

espn-logoESPN analysts Dan Dakich & Seth Greenberg talk ACC/Big Ten Challenge
 
 
The 16th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, played over three days from December 1-3, will be highlighted by an expanded format of 14 games – two more than previous Challenges – and the debut of Maryland and Rutgers as members of the Big Ten, and Louisville with the ACC.
 
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 14 games of the three-day event matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioners Cup. All 14 games will also be available via WatchESPN.
 
Three of the games will feature a showdown between teams ranked in an ESPN.com early preseason top 25 poll: No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina and No. 21 Syracuse at No. 24 Michigan. Additional teams in the Challenge that made the poll include No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Louisville and No. 18 Michigan State.
 
All 14 Big Ten teams and 14 of the 15 ACC teams will participate in the 2014 Challenge.
 
The ACC and Big Ten have split the past two events, winning six Challenge games each in 2012 and 2013. In the event of a tie, the Commissioner’s Cup remains with the conference that won the previous year, which was the Big Ten in 2011. The ACC won the first 10 Challenges (1999-2008) while the Big Ten won the next three (2009-2011).
 
2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule (times and networks will be announced in August):
 
Date Game
Mon, Dec 1 Nebraska at Florida State
Rutgers at Clemson
Tue, Dec 2 No. 21 Syracuse at No. 24 Michigan
Ohio State at No. 8 Louisville
Pittsburgh at Indiana
NC State at Purdue
Illinois at Miami (Fla.)
Minnesota at Wake Forest
Wed, Dec 3 No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin
No. 18 Michigan State at Notre Dame
No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina
No. 7 Virginia at Maryland
Georgia Tech at Northwestern
Virginia Tech at Penn State
 

 

  • Tourney Teams: 13 teams from the two conferences played in the 2014 NCAA Championship: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia from the ACC, and Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin from the Big Ten.
  • First Challenge Matchups: Nine of the 14 games will mark first-time Challenge matchups including Syracuse at Michigan, Michigan State at Notre Dame, Iowa at North Carolina, Pittsburgh at Indiana, Illinois at Miami (Fla.) and Nebraska at Florida State, plus three involving a new member of one of the conferences: Rutgers (at Clemson) and Maryland (against former ACC foe Virginia) in the Big Ten and Louisville (against Ohio State) in the ACC. Highlights:

 

  • Michigan and Syracuse last met in a 2013 National Semifinal game from Atlanta with the Wolverines defeating the Orange 61-56.
  • Michigan State and Notre Dame will meet for the first time in 35 years when the Spartans defeated the Irish 80-68 in the Regional Finals on its way to the 1979 National Championship.
  • In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are infrequent opponents: Iowa won two of its three matchups against North Carolina, despite losing the last meeting in 2004; Illinois and Miami (Fla.) have split their two previous meetings, with the Hurricanes winning the last contest in 2012; Florida State holds a 1-0 record over Nebraska with a victory in 2005; and Clemson will look to go 2-0 against Rutgers after a win in 1999.
  • The Pittsburgh at Indiana and Ohio State at Louisville matchups will mark the ninth all-time meeting between the programs with each team winning four games in the respective series.
  • Seconds Please: Pittsburgh and Syracuse – two of the three ACC members that played in the Challenge for the first time last season – will look for a second consecutive win in the event (Pittsburgh defeated Penn State and Syracuse beat Indiana).  Notre Dame, which also made a Challenge debut last season, lost to Iowa.
  • A First at 16: Maryland will appear in its first Challenge as a member of the Big Ten after playing in the previous 15 events with the ACC, compiling a 10-5 record. Maryland will host Virginia in the Challenge, marking a rematch of the Terrapins’ 75-69 overtime victory in their final regular-season game as an ACC member.
  • Rubber Match: Duke and Wisconsin will square off in the Challenge for the third time with each winning one game, both as the home team (Duke in 2007 and Wisconsin in 2009).
  • Three’s a Charm: Northwestern and NC State will look for a three-peat over their 2014 Challenge opponents with the Wildcats defeating Georgia Tech in 2010 and 2011 and Wolfpack beating Purdue in 1999 and 2004.
  • Looking for 14: Duke has won more Challenge games than any other team, taking 13 of its 15 matchups with its only two losses coming to Wisconsin and Ohio State.
  • Second Time Around: Minnesota and Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and Penn State will play each other in the Challenge for the second time. Wake Forest (in 2001) and Penn State (in 2007), the home teams in the first meeting as well, won the games.
 
Dan Dakich & Seth Greenberg Talk ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Scheduling and More
ESPN college basketball analysts Dan Dakich and Seth Greenberg talked with ESPN Front Row about the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, interesting games in the event, scheduling of games and more. Excerpts of the Front and Center Podcast include:
 
Greenberg on perception of the Challenge as a coach: “As a coach, I looked at it as the Ryder Cup. We wanted to win and we were worried about what that game would mean for our resume. It was one of the few times during the course of the season where I was really locked in on where we were in the standings for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. We had to find a way to win and represent the conference.”
 
Dakich on Challenge creating top matchups for fans of opposing teams: “This is a little like, back in the day, when you were a kid and they only had Saturday baseball on and you were waiting to see a team that maybe you read about in a magazine.
 
Greenberg on scheduling: “Scheduling, in your top five things, has got to be number one or two. The problem is coaches, innately, are afraid to overschedule so they under-schedule. I was as big of an offender as anyone. It depends on where you are in your program and who you are. There are some coaches – their players are buying no matter what. Like a bunch of coaches in these two conferences. But some coaches – they are selling every single day. So having the right schedule is key to them selling, because they have to show progress, show they are winning games to keep their jobs. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Maui, preseason NIT – the major preseason events – are so pivotal in helping you build your program or maintain the program.”
 
Dakich on benefit of Challenge for scheduling: “This is one of the great scheduling pieces for schools, regardless of who you play. Obviously, it helps if you’re the better team that’s playing, where you’re playing and if you get a win. Without question it helps scheduling, without question it helps exposure of the league and helps fans.”
 
Greenberg on the Challenge as a whole: “Every one of these games has a storyline. Each one of these games has a little bit of a personality. It’s not just the Duke’s and the Wisconsin’s.”
 
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NCAA March Madness Live Sets All-Time Record with Nearly 70 Million Video Streams for the 2014 NCAA Tournament

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaLive Video Streams Across All Platforms Up 42%; Live Video Streams on Mobile Up 71%

2014 NCAA Tournament Marks Record Usage for TV Everywhere Initiative

NCAA March Madness Live, managed by Turner Sports, set a new record for video consumption during the 2014 NCAA Tournament with 69.7 million live video streams collectively across all platforms. This year’s live video streams are up 42% over last year’s tournament, far exceeding the total of 49 million live video streams for the entire tournament in 2013.

NCAA March Madness Live netted 15 million hours of live video consumed for this year’s tournament, also an all-time record and a 7% increase over last year. Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live represented a watershed event for the TV Everywhere initiative, marking record-setting year-over-year growth in usage and surpassing total TV Everywhere consumption for the entire 2013 tournament by the end of the second round.

Monday’s National Championship between Kentucky and Connecticut generated two million live video streams, up 30% when compared with last year’s championship game.

In partnership between the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports, NCAA March Madness Live launched from www.ncaa.com/marchmadness, www.bleacherreport.com and www.cbssports.com, and was available via the Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows Store.  Additionally, fans could watch games via live streaming on TNT, TBS and truTV’s digital platforms, as well as participating TV provider websites.

2014 NCAA Tournament highlights:

Live Video Streams

  • Across all digital platforms, NCAA March Madness Live generated 69.7 million live video streams, an all-time record and up 42% over last year.
  • NCAA March Madness Live registered 15 million hours of live video streaming, a record-setting total and a 7% increase from 2013.

Mobile Usage Growth

  • Mobile (tablets and smartphones) platforms experienced significant growth with live streams up 71% during the NCAA Tournament.
  • Live streaming hours also delivered considerable growth, up 38% over last year.

TV Everywhere

§  TV Everywhere usage marked tremendous year-over-year growth, up 85% in live streams and 72% in hours spent viewing.

§  Users who were logged in spent more time watching games, streaming an average of 67% more minutes than users who weren’t logged in.

§  Mobile platforms saw a huge surge in TV Everywhere usage for the 2014 tournament, with live streams on logged-in mobile devices representing 52% of the total TV Everywhere usage for the entire tournament.

Source: 2014 Live metrics for Desktop, iOS and Android from Conviva

Most Popular Games

The top five most-watched games across digital platforms for this year’s tournament, based on live video streams:

▪                   Dayton vs. Ohio State – 4,587,986

▪                   Mercer vs. Duke – 4,177,421

▪                   Harvard vs. Cincinnati – 2,742,532

▪                      Kentucky vs. Connecticut – 2,008,138

▪                   Kentucky vs. Wichita State – 1,954,273

Source:  Omniture, Conviva

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ESPN Analysts Offer Thoughts on 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four Matchups

espn-logoDoris Burke, Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo – top analysts on ESPN’s season-long women’s basketball coverage – offered insight and analysis on the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four matchups.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Presented by Capital One has reached its final weekend – the Women’s Final Four in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 8. ESPN and WatchESPN will offer full studio and game coverage throughout the weekend, starting with the National Semifinals on Sunday: No.1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Maryland at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by No. 1 seed Connecticut vs. No. 2 Stanford at 8:30 p.m. The National Championship game will air Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., with the NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One beginning at 7 p.m.

 

Burke

Keys to Semifinal Game 1

“Brenda Frese’s recruitment to and emphasis on winning the rebounding battle is impressive. She is a passionate, energetic coach who has at her disposal one of the nation’s best players in Alyssa Thomas. The All-American is a powerful left-handed driver who is amongst the most versatile in the country.  With the dynamic freshman point guard Lexi Brown and the depth Maryland brings to the table, the Terps can wear opponents down in transition and on the glass.

Muffet McGraw has led the Fighting Irish to their fourth straight Final Four and into the strata of a consistent national championship threat – a rare feat in the sport. Jewell Loyd is as dynamic an athlete and as talented and dangerous as a basketball player can be. The Irish need Kayla McBride to be as efficient as she is dangerous and must find a way to make up for the leadership, toughness and productivity of injured Natalie Achonwa.”

 

Keys to Semifinal Game 2

“Stanford has always run quality offense and disciplined, well-thought out scouting of defenses. Chiney Ogwumike must be accounted for in transition, the half court and certainly on the offensive glass. Mikaela Ruef operates well in tandem with Ogwumike, and Amber Orrange must impose her will as a threat on offense.

Connecticut requires an opponent to play a near perfect defensive game. The Huskies have proved through the first two weekends, and in fact all season, that they can win without shooting it to the best of their abilities. What allows this to occur, is they are consistently one of the best defensive teams in the country. The Huskies are excellent at taking away your strength and making you beat them in another way. Breanna Stewart is the most dangerous chess piece on the board, and when Geno Auriemma has that, it typically leads to a national title.”

Lawson

Top Players to Watch

“Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas and Notre Dame’s Jewell Lloyd are the standout players in this first matchup.”

Thoughts on No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Maryland

“This is an intriguing matchup because of all talk of Natalie Achonwa and the lack of her presence for Notre Dame on the court this weekend. The loss of her is so fresh, no one is sure how the Irish will respond and how quickly they can make up for the loss of everything she brings. The regular-season meeting was a tale of two halves. Maryland had no answer for Lloyd, and not many teams in country do. She had 31 in that game and 30 against Baylor in the Elite Eight. This is a good matchup for Lloyd individually and she is playing her best basketball right now. The second half of the game, Notre Dame didn’t have an answer for Thomas. She was overwhelming with her power and rebounding, and Achonwa had trouble guarding her.

I don’t feel the tale of two halves will be as dramatic in this game, but those two matchups are issues for both sides. Rebounding is a big issue for Notre Dame with the loss of Achonwa and the size of Maryland, but the Irish have the advantage with Kayla McBride and Lloyd.”

Lobo

Top Players to Watch

“Chiney Ogwumike is the star for Stanford, and you won’t want to miss her final weekend as a collegiate athlete. Breanna Stewart is the matchup nightmare for UConn opponents.”

 

Thoughts on the No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 2 Stanford matchup

“Connecticut and Stanford are much different teams than the ones we saw match up back in November. Stanford has settled on a rotation that includes Lili Thompson, a nice slasher and 3-point shooter, who complements Amber Orrange in the backcourt and Bonnie Samuelson, a sharpshooter from three. Ogwumike continues to put up monster numbers even with constant double and triple teams.

UConn has been dominant all season with Stefanie Dolson as the constant inside. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, always a fantastic 3-point shooter, has emerged as a complete player in the tournament. Bria Hartley and Moriah Jefferson remain steady and Stewart shows flashes of brilliance in each game. If UConn is clicking on all cylinders, they won’t be beaten.”

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SiriusXM Offers Live Coverage from Dallas for NCAA Final Four

SIRIUS XM RADIO LOGOSiriusXM College Sports Nation features analysis from Bobby Cremins, Mateen Cleaves, Steve Lappas, Tom Brennan, Tim Brando and others

Final Four® matchups and National Championship game will air live on SiriusXM channel 91

SiriusXM will offer subscribers comprehensive coverage of this weekend’s NCAA Final Four® and the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s National Championship game with live broadcasts from Dallas from today, April 3, through Tuesday, April 8.

SiriusXM College Sports Nation, channel 91, will showcase a daily lineup of shows featuring a cast of college basketball experts that includes three-time ACC Coach of the Year Bobby Cremins, Hall of Fame Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves, former Villanova and UMass coach Steve Lappas, former University of Vermont coach Tom Brennan, plus Tim Brando, Mark Packer, Chris Childers and Jason Horowitz.

SiriusXM College Sports Nation Schedule: (All times ET)

Thursday, April 3

o    9 am-12 pm: Tim Brando Show

o    12-3 pm: Inside College Basketball with Mateen Cleaves and Chris Childers

o    3-5:45 pm: College Sports Today with Tom Brennan and Mark Packer

o    5:45-6:45pm: Basketball and Beyond with Coach K with Mike Krzyzewski (show does not originate from Dallas)

Friday, April 4

o    9 am-12 pm: Tim Brando Show

o    12-3 pm: Inside College Basketball with Tom Brennan and Jason Horowitz

o    3-6 pm: College Sports Today with Bobby Cremins and Mark Packer

Saturday, April 5

o    9 am-12 pm: Tim Brando Show

o    12-3:30 pm: College Sports Today with Tom Brennan and Mark Packer

o    3:30-12 pm: Programming and play-by-play provided by WestwoodOne

o    12 pm-2 am: College Sports Nation Postgame Show with Tom Brennan and Chris Childers

Sunday, April 6

o    10 am-12 pm:  College Sports Sunday with Bobby Cremins and Chris Childers

o    12-3 pm: College Sports Today with Tom Brennan and Mark Packer

Monday, April 7

o    9 am-12 pm: Tim Brando Show

o    12-3 pm:  Inside College Basketball with Steve Lappas and Jason Horowitz

o    3-6:30 pm: College Sports Today with Tom Brennan and Mark Packer

o    6:30-12 pm: Programming and play-by-play provided by WestwoodOne

o    12 pm-2 am: College Sports Nation Postgame Show with Tom Brennan and Chris Childers

Tuesday, April 8

o    12-3 pm:  Inside College Basketball with Mateen Cleaves and Jason Horowitz

o    3-6 pm: College Sports Today with Tom Brennan and Mark Packer

SiriusXM College Sports Nation, channel 91, will feature live play-by-play of the Final Four games on Saturday night and the National Championship game on Monday.  Broadcasts are provided by WestwoodOne.

For more info visit www.siriusxm.com/collegesports. Follow the channel on Twitter @SiriusXMCollege.

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Turner & CBS Announce Coverage Plans for 2014 NCAA Final Four

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaCBS Sports and Turner Sports Announce Coverage Plans for

2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four in North Texas

 TBS to Televise Final Four National Semifinals for First Time;

CBS to Broadcast National Championship for 33rd Consecutive Year

TNT & truTV “Teamcast” Plans Unveiled for Final Four National Semifinal Games                                                                                                                                                                                          

Turner Sports and CBS Sports will provide exclusive coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four and National Championship from North Texas with Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin competing for college basketball’s top honor.  TBS will televise the National Semifinal games on Saturday, April 5, with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET, marking the first time in the 76-year history of the event the games will air on a cable network. The network will televise three hours of pre-game coverage beginning at 3 p.m. CBS will broadcast the National Championship on Monday, April 7, with pre-game coverage live from AT&T Stadium beginning at 8:30 p.m., and the game tipping off earlier this year at 9:10 p.m.

Saturday’s Final Four National Semifinals will feature Florida against Connecticut with tip-off scheduled for 6:09 p.m.  Wisconsin versus Kentucky will begin 40 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.  Jim Nantz will call the action with analysts Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr, along with reporter Tracy Wolfson.  Nantz will call his 24th Final Four and National Championship, with Kerr joining Nantz for a fourth consecutive year and Anthony providing analysis alongside them for the first time this year.

Ernie Johnson will host studio coverage from the Final Four and National Championship with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith – joined by Greg Gumbel and analysts Reggie Miller, Seth Davis, Grant Hill, Doug Gottlieb and college coaches.

In additional to the traditional Final Four National Semifinal game telecast airing on TBS, “teamcasts” or team-specific presentations tailored to the individual teams competing in both games will air simultaneously on TNT and truTV.  The innovative teamcast concept – under the banner “Your Team, Your Way” – will present the game with unprecedented local flavor, including comprehensive team and player storylines, custom music, graphics and show packaging, additional cameras and team-specific replays, custom halftimes with school features and more.

Network/Commentators for the Final Four teamcast presentations:

Florida Teamcast at 6 p.m. on TNT

David Steele, who has previously hosted University of Florida basketball and football television and radio coverage and is the current voice of the Orlando Magic, will provide play-by-play for the TNT telecast.  Analyst Mark Wise, a 14-year veteran analyst for the Gator Basketball Network, and reporter James Bates, a former member of the Florida football team who played on four consecutive SEC title teams and a national championship team in 1996, will join Steele.

Connecticut Teamcast at 6 p.m. on truTV

Eric Frede, a Connecticut native who covered the UConn men’s program this year as a studio host for CSN New England, will call the action on truTV.  Frede is also the current play-by-play commentator for SNY’s coverage of the UConn women’s basketball program.  Joining him courtside will be UConn standout Donny Marshall, a member of UConn Men’s Basketball All-Century Team who led the Huskies to the Elite Eight in 1995 while averaging 22.3 points per game. Marshall currently provides analysis for YES Network on the Brooklyn Nets.  Additionally, UConn legend Swin Cash – a two-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time WNBA champion and two time NCAA champion at Connecticut – will be the courtside reporter.

Kentucky Teamcast following the first game on TNT

Play-by-play commentator Rob Bromley, a long-time Kentucky sports anchor who has handled play-by-play, sideline and color commentary for basketball and football on UKTV for more than 30 years, will team with former Kentucky star Rex Chapman as the analyst.  Chapman was a two-time All-SEC player at Kentucky and a 12-year NBA veteran. Dave Baker, a television play-by-play commentator for UK/IMG telecasts of the University of Kentucky basketball games and long-time sports anchor and reporter at WKYT, will serve as the reporter for the game.

Wisconsin Teamcast following the first game on truTV

Wayne Larrivee, who has called Wisconsin games on the Big Ten Network this season, will provide play-by-play commentary.  Larrivee is also the current radio voice of the Green Bay Packers.  Larrivee will be joined by former Badger Mike Kelley, who helped guide the team to the Final Four in 2000.

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Turner Sports & CBS Sports Announce Tip Times & Announce Teams for Regional Semifinals

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaCBS Sports and Turner Sports Announce Tip Times and

Announce Teams for Regional Semifinals

Exclusive Coverage Continues with Regional Semi-Finals on

Thursday, March 27, and Friday, March 28

Turner Sports and CBS Sports announce tip times, match-ups and announce teams for its exclusive coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 27, and Friday, March 28 (7 p.m.-Midnight ET) with all games available in their entirety on TBS and CBS.  Coverage will begin both nights with the Infiniti NCAA Tip-Off pregame show at 6 p.m. on TBS.

The announce teams for the Regional Semifinals and Finals are as follows:

Play-By-Play/Analyst//Reporter

Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony//Tracy Wolfson

Marv Albert/Steve Kerr//Craig Sager

Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Allie LaForce

Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller//Rachel Nichols

Studio coverage will continue with Greg Gumbel hosting alongside analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York.  Ernie Johnson will host studio coverage from Turner Studios in Atlanta with analysts Steve Smith, Seth Davis, Grant Hill and Doug Gottlieb. 

Tip times for the Regional Final games on Saturday will be announced on Thursday after the conclusion of the day’s games. Sunday’s tip times will be released after the conclusion of play on Friday.

The Final Four on Saturday, April 5, will be televised on TBS for the first time along with “teamcasts” or team-specific telecasts airing on TNT and truTV. The National Championship Game on Monday, April 7 will air on CBS for the 33rd consecutive year.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 27 (7 p.m.-Midnight ET)

 

Tip (ET)

Network

Site

Game

Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter

7:15 p.m. CBS Memphis I Stanford vs. Dayton Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller//Rachel Nichols
7:47 p.m. TBS Anaheim I Wisconsin vs. Baylor Marv Albert/Steve Kerr//Craig Sager
After conc. I CBS Memphis II Florida vs. UCLA Harlan/Elmore/Miller//Nichols
After conc. I TBS Anaheim II Arizona/Gonzaga vs. San Diego State Albert/Kerr//Sager

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 28 (7 p.m.-Midnight ET)

 

Tip (ET)

Network

Site

Game

Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter

7:15 p.m. CBS Indianapolis I Michigan vs. Tennessee Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony//Tracy Wolfson
7:27 p.m. TBS New York I Iowa State vs. Connecticut Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Allie LaForce
After conc. I CBS Indianapolis II Louisville vs. Kentucky Nantz/Anthony//Wolfson
After conc. I TBS New York II Virginia/Memphis vs. Michigan State Lundquist/Raftery//LaForce

Follow us on Twitter:@MarchMadnessTVfor schedule updates and the latest NCAA Tournament broadcast news and information.

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No Perfect Brackets out of 11.01 Million Submitted to ESPN.com Men’s Tournament Challenge

espn-logoOnly One Perfect Bracket Remains through Round of 64 in Women’s Tournament Challenge

ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge

ESPN.com’s Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Acura and Allstate revealed no perfect brackets remaining out of more than 11.01 million submitted after Stephen F. Austin’s win over VCU knocked out the last three remaining perfect brackets on ESPN.com during the second day of competition.  The first four days of competition featured 13 upsets through 48 games, resulting in only three brackets that correctly picked every Sweet Sixteen team and 99 brackets that went 15 for 16.  An analysis of “bracket busters” in more than 11.01 million brackets submitted reveals:

  • No. 8 Kentucky shocks undefeated no. 1 Wichita State
    • 29.2% of brackets picked the Wildcats to advance to the Sweet Sixteen
    • Of the 76.3% of brackets that predicted Kentucky vs. Wichita State in the Round of 32, 28.6% of them correctly picked the Wildcats to upset the Shockers
    • Kentucky busted 5.9% of brackets that picked Wichita State to win it all
  • No. 11 Dayton upsets no. 6 Ohio State and no. 3 Syracuse
    • 19.7% of brackets picked the Flyers to win over the Buckeyes
    • Only 3.9% had Dayton reaching the Sweet Sixteen
    • Dayton busted 3.6% of brackets that had Syracuse winning it all
  • No. 10 Stanford survives and advances against no. 7 New Mexico and no. 2 Kansas
    • Stanford was picked by 38% of brackets to prevail over the Lobos, knocking out 1,920 perfect brackets in the process
    • Of the 36.4% of brackets that accurately predicted a Stanford vs. Kansas matchup, only 3.3% of them correctly picked the Cardinals to win over the Jayhawks
    • Stanford busted 5.5% of brackets that had Kansas winning it all
  • No. 7 Connecticut prevails in overtime vs. no. 10 St. Joseph’s, upsets no. 2 Villanova
    • 20.6% of brackets predicted that the Huskies would advance to the Sweet Sixteen
    • Of the 68% of brackets that accurately predicted a Connecticut vs. Villanova matchup, 19.2% of them correctly picked the Huskies to win over the Wildcats
    • Connecticut busted 1.2% of brackets that had Villanova winning it all
  • No. 14 Mercer stuns in win over no. 3 Duke
    • Only 3.3% of brackets predicted the Bears to upset the Blue Devils
    • Mercer busted 5.3% of brackets that had Duke winning it all
  • No. 11 Tennessee defeats no. 6 Massachusetts, advances past Mercer to Sweet Sixteen
    • 43.3% of brackets accurately predicted the Vols to win over the Minutemen
    • Only 4.9% of brackets correctly picked Tennessee to make it to the Sweet Sixteen
    • Of the 1.7% of brackets that predicted a Tennessee vs. Mercer match-up, 50.6% picked the Vols to win
  • No. 12 seeds Stephen F. Austin, Harvard and North Dakota State
    • Just 4.2% of brackets correctly picked all three no. 12 seeds to defeat their no. 5 opponents in the Round of 64
    • Stephen F. Austin was the least popular pick of the three with just 20.9% of brackets predicting they would win over no. 5 VCU
    • Harvard’s upset over no. 5 Cincinnati was the most popular pick of the three, predicted by 31.3% of brackets
    • 23.6% of brackets correctly picked North Dakota State over no. 5 Oklahoma

Taking a look at picks of teams advancing to the Sweet Sixteen by region:

·         South – Only 9,206 brackets (0.1%) accurately picked Florida, UCLA, Dayton and Stanford

·         Midwest – Just 117,220 brackets (1.1%) correctly predicted Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Michigan

·         West8.8% of brackets accurately picked Arizona, San Diego State, Baylor and Wisconsin

·         East9.8% of brackets correctly predicted Virginia, Michigan State, Iowa State and Connecticut

Looking ahead to the Sweet Sixteen, FiveThirtyEight’s NCAA Tournament predictions reveal:

  • SouthFlorida is a heavy favorite to advance to the Elite Eight with a 72% chance, while Dayton vs. Stanford splits the odds with an even 50/50 chance of winning
  • MidwestLouisville and Michigan are predicted to move on from the Sweet Sixteen with a 68% and 53% chance, respectively
  • WestArizona is the overall favorite to advance to the Elite Eight with a 73% chance, while Wisconsin has a 59% chance of winning
  • EastConnecticut vs. Michigan State is the most likely match-up in the Elite Eight, with a 52% and 51% chance to move on, respectively

Fans submitted more than 11.01 million brackets to ESPN.com’s Men’s Tournament Challenge, an all-time record high surpassing last year’s record of nearly 8.15 million brackets by 35.1 percent.  At the peak period, fans registered 11,983 brackets per minute (199 brackets per second).  Among them was President Barack Obama, who currently sits in the 73.7th percentile with a rank of 2,895,198 in the men’s tournament.  He was one of 11.2% of brackets that correctly picked no. 12 seeds Harvard and North Dakota State to advance in the Round of 64.  His Final Four picks heading into the Sweet Sixteen are still in play (Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Louisville).  Additionally, the Mike & Mike Werner Ladder Bracket Challenge group includes a total of 985,000 brackets, by far the largest group in Men’s Tournament Challenge history.

Through the Round of 64 and Round of 32, Men’s Tournament Challenge and NCAA Men’s Basketball content on ESPN.com across desktop, mobile Web and the ESPN Tournament Challenge and SportsCenter apps logged an average minute audience of 373,000, up 11 percent compared to the same time period last year.  Across platforms, there were more than 5.5 million unique visitors per day to Men’s Tournament Challenge (up 21 percent) and 9.9 million unique visitors per day to the NCAA Men’s Basketball section across ESPN.com, mobile web, and the SportsCenter app (up 21 percent).

A full round-by-round breakdown of picks can be found under “Who Picked Whom” on ESPN.com, listing the percentage of participants who selected each team to win in each respective round.  At the end of the tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for the $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card prize.

ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge

The “National Bracket” in ESPN.com’s Women’s Tournament Challenge presented by Capital One showed more fans picked no. 1 seeds Notre Dame, Tennessee, Connecticut and no. 2 seed Stanford to reach the Final Four than any other teams.  After two days of competition, only one bracket remains perfect in Women’s Tournament Challenge on ESPN.com.  An analysis of all brackets submitted reveals:

  • 13% of brackets correctly picked no. 12 BYU to upset no. 5 North Carolina State, including President Obama
  • 29% of brackets picked no. 10 Florida State to win against no. 7 Iowa State
  • 42% of brackets accurately predicted no. 9 Arizona State over no. 8 Vanderbilt

 

President Obama’s women’s bracket went 23 for 32 in the Round of 64 and currently sits in the 18.5th percentile.  His Final Four picks are still in play (Connecticut, Stanford, Notre Dame and Louisville).

Entries that finish in the top 1% of the Women’s Tournament Challenge are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card

Men’s College Basketball: Exclusive Coverage of Every NIT Game across ESPN Networks

espn-logoMen’s College Basketball: Exclusive Coverage of Every NIT Game across ESPN Networks
 
ESPN’s exclusive coverage of the entire 77th National Invitation Tournament (NIT) will begin with all 16 first-round games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 over Tuesday, March 18, and Wednesday, March 19. The networks will follow the first round with all eight second-round matchups (March 20-24), the four quarterfinals (March 25-26), both semifinals (April 1) and Championship (April 3).
 
Every NIT game on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 will also be available via WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on Apple TV to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
 
The 32-team field for the oldest tournament in college basketball was announced Sunday, March 16, during the ESPNU NIT Selection Show and includes teams representing 23 conferences. The field includes 23 programs with at least 20 wins, and 13 teams that qualified automatically for winning their regular-season conference title without receiving an NCAA Championship bid.  The top seeds are Florida State, Minnesota, St. John’s and SMU.
 
St. John’s, making its NIT record 30th appearance, is one of six teams in the 2014 event that appeared in the 2013 NIT: Florida State, Indiana State, Louisiana Tech, Robert Morris and Southern Miss. Florida Gulf Coast, which reached the Sweet Sixteen in last season’s NCAA Championship, will be one of three teams to play in the NIT for the first time: High Point and Utah Valley.
2014 NIT First Round Schedule:
 
Date Time (ET) Game Network
Tue, March 18 7 p.m. NIT First Round: West Virginia at Georgetown
Mike Patrick & Dan Dakich
ESPN
7 p.m. NIT First Round: Florida Gulf Coast at Florida State
Mark Jones & Darrin Horn
ESPN2
7 p.m. NIT First Round: Robert Morris at St. John’s
Dave Pasch & Tim Welsh
ESPNU
8:15 p.m. NIT First Round: High Point at Minnesota
Clay Matvick & Mark Wise
ESPN3
8:15 p.m. NIT First Round: Belmont at Green Bay
Jim Barbar & Sean Harrington
ESPN3
9 p.m. NIT First Round: Indiana State at Arkansas
Brad Nessler & Jimmy Dykes
ESPN
9 p.m. NIT First Round: Davidson at Missouri
Bob Wischusen & Malcolm Huckaby
ESPN2
9 p.m. NIT First Round: Georgia State at Clemson
Tom Hart & Bob Valvano
ESPNU
11 p.m. NIT First Round: Utah at St. Mary’s
Dave Flemming & Sean Farnham
ESPN2
Wed, March 19 7 p.m. NIT First Round: Illinois at Boston University
Sean McDonough & Tim Welsh
ESPN2
7:30 p.m. NIT First Round: Iona at Louisiana Tech
Brett Dolan & Daymeon Fishback
ESPN3
8 p.m. NIT First Round: Vermont at Georgia
Joe Davis & Dino Gaudio
ESPNU
8:30 p.m. NIT First Round: Toledo at Southern Miss
Roy Philpott & Joe Dean
ESPN3
9 p.m. NIT First Round: UC Irvine at SMU
John Saunders & Fran Fraschilla
ESPN2
10 p.m. NIT First Round: LSU at San Francisco
Roxy Bernstein & Bill Walton
ESPNU
10:30 p.m. NIT First Round: Utah Valley at California
Trey Bender & Jon Crispin
ESPN3
 
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Men’s College Basketball: ESPN Analysts Thoughts from Selection Sunday; Make Final Four Picks

espn-logo
ESPN’s extensive multiplatform coverage of Selection Sunday, March 16, included instant and in-depth analysis across studio shows on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Rece Davis hosted live coverage of up-to-the-minute tournament selection updates on ESPN’s 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter with analysts Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Greg Shaheen, Dick Vitale and Jay Williams. Following SportsCenter, ESPN aired a two-hour Bracketology Presented by Staples at 7 p.m. with Davis, Bilas, Seth Greenberg, Phelps, Vitale and Williams. The coverage included analysis, discussion on the field, upset predictions, final four picks and more.
 
On overall selections:
Shaheen: “The committee did a good job and seemed to focus on geography in the west region, and given a bit on the quality side.”
Vitale on Louisville seeding: “I thought they should have been a one seed, I could have understood a two seed. Bottom line is the eye test, and there is no way they should be the four seed.”
Shaheen on Louisville seeding: “It is reflective of their conference play. There is undoubtedly the influence of that. The availability of quality games within conference and the failure to take on non-conference competition gave the committee reason to move them further up. This region has two interesting scenarios that play out from earlier in the season, Duke beat Michigan early in the season and is seeded lower than them, and Kentucky beat Louisville. Kentucky is an eight seed and Louisville is a four.”
Bilas on SMU not getting in: “It is a fair call. Because of their number of top 50 wins. If you don’t have those numbers available in your league then you need to go out and get them.”
 
Thoughts on Wichita State
Bilas: “They will out tough Kentucky, but Louisville will beat them in the round of 32.”
Vitale: “I respect what they have done. The Missouri Valley Conference, on the road, is a tough place to win. Last year, I said [No. 1] Gonzaga would lose to Wichita State in the [third round]. This year, I think Kentucky can really change the perception of the year they have had by beating Wichita State. I look for Kentucky to beat Wichita State. They will have to be sensational to beat Wichita State, but I think they will rise to the occasion.”
Williams on returning to the Final Four: “I don’t see it. I think they are a very tough minded team and I think Fred VanVleet is one of the top point guards in the country, probably top two, him and [Florida’s] Scottie Wilbekin. Look at the path they have to take. Kentucky is hitting their stride right now; they’re playing really good basketball. And unfortunately for a team like Wichita State, Louisville gets the four seed in their bracket and we were just having a conversation about Louisville potentially being a one seed.”
 
Thoughts on Michigan State
Bilas: “I have felt from the beginning that healthy and together, Michigan State is the best team in the country. I think they are capable of getting to the Final Four.”
Greenberg: “Michigan State, to me, is a team that will make a deep, deep run to a national championship.”
 
Bilas on Arizona:  “A nightmare scenario for Arizona is playing Oklahoma State in the [third round] game. That is not a no-brainer. Oklahoma State could win.”
 
Bilas on UCLA: “UCLA is not a great defensive team or rebounding team. They are more vulnerable in their first game [vs. Tulsa] than second [vs. either VCU or Stephen F. Austin].”
 
Vitale on Kansas:  “Without [Joel] Embiid, I don’t think [Kansas] can beat New Mexico [in the third round]. I thought [New Mexico received] a raw deal with a seven seed. Without Embiid, Kansas would have a hard time handling [New Mexico’s] size in the middle.”
 
Phelps on Wisconsin: “[Bo Ryan] always teaches consistency and always teaches team defense and offense where you get in a rhythm. [Frank] Kaminsky, inside, has become the x-factor for them. He can go inside, outside, and he has been the go to guy.”
 
Bilas on Creighton’s Doug McDermott: “He was the best player this year, hands down. He deserves everything he has gotten, including the Wooden Award.”
 
12 seed most likely to beat a five seed
Vitale: “NC State or Xavier, the winner of that game, I think they advance and beat Saint Louis.”
Phelps: “It would not surprise me to see North Dakota State knock off Oklahoma”
 
13 seed most likely to beat a four seed
Jay Bilas: “Tulsa is the one I would pick, I don’t think it’s going to happen, but they are the one I would pick.”

 
Semifinal and Championship Predictions
Analyst Semifinal Picks Championship Winner
Jay Bilas Kansas vs. Michigan State & Wisconsin vs. Louisville Michigan State vs. Louisville Michigan State
Seth Greenberg Florida vs. Michigan State & Arizona vs. Duke Michigan State vs. Duke Michigan State
Digger Phelps Florida vs. Michigan State & Oklahoma State vs. Duke Michigan State vs. Oklahoma State Michigan State
Jay Williams Florida vs. Michigan State & Wisconsin vs. Louisville Michigan State vs. Louisville Michigan State
Dick Vitale Florida vs. Michigan State & Arizona vs. Louisville Michigan State vs. Louisville Michigan State
 
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2014 NCAA Tournament Tip Times and Talent Release

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaAnnounce Teams Set for NCAA First Four™ and Second Round Coverage

CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will tip off with the NCAA First Four™ on truTV presented by Northwestern Mutual on Tuesday, March 18, and Wednesday, March 19 (6 p.m. ET; both days). Second round game coverage will begin Thursday, March 20, and Friday, March 21 (Noon-Midnight; both days) with all games available live in their entirety across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. Additionally, truTV will televise a one-hour pregame show Thursday and Friday at 11 a.m.

Brian Anderson and Dan Bonner will call Tuesday’s First Four games with reporter Kristine Leahy.  Kevin Harlan will team with analysts Len Elmore and Reggie Miller and reporter Rachel Nichols for Wednesday’s games. Studio coverage for the First Four will originate from Atlanta with Matt Winer hosting alongside analysts Seth Davis, Grant Hill and Steve Smith both days.

Following are the tip times for the First Four games, as well as the commentator assignments for the second round games. Tip times for the third round games on Saturday will be announced on Thursday after the conclusion of the day’s games. Sunday’s tip times will be released after the conclusion of play on Friday.

The Final Four on Saturday, April 5, will be televised on TBS for the first time along with “teamcasts” or team-specific telecasts airing on TNT and truTV. The National Championship Game on Monday, April 7, will air on CBS for the 33rd consecutive year.

First Round Games

Tuesday, March 18

 

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton I Albany vs. Mount St. Mary’s Brian Anderson/Dan Bonner//Kristine Leahy
After conc. I truTV Dayton II North Carolina State vs. Xavier Anderson/Bonner//Leahy


First Round Games

Wednesday, March 19

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton I Cal Poly vs. Texas Southern Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller//Rachel Nichols
After conc. I truTV Dayton II Iowa vs. Tennessee Harlan/Elmore/Miller/Nichols


Second Round Games

Thursday Afternoon, March 20 (Noon-6 p.m. ET)

 

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
12:15 p.m. CBS Buffalo I Ohio State vs. Dayton Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Allie LaForce
12:40 p.m. truTV Milwaukee I Wisconsin vs. American Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel//Lewis Johnson
1:40 p.m. TBS Orlando I Colorado vs. Pittsburgh Anderson/Bonner//Leahy
2:10 p.m. TNT Spokane I Cincinnati vs. Harvard Spero Dedes/Doug Gottlieb//Jaime Maggio
After conc. I CBS Buffalo II Syracuse vs. Western Michigan Lundquist/ Raftery// LaForce
After conc. I truTV Milwaukee II Oregon vs. BYU Eagle/Spanarkel// Johnson
After conc. I TBS Orlando II Florida vs. Albany/Mount St. Mary’s Anderson/Bonner//Leahy
After conc. I TNT Spokane II Michigan State vs. Delaware Dedes/Gottlieb//Maggio


Second Round Games

Thursday Evening, March 20 (6:30 p.m.-Midnight ET)

(Announce Teams Same as Day Games)

 

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:55 p.m. TBS Buffalo III Connecticut vs.

Saint Joseph’s

Lundquist/ Raftery// LaForce
7:10 p.m. CBS Milwaukee III Michigan vs. Wofford Eagle/Spanarkel// Johnson
7:20 p.m. TNT Orlando III St. Louis vs.

N.C. State/Xavier

Anderson/Bonner//Leahy
7:27 p.m. truTV Spokane III Oklahoma vs.

North Dakota State

Dedes/Gottlieb//Maggio
After conc. III TBS Buffalo IV Villanova vs. Milwaukee Lundquist/ Raftery// LaForce
After conc. III CBS Milwaukee IV Texas vs. Arizona State Eagle/Spanarkel// Johnson
After conc. III TNT Orlando IV Louisville vs. Manhattan Anderson/Bonner//Leahy
After conc. III truTV Spokane IV San Diego State vs. New Mexico State Dedes/Gottlieb//Maggio

 

Second Round Games

Friday Afternoon, March 21 (Noon-6 p.m. ET)

 

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
12:15 p.m. CBS Raleigh I Duke vs. Mercer Harlan/Elmore/Miller/Nichols
12:40 p.m. truTV San Antonio I Baylor vs. Nebraska Marv Albert/Steve Kerr//Craig Sager
1:40 p.m. TBS St. Louis I New Mexico vs. Stanford Jim Nantz/Greg Anthony//Tracy Wolfson
2:10 p.m. TNT San Diego I Arizona vs. Weber State Andrew Catalon/Mike Gminski//Otis Livingston
After conc. I CBS Raleigh II Massachusetts vs. Iowa/Tennessee Harlan/Elmore/Miller/Nichols
After conc. I truTV San Antonio II Creighton vs.

Louisiana Lafayette

Albert/Kerr//Sager
After conc. I TBS St. Louis II Kansas vs. Eastern Kentucky Nantz/Anthony//Wolfson
After conc. I TNT San Diego II Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State Catalon/Gminski//Livingston

 

Second Round Games

Friday Evening, March 21 (6:30 p.m.-Midnight ET)

(Announce Teams Same as Day Games)

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:55 p.m. TBS Raleigh III Memphis vs. George Washington Harlan/Elmore/Miller/Nichols
7:10 p.m. CBS St. Louis III Wichita State vs.

Cal Poly/Texas Southern

Nantz/Anthony//Wolfson
7:20 p.m. TNT San Antonio III North Carolina vs. Providence Albert/Kerr//Sager
7:27 p.m. truTV San Diego III VCU vs.

Stephen F. Austin

Catalon/Gminski//Livingston
After conc. III TBS Raleigh IV Virginia vs.

Coastal Carolina

Harlan/Elmore/Miller/Nichols
After conc. III CBS St. Louis IV Kentucky vs. Kansas State Nantz/Anthony//Wolfson
After conc. III TNT San Antonio IV Iowa State vs.

N.C. Central

Albert/Kerr//Sager
After conc. III truTV San Diego IV UCLA vs. Tulsa Catalon/Gminski//Livingston

 

Follow us on Twitter: @MarchMadnessTV for schedule updates and the latest NCAA Tournament broadcast news and information.

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