Brady vs. Manning Features Highlight Week 9 NFL Content on ESPN

Sunday NFL Countdown logoBrady vs. Manning Features Highlight Week 9 NFL Content on ESPN

Sunday NFL Countdown: Brady and Manning – Best of SNL; Cardinals WR John Brown; Seahawks Gnome; and More

Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis will preview week 8 on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m. Anchor/host Wendi Nix will handle select segments, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.

ESPN reporters at game sites:

·         Cardinals at Cowboys (Ed Werder and Ron Jaworski)

·         Eagles at Texans (Josina Anderson)

·         Chargers at Dolphins (Britt McHenry)

·         Broncos at Patriots (Sal Paolantonio)

Features:

·         Brady and Manning – Best of SNL: Off the field, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have both served as guest hosts of Saturday Night Live, America’s premier sketch comedy and variety show. Countdown presents some of the best moments of these two quarterbacks hosting SNL.

·         Playing with Manning and Brady: In their own words, some of the players who have played with both quarterbacks – WR Wes Welker, C Dan Koppen and DT/FB Dan Klecko – share the similarities, differences, strengths and weaknesses of these Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks.

·         Brady-Manning – Through the Years: Countdown relives the journey for Brady and Manning with a vignette dating back to their childhood, through pee wee football, high school, college football, and their careers in the NFL.

·         Aqib Talib: In a one-on-one conversation with Countdown’s Michelle Beisner, Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, formerly with the Patriots, discusses being teammates with Manning and Brady, playing for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and more

·         Arizona Cardinals’ John Brown: After watching his half-brother James Walker die following nine months in a coma after being shot, John Brown vowed to make it to the NFL – a dream that bound the two brothers together. SportsCenter host Jade McCarthy, in her first report for Countdown, tells how the Cardinals rookie receiver has turned the tragedy into a motivating force behind his success in the National Football League.

·         The Seattle Gnome: After the Seahawks won the Super Bowl last season, a Seattle couple had the Seahawks gnome in their garden stolen. The gnome mysteriously re-appeared on the opening night of the 2014 season, along with a calendar of pictures showing the many places the gnome had travelled – San Francisco, Yellowstone Park, Las Vegas, and more. ESPN.com’s Greg Garber chronicles the mysterious off-season journey of a Seahawks gnome.

·         Frank Caliendo – Jon Gruden, The History Teacher: Countdown comedian Frank Caliendo plays ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden as an American history teacher, including a Bob Ley cameo role as the school principal.

Andrew Luck and the Colts Face Eli Manning and the Giants on ESPN’s Monday Night Football

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts will face Eli Manning and the New York Giants on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Nov. 3, at 8:15 p.m. The MNF booth team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the game from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., with sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

MNF is also televised on ESPN Deportes and available on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

The ESPN NFL lineup Monday begins with NFL Primetime (2 p.m.), followed by NFL Insiders (3 p.m.), NFL Live (4 p.m.) and the MNF pregame show Monday Night Countdown at 6 p.m. Countdown will originate from New Jersey with Suzy Kolber and NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young and from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., with studio host Chris Berman, NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Monday Night Countdown features:

·         Soundtracks – Andrew Luck: In his third NFL season, Luck leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns and has thrown for 300+ yards in six straight games.  Luck, wired for in-game audio during the Colts’ week 5 win over the Ravens, is the subject of this week’s Soundtracks.

·         Gruden’s Grill Session with Ahmad Bradshaw: MNF’s Gruden sits with Colts running back Bradshaw, who talks about the matchup against his former team in this week’s Grill Session.

·         Rick Reilly’s Feature – Steve Weatherford: Weatherford might not only have the best physique on the New York Giants team, the punter is arguably at the top among active NFL players. Countdown’s Reilly reports on Weatherford’s non-stop energy in the gym, as well as his service to the community.

NFL Matchup – Patriots Defense vs. Manning; Carson Palmer to John Brown; Roethlisberger Throwing with Anticipation; and More

NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via fill room Xs and Os analysis Saturday, Nov. 1, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 3:30 a.m.).  Highlights:

·         Inside the Matchup – Patriots Defense vs. Manning: Jaworski and Hoge take a deep dive into how the Patriots will mix up their defensive schemes against Broncos receivers to stall the Peyton Manning-led offense.

·         X and O Files – Tom Brady Sack vs. Chiefs: In a key matchup versus a speedy Broncos pass rush, the Patriots offensive line must protect Tom Brady better than they did against the Chiefs’ in week 4.

·         Blitz Breakdown – Redskins Pressure Confuses Romo: The Redskins were able to bring pressure and disrupt the Cowboys passing game – something Tony Romo and his offensive line must fix before their matchup with the heavy-blitzing Arizona Cardinals defense.

·         Game Changer – Carson Palmer to John Brown: The Cardinals designed a perfect play to beat the Eagles defense last week, creating a matchup for speedy rookie wide receiver John Brown for the winning score.

·         Anatomy of a Play – Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill shows his development as a passer by throwing a perfect touchdown to receiver Mike Wallace in the back of the end zone.

·         Hoge Breakdown – Roethlisberger Throwing with Anticipation: Hoge shows how the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger found his groove against the Colts, making perfect throws to his receivers by trusting they would be open against tight coverage.

·         Between the Lines – Luck to Hilton Touchdown: Jaworski explains how the big play ability of receiver T.Y. Hilton, and the downfield passing attack of the Colts, will be key in this week’s matchup against the Giants.

·         Coaches Clicker – Arian Foster’s Big Numbers: Jaworski and Hoge contend that if Houston wants to beat Philadelphia on Sunday, they will have to feed the ball to running back Arian Foster, who is compiling an impressive season in a well-designed running game. 

NFL on ESPN Radio: Nick Foles and the Eagles at J.J. Watt and the Texans Sunday

On Sunday, Nov. 2, at 12 p.m., ESPN Radio will broadcast Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles visiting J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. Play-by-play voice Mark Kestecher will describe the action with reporter Ian Fitzsimmons.

Mike & Mike Celebrate Halloween in Foxborough on Fall Football Tour

ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike will broadcast live from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31, as part of ESPN Audio’s annual Fall Football Tour.  The show will preview the New England Patriots game against the Denver Broncos this weekend, and will feature Greeny and Golic dressed in Patriots-themed costumes.  Mike & Mike airs weekdays 6 – 10 a.m. on ESPN Radio via terrestrial stations, ESPNRadio.com, the ESPN Radio app, SiriusXM, iTunes Radio, Slacker, TuneIn and is simulcast on ESPN2.

Also, the show launched its “Who’s In? Mike & Mike at the College Football Playoff” contest earlier this week, in which listeners have the opportunity to win a trip to the College Football Championship game in Dallas.

ESPN.com NFL “Hot Read”

Ahead of the matchup between the two top NFL quarterbacks – Tom Brady and Peyton Manning – ESPN.com features a three-pronged “Hot Read” on the matchup. Highlights:

·         Brady-Manning Finish Line: Insight from a roundtable of eight ESPN experts – Mike Reiss, Jackie MacMullan, Jeff Saturday, Bill Williamson, Kevin Seifert, Tedy Bruschi, Jeff Legwold and Field Yates – on what to expect in the last few years of the Hall of Fame careers of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

·         The ESPN Stats and Info blog delves into numbers and analysis via a “Next-Level” look inside the matchup of Brady vs. Manning.

·         Broncos-Patriots Salary Comparison: While Denver seems to have gone all-in on quarterback Peyton Manning’s championship window, New England seems unwilling to mortgage the future for Tom Brady. ESPN.com NFL Nation writer Kevin Seifert on how both organizations are building their teams to take advantage of the championship windows of their Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks.

E:60 Profiles Cam Newton

ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine, E:60, will profile Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton on Tuesday, Nov. 4 (8 p.m., ESPN). Summary:

Cam Newton is used to being number one. He was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He led his Auburn Tigers to the 2010 BCS National Championship. That season he also won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award and the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s top quarterback. Even his jersey with the Panthers is #1. It’s been this way since his father pushed him into youth football, and since he starred as a high school quarterback in Atlanta, GA. Greatness has been always been expected of Newton. But now in his fourth season with Carolina, many are wondering if he will reach the same heights in the NFL. Reporting for E:60, ESPN First Take host Cari Champion tells the story of the immensely talented Cam Newton, to whom much was given, and of whom even more is expected. Newton recounts, along with his father, the past incidents that cast doubt upon his integrity, and describes the maturation that could ultimately deliver the NFL success so many expect. Preview.

 

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Transcript: ABC & ESPN NBA Countdown Season Preview Media Conference Call

NBA_on_ABCABC and ESPN NBA Countdown analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins discussed the start of the 2014-15 NBA season on a media conference call. ESPN’s NBA season tips off Wednesday, Oct. 29, beginning with an hour-long NBA Countdown at 7 p.m. ET with Rose, Collins and host Sage Steele. The program will feature a live performance by International recording artist Aloe Blacc. Following Countdown, the Chicago Bulls and the returning Derrick Rose will visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony at 8 p.m. while the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard will host the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook at 10:30 p.m.
Here is the replay of today’s conference call.
Q.  With a couple of the top title contenders this year coming in San Antonio, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, while some of the big markets rebuild, I was wondering if you think that it’s a good thing for the league that a lot of the top teams and most marketable stars are in smaller markets rather than bigger markets now?
 
JALEN ROSE:  Well, a couple of things.  The game has graduated with social media, international and world presence, television sponsors – to where you can get the game and get the experience on so many different avenues. You know how people today basically watch television on their phone as they’re moving around.
So playing for a storied franchise – the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets – it’s not necessary per se to continue to make big time endorsement dollars, to continue to be the face of a franchise that’s successful, to be in one of those markets.  So if you’re a really good player like a Kevin Durant who gets drafted by Oklahoma City, you can become the MVP of the league and get exorbitant dollars from a shoe company, and at that point it’s all about winning.  It doesn’t work out for everybody like it worked out for Kobe Bryant getting five championships and spending his entire career in LA or even a Carmelo Anthony who just got a max deal.
If you’re in a good situation now, instead of chasing a large market like Kevin Love could have, he chose to chase the championship rings to Cleveland, something LeBron James couldn’t get people to do a handful of years ago.
Q.  I’m going to go parochial here with the Heat.  What do you expect from them this year?
       
ROSE:  I’ve got to see how many games Dwyane Wade is going to play, just like everyone else.  He has a few different phases to his career and that’s what happens when you become a veteran.  You reinvent yourself on and off the floor. He’s been really mature and handled himself like a leader and a champion off the floor, but on the floor early in the career, it was drive to the basket, contest and/or block shots, one or two spectacular dunks a game, Finals MVP champion.
Then there was what I consider, I guess, The Flash versus Flashes stage where you’ve got LeBron. First year he plays 76 games.  This past year he missed 28 games. Four Finals, two championships.
Now can he be that guy again that the team can rely on to play over 65 games?  I don’t know health wise if he’s going to be able to hold up, and because of that, that’s what’s going to make it a tough season for the Miami Heat, especially based on the recent success they’ve had.
Q.  I know the city of Boston has changed dramatically since you were in the league and you came out in ’94.  What would be your impressions for the city as a free agent destination?  They’re going to have cap space next summer, and obviously Doc is not here to sell the team, nor is Garnett or Pierce or Allen.  It’s going to have to be maybe Rondo or if not, a bunch of young guys.  How do you see Boston as a free agent destination?
       
ROSE:  Now if you’re a city like Boston where you haven’t been able to land terrific superstar level free agents other than your big three scenario with KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. It was literally a perfect storm with Doc Rivers standing on the sideline, a young Rajon Rondo, who developed into a high-level point guard.  That was more of the exception than the rule.
I know that they flirted somewhat with Kevin Love and didn’t get too far on trying to attract him as a free agent.  I think when you’re one of those destinations like Boston, you have to draft real well and hope that one of the guys that you’re taking with all the picks you’ve been stockpiling for the last few years either becomes a player that’s already under contract from another team that really has no choice but to come and play there, even if he wouldn’t sign as a free agent, or hope that one of those players turns into a multi-time All-Star that can play alongside Rajon Rondo.  Since that has not happened, you kind of have the picks, you kind of have the money.  You’ve still got Rondo, but you’re not contending in any way, shape or form, and you have the cap space next year.
I think it’s going to be crucial to see what happens with Rondo.  They have to turn him into a player and/or a few players that are going to be multi All Stars, and then once you’re able to do that and you’re a winner again, people always want to try to play for a winner.
Q.  How much does the city itself, obviously with Miami and LA it does, but in terms of just the money you get versus the city you’re playing in, can Milwaukee or Sacramento attract free agents if they have the right amount of money?
       
ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I joke all of the time, keep getting them checks.  You’ve got enough money, you’ll get some players.  Now, the thing is, is it going to be the New York Knicks?  You sign Amar’e Stoudemire, it doesn’t turn out, all of a sudden you bring in Andrea Bargnani, you’re paying him over $10 million to go with Melo and Tyson Chandler. All of a sudden you’ve got the highest-paid front court in the NBA’s history, yet you’re not a playoff team.
So you want to be responsible with how you spend the money, but the second part of the league as the finances start to change and everybody knows the new TV deal is going to be in play, there are players who have role-player statistics now looking for max dollars. So when you see what they ended up having to pay for Avery Bradley, who I really like his game, he’s tough defensively. He’s learned to make an open shot, and he is somebody you can have in the game the last two minutes.  If you take his salary base, if you’re going to be a great team, he’s probably going to be your fourth or fifth highest-paid player.  So who are those other guys?  That becomes the dilemma.
Q.  My question specifically is about the Philadelphia 76ers and what you feel about Sam Hinkie’s approach toward turning this team from a loser to supposedly building it into a winner, and he seems to think it’s maybe the only way you can do it in the NBA.  Do you agree?
       
ROSE:  There are a lot of different ways to do it, so just because you get the No. 1 pick, that guy has only went on to win a championship with that team – if it was Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan, those are the only No. 1 picks that have gone on to win titles with the team that drafted them.  It’s not an exact science that tanking is going to get you a great player or a franchise championship player, or it’s going to turn around your forces.  You still need Nerlens Noel to become that shot blocker he was at Kentucky and play hopefully reminiscent of how Jermaine O’Neal played.  He kind of reminded me of him; Jermaine has a softer touch.  You hope he grows into that kind of player.
You hope Embiid becomes a guy that was worthy to be the No. 1 pick. He was a game changer defensively in college and all of a sudden you’ve got two rim protectors to go with Michael Carter-Williams, who was the Rookie of the Year.
But now, what price do you pay as fans?  How long are you willing to wait?  Because Philadelphia does have knowledgeable fans but also ticket prices are so exorbitant in today’s landscape. If you support your team, are you going to spend your money to support your team, which makes it bad for the rest of the league because what happens when other teams that are moderate come to town, a .500 team comes on a Wednesday night?  You have guys taking pictures like he did last year, a guy I think bought basically a whole roll of tickets for $75.  So that becomes bad for the entire league.
Hopefully if that is the plan, which they’re definitely engrained to have that as being the plan, this is the last year for that for everybody involved.
And one other thing that affects that is it’s a league issue.  It’s when you decide that you can pay rookies 500K or first year contract or people in their first contract $500,000 but a 10-year veteran is around $1.5 million. It waters down the roster to where not only do you have a team that’s struggling, but you have a team of young guys that aren’t experienced that are struggling. So they don’t understand how to be professionals and bring it every night, compete every possession, still work hard in practice, know what to say to the media, still be involved in the community.  Those are learned behaviors because of the reasons of trying to save money that teams hurt their roster from just having a competitive team on a nightly basis.
Q.  I’ve got a couple Bulls questions.  How much of an upgrade do you think Pau Gasol will be over Carlos Boozer, and how would you compare Joakim Noah’s game?
       
ROSE:  I think the Chicago Bulls on paper right now, you’d have to argue the players that they’re going to have playing minutes at the four and five position, and I’m including McDermott because of his size, I’m including Mirotic because of his size even though they’re rookies, and I think the team drafted well to add those two guys.  But when you have Pau – who averaged 17 points last year, still is a factor around the basket and is a really good passer high low and he’s an unselfish player and he’s a cerebral player to go with an all-NBA performer in Noah, who was the Defensive Player of the Year, and then add Taj Gibson, who they still have, who can finish over the top, who’s tough to the point where they allow Carlos Boozer to be expendable because he’s so good defensively in the fourth quarter. That’s as formidable as it gets, and that’s what I’m looking at when you compare them to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
You know what you’re going to get from Kevin Love.  You can book his 20 plus and 10 plus.  Tristan Thompson, he was close to a double-double last year.  Is he going to be consistent?  Can he stay out of foul trouble?  How many games are you going to get from Varejao?  I’m not really a big believer in Haywood at this point of his career playing quality playoff minutes.
If I had to go interior and give a team the edge, it would be the Bulls, and that’s why at this point of the season, if I had to pick who I felt like was going to come out of the East, it would be Chicago for those reasons.
Q.  So I take it you have really high expectations for Derrick Rose this year then?
       
ROSE:  Yes, I like a guy that can get 30 points in 24 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Coach Collins broke down a play on our Countdown show where it was 0-0 and Derrick Rose got a long outlet, dribbled up the left side, went over a high pick and roll, drove right to the basket and laid it up.  So what that showed me is that that’s another thing that’s going to make that rivalry great.  Kyrie can boogie with the ball.  I joked that he’s like, I guess, Turbo and Breakin’ outside of the store dancing with a broom.  He can really make it happen, but he has to learn as well as Love and even Waiters to compete defensively.
Chicago has a toughness about them.  They have a defensive identity, and they have the coach in the league with the highest win percentage that has never won a championship in Tom Thibodeau.  They have those pieces in place, and I think they could be ready to take that leap.
Q.  What do you think about Chris Bosh as a No. 1 option offensively at this point?
 
ROSE:  When you look down at the stat sheet, I think he’s still going to be 18 points, shoot a high percentage, cause matchup problems for the opposing four.  He’s shown that he can be an All Star level player, whether in Toronto, and/or a champion in Miami, who’s clutch.  He makes big shots at the end of the games.  But the difference is the wear and tear that’s going to happen with him now having to play closer to the basket, doing more post ups, and grabbing more rebounds.  That’s the biggest decrease that I’ve seen in his game is that as he’s shot more threes and basically it was because of their system that was successful for that team, that took him away from the paint, and he got less rebounds.
So he’s going to be in there trying to get more rebounds and be more of a physical presence, and it’s going to be good.  I think he’s going to be able to live up to the fact that they need him to score buckets, but they’re going to need a lot more points from that roster than he’s going to be able to deliver, I think.
Q.  Two quick questions:  One quick one with regards to the Wizards and your thoughts about the entire Southeast Division, and secondly, your thoughts about the Cavaliers’ first year coach, David Blatt?
 
ROSE:  I’ll go Coach David Blatt first because it was last and it was fresh.  Having LeBron James, Kevin Love and also Kyrie Irving with the fact that he is a really successful championship international coach that’s been really creative with his teams, and his players have really enjoyed playing for him, playing in his system – the way that he wants them to move the basketball and not really play a lot of isolation – for that I think they’re going to be one of the most efficient teams that we’ve seen in the league.
If I had to pick two players to play with LeBron just from an offensive standpoint, it would be Kyrie Irving and it would be Kevin Love.  When is the last time that guy has played on a team where one guy is going to get the rebound, somebody else is going to get the outlet, and he can actually be on a 2-on-1 break trying to dunk on someone?  I’m excited to see that.
Q.  Not since college.
 
ROSE:  I joked that the best point guard that he’s probably played against his high school was Rich Paul.  And the second question?
Q.  The Washington Wizards and your assessment of the entire Southeast Division.
 
ROSE:  The Washington Wizards, I really enjoyed seeing the emergence of John Wall, becoming an All Star caliber player.  It’s hard sometimes as a point guard where that’s the toughest position on a nightly basis in the league to come into your own, and he ended up staying healthy last year and became an All Star level player.  Couple him with Bradley Beal, I really like them as a young, talented backcourt.  I affectionately call them Hustle and Flow.
You bring in a Paul Pierce. The last two or three minutes of a game, Paul Pierce has shown that he’s a guy that you want the basketball in his hands because he can make plays with the best of them.
You’re really going to lose Trevor Ariza’s athleticism, his defense, his ability to switch multiple positions, and he has quick hands, so I think they’re going to miss that.  Can Nene stay healthy?  When you look at him, whether it was in Denver, every time I see him, I was like, wow, if that guy could stay healthy, he could be an All-Star caliber player, and then he just had health issue after health issue. You saw what he can bring if he’s healthy come playoff time, what he did in this past playoffs, and Gortat, who they just signed to new deal, that’s a real formidable four/five.  They basically remade their bench and those guys have got to prove their worth.
As far as the entire division?
Q.  Do you feel it to be kind of an up for grabs situation, that there’s Washington, there’s Miami, there’s Carolina, literally any number of teams that could really jump in there and take it?
 
ROSE:  Absolutely, but I want to grade Miami on a curve for a second.  They’re getting graded on having Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and going to four straight Finals, okay.  The other teams in this division still have a lot of work to do, and they did add Luol Deng, and I don’t think that they’re going to be an Eastern Conference finalist, but don’t be surprised if the Heat are a playoff team.
Atlanta, I love Al Horford.  He’s going to back in the lineup.  You put him back with Millsap, they’re a team no one really talks much about.  They can also be in the playoffs again.
Lance Stephenson is now with Charlotte.  Put him with Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker, they’re quietly putting their team together, who’s going to make three point shots for that squad.
And Orlando, they’re dealing with Oladipo’s injury, and I really like Vucevic and Tobias Harris.  It is a division that’s up for grabs, but don’t be surprised when the smoke clears if the Heat is not a lot closer to the top than people really realize on paper.
Q.  A couple more Cavs questions:  Starting with LeBron’s thing that the offense that they’re running is unlike anything he’s done in his 11 years in the league, and in watching the preseason games, have you picked up on any of that that you could explain to us as to what they’re doing that’s so different than the rest of the league is doing?
       
ROSE:  LeBron gets to play as a small forward.  In Miami he was a point power forward.  Early in his Cleveland days he was basically like a point forward because he wasn’t playing post-up basketball much at that point in his career.
His whole dynamic of how he’s seeing the game has changed because his positions have literally switched.  When you have a legitimate All Star point guard in Kyrie, you don’t have to come and get every outlet pass because you know, A, that’s his job; B, you want him to make the second pass sometimes.  And then all of a sudden, Kyrie, while he may get the hockey assist, LeBron is in a position in transition to make a play for himself or for others.
In the half court, it’s basically throwback NBA basketball.  Some teams still play power basketball like the Memphis Grizzlies where they go and throw it to the elbow and drop it to the box and see if they can take advantage of a mismatch or set a small screen for the big weak side like Stockton used to do Malone, then all of a sudden we can get some action that way.
How they’re trying to do it, it’s just have five-man basketball. Pass, cut, moving like your hair is on fire, no standing around, the basketball finds the energy, the energy finds the hot man, and you hope to get a good shot and have a situation where people never feel like they have to force their offensive flow.
Q.  And then to follow up, you were on a Phoenix team with some big time personalities and stardom between Nash and Stoudemire and Marion.  When you have a group like this Cavs group where you have Love and Kyrie and LeBron, how much is that on the responsibility of the players to fit together, and how much does David Blatt shoulder that to make sure everyone is on the same page?
       
ROSE:  Well, the ultimate responsibility is going to fall to LeBron because I think those pieces are in place even though they hired the coach before.  He officially decided to come back to Cleveland.  When you have a four time MVP on your roster it’s going to start and end with him.  He’s the marionette that learned from the puppeteer Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade how to be a champion, how to lead the team, how to recruit players to come play in Cleveland.
He even poached a couple of the Heat players off their roster, formerly Mike Miller and then James Jones.
So when you’re now in Cleveland, his whole goal is to show a young Kyrie Irving, a young Dion Waiters how to be a pro, how to work, how to compete, and Kevin Love how to transform those numbers that he was getting into wins and losses, into more wins.
I think that dynamic is really ironed out, and there won’t be any gray area at all.
Q.  LeBron James basically transformed the Miami Heat franchise, obviously the players, the roster, everything from the organization, top down.  What’s the toughest thing for the Heat, the players on the roster and the organization as a whole going forward while that shadow of LeBron’s departure hovers over the franchise?
DOUG COLLINS:  Well, the thing about it is you know with Miami, the blueprint is in place.  You know, Pat Riley has been there, Erik Spoelstra has been there 20 years.  They call it the Miami way.  This is the way we do things.
The big thing for Erik now is he’s got to find the best way for this particular team without LeBron to win basketball games.  It’s going to be a different offense.  It’s going to be a different defense, and you’ve got a lot of different dynamics. Last year, so often LeBron was the point guard, so now you’re asking Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to assume those duties of being the point guard and running whatever kind of offense that Erik feels they need to run to be able to be successful.
Chris Bosh has gone from being the third guy, a spacer shooting the ball and not being in the post much, shooting threes, to now being the No. 1 option, being in the paint more, scoring on the block, going back to a lot of the ways that he played in Toronto.
The big question to me is going to be Dwyane Wade.  Last year he missed 28 games and the blueprint looked like it was working until into The Finals, where it looked like he didn’t have a lot left at that particular time.  How are they going to manage him this year?  What role is he going to play?  We know that when he’s healthy, he’s still a dynamic player.
You’re adding Josh McRoberts, when he’s healthy, to be a starting power forward.  Chris Bosh is a center.  Who’s their bench going to be?
The Miami way is in place.  It’s now going to be what do we have to do in the absence of the best player in the NBA to find a way to win on both ends of the floor.  How can we maximize our bench?  How can we maximize our starters?  But to me at the end of the day it’s how effective are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh going to be, and everybody has got to play off them.
I didn’t mention Luol Deng.  I think it was an excellent acquisition in that deal.  We know what kind of player Luol is, but it’s going to be a totally different team, and how long it takes them to come together is going to be very interesting.
Q.  And then for Jalen, as a player coming out of this, what’s your perspective?  How do you deal with this?  Just everything in general from the lack of media circus to maybe lower expectations now?
       
ROSE:  This is where your pride and professionalism kicks in, in particular for Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.  They want to prove like, wow, LeBron was a leader and the MVP, that they weren’t just living off his fumes.  That’s what’s going to drive them.  I can be a first option if I’m Chris Bosh.  I can put up the numbers that people feel like I wasn’t able to put up because I was sharing the basketball and sacrificing myself for championships.
And for Dwyane Wade, already one of the top two guards that the league has seen, can he go back to being a guy that was blocking shots, getting steals, being active, playing multiple games a year?
It’s hard just to imagine on paper to have a maintenance plan with LeBron James that called for him to miss 28 games, and unfortunately he got fatigued come Finals.  I can’t imagine how that could go stronger this year without LeBron James on the roster.
Q.  With the Lakers not being able to land like a big time free agent in the off season, a lot has been made about the fall of the Lakers and that franchise, and a lot of the blame seems to be going towards Kobe Bryant.  How much blame for the struggles of the franchise do you believe should be pointed towards Kobe?
       
COLLINS:  I’m not going to put any blame on Kobe Bryant.  That guy has played for almost 20 years now.  He’s played over 50,000 career minutes.  When he’s healthy, he’s been the best player at his position throughout his time in the NBA.  He’s been all defense.
You have to understand, success is cyclical in this league.  How did the Celtics do after they lost Bird, McHale and Parrish?  How did the Lakers do after they lost Magic and Kareem and Worthy and that group of guys?  How did the Bulls do after they lost Michael, Scottie and Phil and that group of guys?
And sometimes we don’t understand, the league has changed a lot, where super teams are put together to last for a while with each other.  Look at the Boston Celtics right now. They had the run with Doc and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.  Look where they are.  It’s a cyclical part of the NBA, and what’s changed, and maybe Jalen can talk about this, is if you look at it, when is the last time the Boston Celtics signed a big-time free agent?  When is the last time that the Philadelphia 76ers have signed big-time free agent?  When is the last time the New York Knicks have signed a big-time free agent?
The days of those teams automatically signing those guys isn’t happening.  Guys are going and playing other places.  They understand that you don’t have to play in the biggest markets to have success as well as get endorsements and all.  Look at Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City; look at the team down in San Antonio.
To put that on Kobe, I’m not buying it.  The guy is one of the all-time great competitors.  I think he’s an easy target right now because Kobe is not a warm and fuzzy guy, and he’ll step up to the plate and compete every night, but I just think that’s wrong to put all this on his plate.
ROSE:  And I’ll second what Doug said because great teams in today’s era, the elite teams have three guys playing at All-Star levels; the contending teams have two; playoff caliber teams, especially in the East, can have one.  Kobe was great when he had Shaq.  He was a champion when he had Gasol.
I look back at one decision that changed the Lakers’ fortune that probably is going to put Kobe in a position not to get a sixth ring.  It was the decision to hire Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson.  Now, for a guy that’s won five championships with your franchise, and we know about the personal relationship he has with Jeanie Buss, but just professionally, when they decided to go to Mike D’Antoni, well, who else was in tow with Mike D’Antoni?  Steve Nash.  Well, Steve Nash we all know is already out for the season and Mike D’Antoni has been fired.
Those were the two catalyst decisions to me that put Kobe in a position to now say, of course I’m going to ask for maximum dollars.  I see the team that’s probably a shell of itself taking me into my twilight, so of course, who am I going to leave money on the table for?  So he looks at a young team and he looks at a situation that’s in flux, and he says, I’m going to be a pro, I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to show the world I can come back and average 25 points.  But when he does that, he’s coming back to a Western Conference that 32 wins won’t get you in the playoffs, and I think that’s what they’re looking at.
Q.  Feeding off that, comment on the notion that free agents don’t want to go play with Kobe.
       
COLLINS:  When you’re a great player in this league, I mean, LeBron James had two choices:  LeBron was either going to stay in Miami or he was going to go home.  He wasn’t going to go to his third city.  At the end of the day, Carmelo was not going to leave New York City and what that brings to him.  I think that’s really unfair to say guys don’t want to go play with Kobe.
I think there’s a lot of chatter and all that kind of stuff or whatever, but I don’t buy that at all.  I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.
ROSE:  It relates to one All Star caliber player who’s listed around a top 10, top 15 player, and that’s about Dwight Howard, and since they didn’t click initially and Dwight didn’t stay, that was the other domino that I talked about with the other scenarios. Then all of a sudden you lose an All-Star guy to Houston and you don’t get anything in return.
Q.  Clearly the biggest storyline of the offseason was LeBron returning home to Cleveland.  What storylines are you most intrigued by as we’re getting ready to open up the season?
       
COLLINS:  For me, obviously to watch this Cleveland team as they grow through this period of time.  Some of these guys are going to be under the greatest scrutiny they’ve ever been under as players.  You’ve already seen it.  Kevin Love makes a little statement I need more touches to get going, and basically LeBron gets the guys together and says, guys, understand that every word we say is going to be parsed.  Don’t you find it interesting that every press conference that they had in Miami, he and Dwyane Wade did them together?  We’re going to make sure that we’re on the same page every single day, so it can’t be divide and conquer. This guy said this, this guy said that.
To watch them, David Blatt is a terrific coach.  I think his biggest challenge is going to be handling the media and all that goes with this team as it continues to grow.
I think it’s going to be interesting with the Chicago Bulls.  They’ve got new pieces.  Jalen and I differ on this a little bit.  I think they have the right pieces, but I think that’s going to take a while longer.  Derrick Rose coming back, they’re still not solidified yet with that starting situation.  I’m of the belief that McDermott would be a better starter and Dunleavy coming off the bench would solidify that second unit, but I think Tibs is concerned about having the best possible team he can have out there to start the season so they don’t get off to a slow start.
How do you incorporate Pau Gasol into the low post?  They played through Joakim Noah last year.  Now he’s playing as a power forward.  He’s not catching the ball as much.  He’s not much of a playmaker because you have Rose and you have Pau Gasol.  Jimmy Butler has already got an injury.  So there’s a lot of stuff going on there that we know they’re going to be great defensively.  Can they get good enough offensively to be a team that can win a championship?
And then to me the West Coast, I mean, it’s unfortunate the injury to Kevin Durant, but you’ve got eight teams that made the playoffs last year.  If any team is going to be able to break through, can the Pelicans break through?  They’ve got six really good players.  Do they have enough depth?  Can they stay healthy?
Phoenix Suns had a feel-good season last year.  Can they build on that?  So to me there are 10 teams in the West for eight spots.  How far is Oklahoma City going to drop with the injury to Durant?
I think as much as the Clippers had a great year last year, I think they still have some questions.  Jalen and I both talk about I’m concerned about their size on the wings and on the perimeter.  When it comes to playing teams, they really struggled against Oklahoma City last year, size on the perimeter.  That three-spot right now is by committee.  J.J. Redick has got to stay healthy.  There’s a lot of things going on out there.
To me, so many storylines in the West, but the East, last year we were talking about two teams.  Start of the year we said Indiana and Miami are going to be there in the Conference Finals, and they were.  This year in the East, we’re talking about two teams:  Cleveland and Chicago and everybody else, so it’ll be interesting to watch for me.
ROSE:  And I’ll give you a couple of quick nuggets because Coach killed it.  The return of Derrick Rose.  If he can play at an all NBA level, I feel like they should win the Eastern Conference.  LeBron’s return to Cleveland, I mean, just the maturation to forgive the letter written by Dan Gilbert, but also that means an acknowledgment of his transgressions that he felt like he could have done things a lot different with the organization and with the fans, then to turn around and be able to recruit Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, James Jones and possibly Ray Allen.  Stay tuned for that one.
On the West, working the NBA Finals and being at those games, just appreciating the Spurs fans, I just have a soundtrack in my head that just literally says, Go Spurs Go!  I think I’m so wound up that I might just blurt it out every now and then because that’s how dominant they were and how impressed I am with the way they do things.
Their offseason included re-signing Pop, re-signing Tony, re-signing Tim, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner, and they’re hoping to obviously get an extension going with Kawhi Leonard.
They’re back in tow, along with what Coach said, the Clippers.  Is it their turn?  CP3, Blake Griffin, all-NBA performers.  DeAndre Jordan is going to be in position to lead the league in field goal percentage and blocks and rebounds, probably the first guy to be able to do that in NBA history.
So I’m trying to see if it’s going to be the Clippers’ turn because I think they have what it takes to push the San Antonio Spurs.
COLLINS:  Just to build on what Jalen said, too, to me there’s some really intriguing teams in the West.  Golden State, can they cut down on their turnovers?  Steve is really working on having a more free flowing offense.  Can they keep their defensive integrity?  You look at a team like Portland; last year their starters were healthy most of the entire year.  They win 54 – they hope to be able to have some internal improvement.  They’ve added Chris Kaman and Stevie Blake.  Can C.J. McCollum help them?  Can they have a bench?
To me, Memphis, all these teams, first of all, the success of every team as Jalen knows is all based upon health.  So given every team stays healthy, to me it’s going to be interesting to see at the end of the day who comes out of the mix.
ROSE:  And also, me and Coach really love Dallas and we didn’t mention them.
 
COLLINS:  Yes, sir, absolutely, I’m glad you mentioned them.  They’ve got a great coach.  I like Tyson Chandler going there, Chandler Parsons.  They’ve got depth.  They’re going to be able to score the ball, but the big thing is can they defend well enough to win a championship.
Every team, as great as their strengths are, every one of them is flawed.  There’s not a team out there that doesn’t have a flaw.  You say Spurs, the only flaw they would have is they’re older.  Other than that, they play beautiful basketball.  They’re locked in, they’ve got the corporate knowledge, they’ve never had a back to back champion.  Can they do that?  There’s so many things to talk about.
ROSE:  And also Houston with Harden and Dwight Howard, you add Trevor Ariza who I really like, can Terrence Jones become a guy that’s consistent as his career high nights.
Q.  I just want to get your impressions on Brad Stevens, his second season.  What kind of coaching job do you think he did in his first season, and how do you manage a roster like I’m sure you did where everybody is about even, you’ve got one star but you’ve got,  the rest of the guys have got chips on their shoulders, something to prove, maybe have underachieved in other places and it’s pretty even?  How do you manage that?
       
COLLINS:  I think Brad is a terrific coach.  The first thing, when you’re Brad Stevens, you’re walking in, you’re navigating basically an 80-game season, and you’re coming in. I mean, we saw what he did at Butler.  That team was as well coached as any team that was in college basketball.  He’s got a great feel for the game.  He’s got a nice demeanor.  He’s a terrific teacher.  The hardest part is dealing with the losses.  I mean, he’s never lost before.  The guy has been to two Final Fours with Butler.
So when you go in, and understand doing your job on a daily basis, and a lot of it was almost like a developmental league team, D League team, where your job is as much to try to get players better and create the assets of your team to put your team in a position to move forward as it is to focus in on how many games you can win.  That’s tough because as a competitor, all you think about is winning that next game.
I give him a lot of credit.  Brett Brown had 63 losses last year.  That’s tough to take to keep your energy up, the positive energy, to walk in practice every single day, to continue to teach, to do the things you do.
I’m a big Brad Stevens fan.  I think he did a wonderful job, and he’s going to be more comfortable this year because the second year going through it, you’ve got a better feel for the pacing of everything.  Your practices, the days off, who needs extra work, who doesn’t.
You know, I had a team in Philadelphia when I went there, probably Andre Iguodala on paper was our best player.  He became an All-Star my second year there.  Drew Holiday became an All-Star my third year there.  But when I looked at our team, I thought we had strength in numbers, and I thought if we could get seven guys averaging in double figures and develop a bench, we had a chance to get a lot better, and we went from 27 wins to 41, a 14-game improvement, was the second most in the league.  We got an identity of how we wanted to play, we defended, we didn’t turn the ball over.
But the two keys for me were Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young.  They were two of my five best players, and I went to them and I asked them if they would come off the bench for me to make us a better team.  They would play crunch time minutes.  Lou became the leading scorer for me.  Thad was one of my best players.  Lou was second in sixth man of the year, I think Thad was five.  Our team grew and we got better.
But it was because those players were willing to step up and play a role because they were two of my five best players and we got off to a 3-and-13 start that year, and for the guys to hang with it and for it to turn, it was a fun thing to watch.  But when you’re losing every single night and you’re trying to build something, it’s hard because I don’t care what any coach says, you go home, and it eats at your stomach when you’re losing basketball games.
I give Brad a lot, a lot of credit, and also I said, Brett Brown, to take those kind of losses, to start to build something for Philadelphia and Boston. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of those guys.
Q.  How do you feel about Sam’s approach toward rebuilding this franchise, especially the way you have kind of brought it up, especially the second year and the second round to see what’s happening now?  How do you feel about his approach and the state of the franchise?
       
COLLINS:  Well, I think, first of all, obviously I miss being in Philadelphia.  You know what that franchise means to me, so I always root for them.  I want them to do great.  It’s a little painful for me right now to be a former Sixer and see the losses and all.
But the one thing I remember when I left, I talked to Josh Harris, the owner, and I said, Josh, regardless of what you’re going to do, stick with the plan.  You can’t switch in mid-stream.  If it gets painful, it’s going to be painful and you’re going to have to ride through it, and once you make the choice to do what you’re going to do    and I felt they were going to do it, is to blow the team up and start all over again.  This is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do, we ask you to stick through the pain of what we’re doing.
And you can see that Michael Carter-Williams last year was the Rookie of the Year.  Hopefully he’s going to be healthy and come back.  Nerlens Noel looks like he has a chance to be a high-energy activity defender, shock blocker, rebounder.  I don’t know if he’s ever going to be a big time scorer, but a guy who could be a part of a really, really good team.  Embiid, can he get healthy?  The Shved kid who’s overseas, all the draft picks and everything.
But there’s a lot of pain that goes with that, and that’s why I said I have a lot of respect for Brett Brown.  He’s a tremendous coach.  He walks in that gym every single day with great positive energy to teach that team.
It’s interesting when you get older you hope you can shoot your age in golf.  You don’t want to lose your age as a coach, and last year had I coached, it was 63 wins, that’s how old I am.  I did not want to lose 63 games.  At my age I just couldn’t go through that.
Sam has got a plan.  The most important thing is Josh, David Blitzer, and all the owners are on board, and they’ve made no bones about it with the city of Philadelphia, this is what we’re doing, stick with us.  We think it’s going to work.  Whether or not it does, I don’t think anybody knows, but that’s their plan.
Q.  Is there any scenario in which you could see Miami competing with Chicago and Cleveland in the East?
       
COLLINS:  I don’t see it unless there’s a major injury to one of those teams.  I think I just look at Cleveland, I think they’re going to be one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the league.  I said the first exhibition game they played, I think LeBron took seven shots, had two buckets, Kyrie didn’t play, and they had 122 points.  So they’re going to be a team that can score the ball.  I think the question is going to be for them as a champion.  Can they become a top-10 defensive team?  I think it’s going to be vital for Varejao and Tristan Thompson to stay healthy.  They’re their two big guys that they’re going to ask to give them some size.  They’re going to be a great rebounding team.  And I think at the end of the day, LeBron has a chance to lead the league in assists, and I think once again, he’ll become a first league all defender, and so I think that they’re going to be awfully tough to beat.
With Chicago, polar opposites.  Right now a team that is built on their defense.  Can their offense come up to snuff?  Can Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol give them extra points at all and make the game a little easier for them to where they don’t have to grind out every game every single night?
I’ve got a lot of respect for Miami.  I just – when I look at their team, I say, you know what, there’s still a lot of questions with Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers being your point guard, still a lot of questions about how many games Dwyane Wade is going to be able to play at a high level because of the injury to his knee that he suffered, can Chris Bosh be back to that No. 1 option, Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng filling in, what kind of bench play they’re going to get.  I know they’re going to be well prepared.  I know they’re going to compete.  I know they won’t beat themselves.  I just don’t see them being in the class of those other two teams.
Q.  As a coach, what do you think about running an offense through Chris Bosh?  Is that viable?
 
COLLINS:  Well, I mean, the thing about it is, I think when you look at their team, that’s the way they’re built now.  It’s interesting to me because we played them in the playoffs the one year, and Bosh was a little bit more of an integral part of their offense.  I thought that first year where they ran out of timeouts, they got him the ball at the elbows, they ran some isolations for him, they started games running plays for him, they got him the ball in the paint a little bit more, and I thought as time went on he became more of a home run hitter, where he was depending so much on that three, a little bit what you’ve seen with Kevin Love in the preseason in Cleveland. I think Jalen and I did a game the other night and 22 of his 45 shots, Love shot it in from the three point line.
Chris Bosh is going to be a guy, you’re going to go back, throw the ball in the post to him.  It’s sort of interesting, but you go back to one of his quotes last year in the playoffs, he said, I don’t play down in the post anymore; I don’t take all that pounding.  Well, that’s where he’s going to be right now and we’ll have to see how he plays.
Q.  You touched on the Bulls and Derrick Rose a little bit.  I just wanted to get more elaboration on what you think Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic add to the front court.  Do you think that’s going to be enough to get past Cleveland, and do you think Rose can stay healthy for the whole year?
COLLINS:  Well, I sure hope that Derrick Rose can stay healthy because as a man who suffered injury, my heart aches when you see a great player, and I was never a Derrick Rose, an MVP, but I was a player who played at a pretty high level and loved to play.  When the game was taken away from me, it was heartbreaking that I couldn’t play.  I hope he can play.  He’s taken a lot of grief from being hurt.  Nobody wants to be hurt, and so for him to be back out there – I saw some great play from him in the preseason, and I think the question is going to be his building on the minutes.  But his efficiency has been terrific.
I think when you look at the Bulls, I don’t think people realize that you have a lot of the same pieces back, but they’re a very different team.  To me when I see Pau Gasol out there playing as a center, and I see Joakim Noah playing as a power forward, his defensive role has changed.  Last year he was the Defensive Player of the Year as a center. Now you’re going to see him playing at that four spot a lot when Pau is in there as a five.  You’ll see him play as a five when he’s out there with Taj Gibson.
But so much of what they did last year, their offense, they played through Joakim as an offensive player, not necessarily to score but to facilitate.
Now he’s got to find his role in that offense now because the ball is either going to be in Derrick Rose’s hands or it’s going to be in Pau Gasol’s hands in the post.  So that’s a little different.
To me it’s going to be interesting at the end of the day who Tibs ends up settling on to be the starter.  It looks like Dunleavy maybe to start the year, but that second unit has got to get an identity.  I thought in the preseason they were very inconsistent.
When you had McDermott out there, when you had him out there with Mirotic, two rookies; you had Aaron Brooks, who was a new guy; you had Taj out there; and you had Kirk Hinrich, so I thought they were struggling to find who they needed to be.
I’d go on record and say I feel like at the end of the day, if somehow Doug McDermott can be a starter, I think he’s going to get better shots with that starting unit being out there with Pau Gasol and with Derrick Rose, and it’s not going to depend so much on Jimmy Butler having to make as many shots. And then I think Mike Dunleavy is a guy who has played off the bench in his career, and to me with him out there and Taj Gibson and Kirk and Aaron Brooks, you’ve got a little bit more of a veteran feel to it.
I don’t know what kind of minutes Mirotic is going to get because I don’t know if Tibs can play four bigs, and we know there’s 96-minutes between Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, and I think the interesting thing for Tibs is it’s going to be – last year, it was a given, the third quarter ended, Carlos Boozer put on his warm up, he ended the game with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson.  Now Pau Gasol wants to finish those games, too, so what’s it going to be?  It might be from night to night he doesn’t always finish with the same two guys.  I think that’s a dynamic that he has to figure out.
With all this said and done and Chicago coming back, I think they have as much work to do as Cleveland in getting themselves together to where they want to be.
Q.  Quick question with regard to Coach Blatt in Cleveland.  What are some of the challenges as a first-time head coach do you think that he’s got, and do you think that he’s up to the challenge?
COLLINS:  Well, first of all, I think he’s up to the challenge.  This guy has been a success everywhere he’s been.  He’s coached everywhere, and he’s taken the talent of his team and he’s played that kind of basketball.  I know there was one team that he played, I can’t remember off of top of my head right now which one it was, but it was a team that they had to win with defense, and then he’s had some of the most dynamic offenses.
So I think he’s a guy that knows both sides of the ball.  I think to just say he’s a terrific offensive mind would be selling him short.  I love his assistant coach; he’s got T [Tyronn] Lue in there, who played for me.  I think LD, Larry Drew, is there with him, so he’s got a good group of guys. Jimmy Boylan I think is there.  So he’s got a good group of guys who understand the NBA.
To me it’s going to be managing people.  Every word that comes out of Cleveland is going to be parsed.  Miami was the most scrutinized team in the NBA when LeBron was there.  They’re going to be the most scrutinized team in the NBA with him back in Cleveland.  So to me it’s going to be just managing the media, dealing with the day to day, managing the personalities.  He has all the other stuff.  He has all the Xs and Os; he has all that stuff he needs, and I think he’s got the greatest sidekick you can have, a guy who’s locked arms with him, is LeBron.
LeBron is going home, and LeBron knows that at the end of the day, whether they rise or fall, the pressure is on LeBron James.  To me, it’s not on David Blatt.  When LeBron went back to Cleveland, he said, I’m stepping up, all the pressure is on me, it’s not on Kyrie Irving, it’s not on Kevin Love, it’s not on anybody else. It’s on me coming back to help make sure this works.
What I’m feeling from everything I’m reading and everything that he and David Blatt have gotten together, they have a wonderful working relationship.  But Cleveland hasn’t had a bump in the road yet, and until they have that first adversity where anything happens where they’ve got to fight through it, we don’t know how they’re going to be.  But I do know this:  There’s no more pressure in Cleveland LeBron is going to have on him than what he faced down in Miami on an everyday basis for four years down there.
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ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 7

Sunday NFL Countdown logoESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 7

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis previewed today’s NFL games with insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Some comments from today’s show:

 

On being surprised wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded …

Jackson: “He is a difference maker. I’m trying to imagine the magnitude of the problems and baggage that he would have to bring to the Seattle locker room in order for them to get rid of this difference maker … They were willing to give him away – ‘we want him out of our locker room.’ I am hesitant to be the next team to bring him into the locker room. Seattle is less of a football team today than they were on Friday because of letting this guy go. They are less dangerous because this guy is not playing for them.”

Lewis: “You are talking about a very, very special talent – home run hitter when it comes to breakaway speed and what this guy can do. He is a mismatch problem for a lot of teams. He’s one of the biggest reasons Seattle has so many misdirection plays … The players have to understand this is a business at its highest level. Going into these locker rooms, you have to understand that you don’t have to get along with everybody. But you have to find a way to work with anybody. Percy (Harvin) – as well as other guys – needs to understand that.”

Ditka: “There’s nothing worse than a fractured locker room. I’m not sure I agree that they have the big loss here. With production on the field, yes. But, what he’s doing in that locker room is undermining what the coach and that football team is all about. They won a Super Bowl last year, not because of Percy Harvin. The leader of this football team is the quarterback.”

Carter: “For any player that has previous issues, there is always a moment in time that you get the chance to change or alter your history. It is all in your hand. There is always a fork, right on the road, that stops you and you have the opportunity to either go left and go about doing things your own way. Or to go right and make the right decisions and try to do something special with your life. Percy Harvin is not a bad person, but he has had issues in high school, in college and now, with two professional teams. I’m not looking at the scheme, I’m looking right at Percy Harvin because it is really up to him. He is a phenomenal talent. Right now, this league, we have less tolerance for people with great athletic ability and the inability to work in an environment. Everyone should feel safe at work, especially, one of your teammates, who you trust.”

Berman: “(Seahawks head coach) Pete Carroll, if you can’t play there, and he has a winning team, where are you going to play? Now the Jets, hopefully, can give him support, both on- and off-the-field.”

 

On the Dallas Cowboys and their turnaround …

After showing video from a past Countdown segment where Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis ranked the Cowboys as one of the league’s worst teams, the panel today discussed the team’s turnaround.

Johnson: “(QB) Tony Romo is doing more with less in terms of attempts … You go back to the Super Bowl winning years of Troy Aikman, they had 30 or less attempts per game for Troy Aikman. That is what Tony Romo is right now. He is completing 71 percent of his passes, the highest in the National Football League since week 3. This is why the Cowboys have now gotten up there with Seattle on potential talks about going to Arizona (Super Bowl XLIX).”

Jackson: “What Jason Garrett, that coaching staff, Tony Romo, have all accepted is that ‘we have something that we can depend on,’ and we can depend on it everywhere. They are patient. That’s what the running game takes. So, San Francisco, the four turnovers, they lose that game. But they turned it over three times against the Texans. They stick with the run. They are down 21-nothing to the Rams. They stick with the run. They were down 10-0 in Seattle. That tendency to go back to Romo throwing the ball 45-50 times in order to win the game, it didn’t happen. So, they are patient and confident in what they are doing. The defense is benefitting because they are not on the field as long. Tony Romo benefits because of play action pass.”

Lewis: “History proved exactly what Key (Keyshawn Johnson) and I said. For many a years, the Dallas Cowboys was a very bad football team when it comes to making it to the playoffs. What has changed? What has changed is they went back to the Super Bowl formula. Tony Romo is not throwing 30-plus passes per game. Troy Aikman won three Super Bowls doing the same thing. DeMarco Murray, what this guy does with the football in his hand, is the reason why the Cowboys are winning.”

Ditka: “You can’t win in this league without a defense. I know what we said about the Dallas defense over the years, and everybody was right. They’ve really changed. They are playing much better. The Cover 2 they are playing makes sense – playing with a man under. The middle linebacker is able to get depth. It is a different looking football team. That enables the offense to do what they want to do. They are not trying to catch up all the time.”

Carter: “The thing that is most important is what (defensive coordinator Rod) Marinelli is doing with the defense. He has these players, not better players than they had last year, playing in a scheme that they can perform … Also, (OL coordinator) Scott Linehan and how he has put the stamp on this offense as far as what they are going to be.”

 

On whether Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray’s workload will eventually catchup up to him …

Johnson: “I don’t care beyond this year, if I’m in the Dallas Cowboys staff. I will run him till his feet start bleeding, till the wheels fall off. Because, I have an opportunity now, with my best football player touching the ball on offense, of doing something we’ve been trying to get to for a very long time which is the playoffs, winning the Division, playing in the Super Bowl. If you’re talking beyond this year, we can deal with that in the off-season. I played with Curtis Martin back in 1998, he led us to the AFC Championship game carrying the football 367 times, touching it 400-plus times. You want to be able to get the ball in the right guy’s hands that can help you.”

Jackson: “This is a team that’s been 8-8 for two decades, we’ve got a chance to win the Super Bowl, I agree with you, I am going to run him and I’m not worried about what the aftermath is going to be. I want him to get paid. Jerry (owner Jerry Jones) has always rewarded guys when they produced for him. You hope he is one of those special guys down the stretch who can carry the ball. The number that we’re looking at, 400-plus carries, usually changes a back’s life – not for the better.”

Lewis: “When you talk about hard-running players, you think about Larry Johnson, Jamal Anderson, Eric Dickerson, even Eddie George. After that year (with max carries) their numbers dropped drastically and throughout the rest of their careers. I get it. This year is special. Use him how you can use him. There was a formula the Baltimore Ravens had in 2000. They had the same type of beast with Jamal Lewis. The complement to that beast was a Priest Holmes. Anytime you can have a two-headed monster that can take a little bit of that, who has almost the same ‘it factor,’ it can be huge for the team.”

 

On the cusp of Peyton Manning breaking the touchdown record, Tom Jackson reflects on the quarterback’s place in history …

“I was around when Johnny U (Unitas) played football. People think that quarterbacking is exciting now. Back then quarterbacks called their own game. We don’t have enough time to go into his entire legacy, but part of his legacy is that he is the last of these guys who basically are calling the game from the line of scrimmage. When he’s gone, we are not going to see it again, and that’s just part of his legacy.”

 

Ray Lewis on 49ers defense vs. Peyton Manning’s attempt at the touchdown record … 

“The first thing you are saying is – ‘it is not on my watch. It will not happen on my watch. People can talk about these records all day long or you throw fireworks.’ But if you are (49ers defensive coordinator) Vic Fangio, you’re talking about ‘we’re going in to win a football game. Do not get flustered with what’s going on with this record.’

“I had this same opportunity in 2006, I looked at Rex Ryan and said we’ll go to the Super Bowl if we hold Peyton Manning without a touchdown. We gave Peyton Manning five field goals that day. So, it can be done. But they have to have the right mindset to go win the game. And to do it and not worry about the record.”

 

Inside Slant: The thin line between playing hard and playing dirty …

Following a report by NFL senior analyst Chris Mortensen that Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is appealing a league-imposed $25,000 fine for twisting the ankles of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen last week, Carter, Jackson, Johnson and Lewis discussed the fine line between aggressive play and hurting opposing players.

Jackson: “I don’t think you want to be habitually creating plays that could be defined as dirty. People need to understand a dirty play doesn’t make you a dirty player. Very few of us have been on a football field for any number of years and not done something that you didn’t feel bad about … Burfict did some dirty plays. Let’s not make too much of it.”

Lewis: “There’s a lot that goes on underneath that pile … Is he such a bad player? When you watch an offensive lineman dive at somebody’s knees, I always say: ‘Listen, don’t go to my knees. This is where I make my money.’ There are certain things that you don’t go that far.”

Jackson: “We used to police our own game.”

Johnson: “I was always trying to take advantage or get an advantage for me and my team the best I could on the football field. I’m not going to hit somebody, 30 yards away, who had nothing to do with the play. I am not going to peel back on him and knock him out. That, to me, is a dirty play.”

Carter: “So, we all believe in playing a little bit beyond the whistle. But the one thing we all agree on — no hit that is going to cause an injury, to stop a guy from making a living, that’s where you cross the line. And that’s what you call dirty.”

 

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“One-Hit Wonders” Who Caught a Touchdown Pass from Peyton Manning Highlights ESPN’s Week 7 NFL Content

Sunday NFL Countdown logo

Sunday NFL Countdown: Peyton Manning’s One-Hit Wonders; Smashing Records – The DeMarco Murray Story; Special Guest Jim Cramer; and More 

Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis will preview week 7 on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m. ET. The three-hour program will feature reporter/host Wendi Nix during select segments, while NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report the day’s headlines and news.

ESPN reporters at game sites:

  • Bengals at Colts (Lindsay Czarniak and Ron Jaworski at “The Big Early Game”)
  • Saints at Lions (Sal Paolantonio)
  • Panthers at Packers (Bob Holtzman)
  • Giants at Cowboys (Ed Werder)
  • 49ers at Broncos (Josina Anderson)

Features:

  • One-Hit Wonders: Peyton Manning has 506 touchdown passes and needs just three more to surpass Brett Favre’s record 508. Seven players caught only one touchdown in their careers with the lone pass coming from Manning. Reporter Jim Trotter tracks down some of the lucky seven.
  • Smashing Records: Breaking rushing records is in DeMarco Murray’s DNA. The Cowboys running back is on the precipice of several NFL rushing records this season, including Jim Brown’s record for six consecutive 100-yard games to open a season. Murray broke Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith’s Cowboys single-game rushing record with 253 yards in October 23, 2011, vs. the Rams. At the University of Oklahoma, Murray set several school records, surpassing Sooner greats Billy Simms, Marcus Dupree and Adrian Peterson. Greg Garber reports on Murray’s history with breaking records.
  • My Brother’s Keeper – The Joe Haden Story: Browns cornerback Joe Haden has always shared a unique bond with his younger brother Jacob, who has special needs and is unable to communicate verbally. That bond was further strengthened when Joe, at nine years of age, dove into their aunt’s swimming pool to save Jacob’s life. Josina Anderson reports. (Ed note: This piece was moved from last Sunday’s show to this week.)
  • Soundtracks – Earl Thomas: Seahawks safety Earl Thomas of the vaunted “Legion of Boom” defensive unit was wired for in-game audio last Sunday against the Cowboys and will be featured on Sunday’s “Soundtracks.”
  • Jim Cramer – Buy or Sell: Jim Cramer, star of CNBC’s Mad Money joins the Countdown crew for a segment, measuring the stock of AFC North quarterbacks.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football: JJ Watt and the Texans Visit Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers

JJ Watt and the Houston Texans visit Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on October 20 at 8:15 p.m. The Steelers enter the matchup with the longest MNF home win streak in the series’ 45-year history – 15 games.

The MNF team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters will call the game from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The NFL’s week seven finale will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and available via WatchESPN for those with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

Monday Night Countdown begins at 6 p.m. on ESPN. Suzy Kolber and NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young review Sunday’s games and preview the MNF matchup from Heinz Field. Studio host Chris Berman, NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter join the show from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Conn.

Monday Night Countdown highlights:

  • Soundtracks: Best of J.J. Watt: The Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, J.J. Watt’s dominating performance this season has his name being mentioned in MVP discussions. Countdown features the best of Watt’s in-game audio in Soundtracks.
  • Gruden’s Grill Session with JJ Watt: MNF’s Gruden visits with Texans All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt in this week’s Grill Session.
  • Ben Roethlisberger Conversation: Two-time Super Bowl Steelers winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sits for a one-on-one conversation with MNF reporter Salters.
  • Rick Reilly’s Feature – Bill O’Brien: Family and football is a tough balancing act for any head coach. Rick Reilly tells the story of how Jack O’Brien, the son of Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, helped give his father a renewed perspective on pressure and life beyond the football field.

NFL Matchup – Colts Play Action; Cowboys Run Game; Struggling Seahawks Offense; and More

NFL Matchup host Sal Paolantonio and analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via film-room X’s and O’s analysis on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 3:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.).  Highlights:

  • Jaws Playbook – Colts Play Action: Jaworski takes viewers through a play-action pass that the Colts offense will execute against the Bengals defense on Sunday.
  • Inside the Matchup – Chargers Bunch Formation: Jaworski explains how the Chiefs man-to-man defense can be nullified by the Chargers’ bunch formations.
  • Coach’s Clicker – Cowboys Run Game: Hoge illustrates the staples of a versatile Cowboys run game, giving the Cowboys a more balanced offense that wears down opposing defenses.
  • X and O Files – Jets Defensive Game Plan vs. Manning: The Jets defense was able to slow down quarterback Peyton Manning’s decision-making process by playing a variety of defensive coverages, something the 49ers will look to replicate this weekend, argues the NFL Matchup panel.
  • Hoge Breakdown – Suh to Disrupt Drew Brees: Hoge explains how the Lions will rely on their defensive line, led by Ndamukong Suh, to create pressure on quarterback Drew Brees and slow down the Saints passing attack.
  • Let’s See it Hoge – Struggling Seahawks Offense: The Seahawks offense is having trouble on third downs and when defenses are able to keep quarterback Russell Wilson in the pocket, Hoge explains.

NFL on ESPN Radio: Drew Brees and Saints vs. Matthew Stafford and Lions

ESPN Radio will broadcast the matchup between two exciting NFL quarterbacks – Drew Brees vs. Matthew Stafford – on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m., when the Detroit Lions (4-2) host the New Orleans Saints (2-3) on ESPN Radio.  Ryan Ruocco, Bill Polian and Ian Fitzsimmons will be on site for the broadcast. Pre-game coverage begins at 12 p.m.

E:60 – Profile on Cowbpys’ Jason Witten Airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. 

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has six All-Pro selections, played in nine Pro Bowls and owns the franchise record for receptions during his 12 seasons. But what sets him apart, are his toughness and resilience, traits he learned those at an early age, although not by choice. Witten grew up haunted by an abusive father until, at the age of 11, he and his battered mother moved to live near their maternal grandfather, a legendary high school football coach who helped Witten heal and emerge as a star football player. The Cowboys star has established a foundation that mentors boys whose mothers are victims of domestic violence.  E:60’s Jeremy Schaap reports (Trailer).

ESPN.com – On Jim Irsay’s Shadow Life and Cowboys Unexpected Success

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Dan Shulman to Serve as Voice of the World Series on ESPN Radio

ESPN-MLBDan Shulman to Serve as Voice of the World Series on ESPN Radio

  • ESPN Radio to Exclusively Broadcast Every Game with Aaron Boone Joining Shulman
  • Baseball Tonight & SportsCenter Roadshows in Kansas City, San Francisco
  • Karl Ravech, Curt Schilling, John Kruk, Barry Larkin, Buster Olney Among Dozens of Contributors to ESPN’s Multiplatform Series Coverage

ESPN Radio, in its 17th consecutive Major League Baseball postseason, will serve as the exclusive radio broadcast home of the Fall Classic. Dan Shulman – the voice of Sunday Night Baseball – and analyst Aaron Boone will describe the action for each game while Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton and ESPN MLB Insider Peter Pascarelli will lead on-site pregame and postgame coverage with in-studio host Marc Kestecher. Pregame coverage generally begins at 7 p.m. ET, one hour prior to first pitch. All World Series games will be available on ESPN Radio, ESPNRadio.com, via the ESPN Radio app, iTunes Radio, Slacker and TuneIn.

ESPN, in its 25th season of Major League Baseball coverage, will have on-site Baseball Tonight telecasts for each World Series game (generally at 7 p.m. and midnight) on ESPN2. Karl Ravech will be joined by Baseball Hall of Famer and Baseball Tonight analyst Barry Larkin, Sunday Night Baseball analysts John Kruk and Curt Schilling and ESPN MLB Insiders Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian for analysis, predictions, highlights and commentary. Veteran commentator Chris Berman and Baseball Tonight host Adnan Virk will also join the Baseball Tonight telecasts for on-field interviews and commentary in Kansas City, Mo. and San Francisco, respectively. Baseball Tonight coverage will begin Monday, Oct. 20, with a World Series preview show at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

SportsCenter with Linda Cohn and David Lloyd will air live from just outside of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in advance of Games One and Two on Tuesday, Oct. 21, and Wednesday, Oct. 22, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. SportsCenter will also provide daily, on-site updates throughout the World Series beginning at 9 a.m. with Ravech, Larkin, Kruk, Schilling, Olney, Kurkjian and analysts Aaron Boone, Chris Singleton and Rick Sutcliffe. Additionally, analysts Mark Mulder and Doug Glanville will offer insights on SportsCenter from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios.

ESPN.com will provide extensive World Series content including feature stories, previews, rankings, predictions and breaking news from ESPN MLB Insiders Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick, Jim Caple, David Schoenfield and Jim Bowden. ESPN.com highlights include:

ü  Live, 15-minute Baseball Tonight at the World Series digital shows before each game;

ü  A dedicated World Series page with extensive game coverage, news, analysis, scouting reports, expert predictions, SportsNation polls, videos and statistics;

ü  Baseball Tonight Spotlight and Baseball Tonight Minute video analysis;

ü  Weekday Baseball Tonight podcast with Buster Olney and a cast of experts;

ü  Live social media streaming during each game on the MLB scoreboard page;

ü  Daily posts from ESPN’s Stats & Analysis group including interactive heat maps;

ü  Live blog updates before, during and after the games from SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield;

ü  Jim Bowden’s ranking of all 50 players on the World Series rosters;

ü  Special features including:

  • World Series Timeline: An interactive look at all 109 previous Fall Classics;
  • Un-4-gettable: A collection of Chris Morris illustrations highlighting past World Series ending in the number “4;”
  • Armchair Manager: Grading and assessing the World Series managers with help from followers on Twitter and Facebook.

ESPN Deportes will cover the World Series across studio programming including SportsCenter, Los Capitanes, Cronometro, #Redes and Nacion ESPN.
ESPN Deportes Radio, in its tenth consecutive season broadcasting the World Series, will broadcast every game with Eduardo Ortega, the Spanish voice of the San Diego Padres, anchoring the coverage. Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera and Jose Francisco Rivera.

ESPN International will televise the World Series in Latin America, the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean and on cruise ships.

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Network(s)
Mon, Oct 20 7 p.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Tue, Oct 21 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  7 p.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Chris Berman, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. World Series: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals – Game One

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  12:30 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Wed, Oct 22 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  7 p.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Chris Berman, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. World Series: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals – Game Two

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  1:30 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Fri, Oct 24 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  8 p.m. World Series: Kansas City Royals at San Francisco Giants – Game Three

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  12 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Sat, Oct 25 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  8 p.m. World Series: Kansas City Royals at San Francisco Giants – Game Four

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  3 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Sun, Oct 26 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  7 p.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Adnan Virk

ESPN2, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. World Series: Kansas City Royals at San Francisco Giants – Game Five*

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  12 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Tue, Oct 28 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  7 p.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Chris Berman, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. World Series: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals – Game Six*

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  12 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
Wed, Oct 29 TBD Baseball Tonight at the World Series ESPN.com
  7 p.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Chris Berman, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. World Series: San Francisco Giants at Kansas City Royals – Game Seven*

Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone

ESPN Radio
  1 a.m. Baseball Tonight presented by Chevrolet

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, John Kruk, Curt Schilling, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN2, WatchESPN

*If necessary

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College Football: Transcript of Media Conference Call with Lou Holtz and Danny Kanell

2010 -- ESPN College Football LogoESPN held a media conference call with college football analysts Lou Holtz and Danny Kanell on Thursday, Aug. 16. Holtz and Kanell – who were members of the Notre Dame and Florida State teams, respectively, that faced off in the 1993 Game of the Century – touched on a variety of topics, including Saturday’s No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Florida State matchup (October 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC). They also talked about the College Football Playoff, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Michigan State, memories of College GameDay’s first road show and more.

A transcript of the conference call follows:

Q.) Danny, how would you compare the two quarterbacks? They’ve both had their share of off-the-field issues, but it seems like this is a game where Everett Golson could make his legacy? 

Kanell: Absolutely. Everett Golson is a completely different quarterback this year than he was his freshman year when he took Notre Dame to the national title game. That game, I think you could safely say he was a game manager, whereas this year he’s a difference maker on the field. He’s probably the biggest reason why Notre Dame is undefeated to this point because of his play on the field.

Q.) If I could follow‑up, obviously Notre Dame is a 12‑point underdog going in here. Do they need Everett Golson’s A‑plus game to win? 

Kanell: Yes, I absolutely do think that. I think Florida State’s a different team where they have more talent around Jameis Winston where they can overcome if he has a poor game. But I think Everett Golson is an X‑factor in this game without question. He has to play well. He has to have a strong performance in order for Notre Dame to win.

Q.) About Jameis, you obviously played at Florida State and had a great career, what is your take on how they’ve handled everything with him? 

Kanell: It’s pretty clear now Jimbo Fisher has pretty much fallen behind Jameis Winston, and he knows him better than anyone. That coach‑to‑quarterback relationship is a unique bond. When he goes to Jameis Winston, asks him something and looks him in the eye, clearly he’s put a lot of faith and trust in Jameis Winston. From the outside looking in it could look questionable because of some of the mistakes and transgressions that Jameis has had off the field, but Jimbo knows him better than anyone.

I think that’s what I would look at and say, all right, it’s the coach‑quarterback relationship. The trust is there, and Jimbo’s made it very clear that he believes Jameis on multiple fronts.

Q.) For Coach and Danny, when you played in that 1993 game, there was a very different postseason for college football, and there was a sense that if you lost a game that was it for National Championship hopes. I guess I should spin it, did you get the feeling going into that game it was a sort of this is a game we have to win or we have no National Championship hopes? Do you think that change now in college football has been fundamentally changed by the college playoff because it looks like these teams could conceivably meet down the road? 

Holtz: Definitely. We felt that if we didn’t win that game we could not win the National Championship. We also knew by winning the game that wasn’t for the national champion, we still had another game, a Top 10 team. We had a bowl game to play. It would have been much better in ’89 and ’93 as well as a couple other years for us had it gone to the final four and said, okay, we’ll take four teams because there is a good chance Florida State and Notre Dame would have met again. But you could not win it if you didn’t win that game. It didn’t mean you were going to win it because you won it.

Q.) Danny, Florida State was so good that year, it had to have been even more pressure to win that game, and it must have been pretty stunning when you didn’t? 

Kanell: Without question. The plane ride home was a long one, and it was quiet. We really felt like our season was over. The chance to win the national title and give Bobby Bowden his first championship was out the window. It was a long week of practice. Our coaches tried to harp on us and say, hey, look, there is still a chance that we could get back in it. I don’t know if we even believed them at the time. But I vividly remember because at the time we lived in an athletic dorm and the entire football team lived at Burt Reynolds Hall. When Notre Dame came to Boston College, you could hear the shouts and celebration across Tallahassee, for sure, because that’s the minute we felt like we were back in the hunt.

Q.) Coach, I know Brian Kelly and Jimbo Fisher would never admit this, but from your position as a coach, would you handle things or at least maybe internalize things a little differently if you had a four‑team playoff back then? Maybe pace your team a little differently? Not feel quite as much pressure to win every game? How does that work from a coaching standpoint on what you impart to your team, but how do you handle your own business knowing that one loss doesn’t necessarily eliminate you? 

Holtz: Well, I would have approached it the same way. You play it one team, you don’t have to be the best team in the country, we do have to be the best team in the stadium today. But when you do lose, like Danny said, it isn’t the end of the world. It isn’t like we don’t have a chance now. I think it’s much better now. I think coaches feel a lot of pressure now to be one of the final four teams rather than just be the one. Your goal is to be in the top four right now. Your goal then was to be number one all the way through so there was a great deal of pressure. But it’s a little different. All you want to do is get in the playoff. If you can you get in the playoff, you’ve got a chance. If you don’t get in the playoff, you have no chance.

Q.) Coach and Danny, I’m curious for both of you to look at Brian VanGorder, Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator, his team and his personnel, what your impressions of those are and are they good enough to really factor into the outcome of this game? 

Holtz: I disagree with what Danny said before, and I have great respect for him, but I just have a difference of opinion. I don’t think Golson has to play an A‑game. I think Notre Dame’s defense does. The one advantage that Notre Dame has is the offense and defense. I think Notre Dame can run the ball and protect the pass. I’m not sure Florida State can. I think Notre Dame’s secondary plays the ball much better than Florida State.

With that being said, that was my observation before they gave up 43 points to North Carolina. Now is that an enigma or did somebody finally attack them? I know Brian VanGorder, when he was at Georgia, he’s an excellent coach. They’re very sound in what they do. But I would be concerned after the North Carolina game. Up until then, I felt Notre Dame’s defense was definitely for real.

Kanell: I’ll piggyback on what Coach said and specifically on Brian VanGorder. I think he’s one of the strongest defensive coordinators in the game with what he brings to the table. He brings a ton of stuff. I mean, you have to have a very smart, intelligent defense to pull off some of the schemes that he does, and that can present some challenges for Florida State. I would agree with Coach where in the trenches Notre Dame does have an advantage. Florida State has struggled mightily running the football, and that is one area where Notre Dame can absolutely go toe to toe with Florida State.

Q.) Just curious of your impressions of how Notre Dame handled suspensions of players involved in the academic probe, and just kind of your takeaway from all of that? 

Holtz: Having been at Notre Dame, it doesn’t surprise me that they would investigate everything seriously. I was at the University of Notre Dame, I am surprised it took them so long to make the decision. How long could it take to investigate something? One thing I learned as a Coach at Notre Dame for 11 years, Notre Dame is going to march to their own drummer, they don’t care what people on the outside say, as a matter of fact, they don’t even care what the football Coach says. They’re going to do what they feel is in the best interest of the university, and uphold the integrity of the university. I’m just surprised it took that long.

I’m not surprised what they did, the manner they did, the decision they reached. I have no idea on anything involved but that’s just Notre Dame.

Kanell: I would say this is why Notre Dame is truly an elite academic institution with the standards they hold their student‑athletes to. It’s just a different set of rules that they expect their students to go by. I think that speaks to the challenge and how hard it is, not only to get top‑tier athletes into the University, but to keep them there. It’s extremely rigorous. The expectations are extremely high, but I think that’s why it’s a special place as well.

Holtz: In ’89 we’re defending national champ. I’m getting ready to go to the press conference to start the fall camp. Notre Dame informs me at noon that day that Tony Brooks drove his car on campus and emptied his clothes. He was not allowed to do that because he had parking tickets, he would not play for the entire year. He never set foot on the football field.

They informed me that Michael Stonebreaker had a car accident during the off‑season where he had been drinking.  He was not charged with drunken driving or anything else. He, again, an All‑American linebacker, would not play the entire year. Neither one of them set foot on the field the entire year of ’89. And just that when Tony Rice came in, and I promised Tony that I thought he could get in, not knowing Notre Dame. They told me that they would admit Tony Rice, however, his freshman year he would not set foot on the football field or the Coach’s office. It would be the one year for spring practice, but have nothing to do with football until he could prove he could handle the work academically. That’s just the way Notre Dame is, and you accept it. When you go there, you understand that’s the way Notre Dame operates.

Q.) If you could just let me slip in a quick question about Minnesota. This might be near and dear to Lou’s heart.  But the Big Ten west looks wide open right now. I’m wondering if either of you see any scenario where Minnesota could end up playing in Indianapolis at the end of the year? 

Holtz: Well, I went on TV the first week of the season and I picked Minnesota as a dark horse in the Big Ten. I like what Jerry Kill has done, and yes, they have a chance.  The last three games have been difficult.  I think they play Ohio State, Wisconsin and Nebraska the last few games. We also have Iowa, but they’ve got Illinois, they’ve got Indiana in there. The thing I like is they can run the ball. They’re physical. They play good, sound defense. They play old‑fashioned football and they do not beat themselves. They did get beat up pretty good at TCU but just the way they play and looking at them, I pick them.

Kanell: I would say they absolutely have a chance in the Big Ten West. When you look at what they’ve got, they’ve got maybe one of the most underrated coaches in the game with Jerry Kill and the job he’s done building that program a consistent identity behind David Cobb running the football, and being able to do it successfully and basically coming out and saying all right, we’re going to establish the run and getting that done. Then you throw it in there that they’re playing in the division that is completely wide open right now, they absolutely have every chance.

Q.) I wonder if you guys can talk a little about the ’94 game and also the Orange Bowl, the ’95 season. I know those games are almost 20 years ago, but have you talked about those matchups as you’ve been on the ESPN campus? 

Holtz: Well, let me start. In ’94 we were in a rebuilding mode. We had a freshman quarterback. We went down played in Orlando. We didn’t play really well, Florida State did. We were in the game because Bobby [Taylor] picked up a fumble, ran in for a touchdown and we were in the game in the fourth quarter. But we really were in a rebuilding year. The Orange Bowl, we lost our starting quarterback and had to go with a back‑up front crew to replace very little. Florida State had an excellent football team. We jumped off to a pretty good lead early in the game. We ran the ball well and came out with the one‑back set. First play we ran, I think we picked up about 40 yards. But we built up the momentum.

What I remember off that game is they got the momentum right before the half. We had the ball on our 20‑yard line, 4th and 8. I ran a fake punt and it was successful. We picked up the first down. But I had noticed with five minutes to go in the game we’re up by 11 and could not hang on to it.

The play, I’ll never forget it, it was right in front of me. The receiver, I don’t know who it was, came down, ran a post corner post route and beat our corner for a long 55‑yard touchdown pass. Very well‑executed, very well‑thrown.  But it was a very, very good game. We had a chance to win it, but we just couldn’t hang on. Tom Krug did an excellent job considering everything. Florida State beat us up pretty good with their pass rush. Tom Krug took a beating, but Derrick Mayes had a tremendous game that day as wide receiver. I don’t remember much other than that.

Kanell: I vividly recall Bobby Taylor’s corner blitz where he hit me upside the head and had to scoop and score for the touchdown.  ’94, for me personally it was a time where I was still very much growing as a quarterback and trying to figure out my way and trying to establish myself as a guy who could help lead Florida State to a championship. That game I had faced a lot of adversity because of that play and because we had sputtered along offensively.

There was a signature play in that game in ’94 in Orlando. It was maybe a 30 or 40‑yard gainer, and that one kind of just for me allowed me to breathe a big sigh of relief and it got some momentum for us. I think Mark Richt, the play caller at the time, said hey, we’re going to try to mash them a little bit toward the end of the game, and we really did on the ground. Then just coming out of there with a win was a big one.

Then the Orange Bowl. That was my last game as a senior at Florida State and I remember the pressure leading into that game. There were a bunch of streaks that were on the line for Bobby Bowden and the program as far as consecutive bowl wins, 10‑game winning season, and I wanted to go out with a win as a senior being my last game.  It was a very physical game. I remember that. I remember getting knocked down several times. Then I recall coming back in the fourth quarter from behind and having Andre Cooper was the MVP of that game. That was my wide receiver. We had a real knack for each other for being able to throw the jump ball. We were always on the same page, whether I would put it up high or behind on his back shoulder or lead him down the field.

Then I would say that one of the most rewarding experiences for me in my career was after the game being able to bring my family on the field, my parents. I’ve got a photo still up in my office with my dad and I and the smile on both of our faces might be the biggest smile you’ve ever seen from both of us.

Q.) I cover Oklahoma and I’m trying to get a fix on the Sooners. They looked awfully good the first four weeks of the season and have really evened out. They lost to TCU and statistically were dominated by Texas. Won the game but didn’t look very good winning it. Do you have a sense of where this team is headed under Coach Stoops? 

Holtz: I think that I picked Oklahoma. I happened to do the bowl game. It was the pregame show with the Sugar Bowl and I was shocked at how well Trevor Knight played. I mean, he had averaged about a 50% completion for the year. He had like five touchdowns and six interceptions. Then for him to put on that performance and the Oklahoma team, the way they played together and focused and being on that sideline and seeing them, every time Alabama scored, they responded well. I don’t see that same thing in the last couple weeks. I don’t see the total togetherness.

I’m sure Coach Stoops will try to get that back, but they just started making the plays on defense, but the big thing, they aren’t making them on offense as well. You go the first half against Texas, I have great respect for [Texas’ Vance] Bedford. He played safety at Texas when I was at Arkansas, and he runs the same type of defense. But they only gained 19 yards against us. You’ve got to sit back and say, man, we’ve got some problems. But this happened during the middle of the year. I want to tell you, your chemistry changes, guys aren’t playing, guys get injured, guys have girlfriends. You don’t know what that locker room’s like.

I can tell you the locker room before the Sugar Bowl had to be tremendous because of the way they played. I’m not sure everybody’s on the same page right now. But that happens. Is it a reflection on Coach Stoops? These are the situations that you have to cope with as a Coach, and right the ship, and I’m sure he will.

Kanell:  I would say with this Oklahoma team, it wasn’t that long ago that most of the analysts around Bristol and around the country were saying that Oklahoma might have been the one elite team because it didn’t look like they had a lot of weaknesses.

The good news for Oklahoma is they may not be the elite team now, but there truly isn’t an elite team. Mississippi State right now is making their case and they’ve had an impressive run. But Oklahoma has run into a tough part of their schedule. They’re facing better teams and getting challenged more. You can look at the TCU game and say we’ve lost. But TCU is a good squad. They lost on the road and were able to contain a TCU who just loss with 58 points on the board against Baylor. Against Texas, I watched that game pretty closely. I was in studio with Mack Brown who had a lot of interest in that game, and it was the first half. Like Coach said, they didn’t do anything in the first half offensively, and Texas pretty much dominated that game from a physical standpoint. They had played better.

But in a rivalry game, you find a way to win. In today’s era, there are a lot of parities. It’s all about finding a way to win. And Oklahoma, even with the one loss, I’m sure there is in panic around Norman saying what’s going on?  We’re not blowing people out. You’ve got everything sitting right in front of you. Your biggest games remaining are at home when you look at Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State, so everything is there for the taking.

Holtz: The other thing Oklahoma had is they have to be happy TCU lost because if they win out, they’re going to at least be tied for the conference championship. So they still control their own destiny.

Q.) Obviously the winner of this game controls its destiny for a playoff chance. But what do you think the chances are if either team loses to get back and be found? And which one has a better chance because of the schedules and all of getting into the playoff hunt where they lost? 

Holtz: I think Notre Dame, both of them have an excellent chance with this loss. I think the team that wins this game is really punching their ticket to the final four. You look at their schedule remaining at Notre Dame. They have an open date after this game. Then they play Navy, Arizona State is having severe problems on defense. They have to travel out to this other town which is always a rivalry game. But they should be okay.

I think looking at Florida State and Notre Dame, both of them, regardless of the outcome of this game should win out. If both sides do that, both of them will be in the game again and have a chance to possibly repeat this performance.

Kanell: I do feel like it’s more of a must‑win game for Florida State. I’m sure if Florida State lost this game the immediate reaction after would be well, they’re done. Because they play in the ACC which is one of the weaker conferences in college football, because the remaining schedule, there aren’t too many tests where they can make a statement down the road as it looks now.

Now if you’re Florida State and you did lose, you’d immediately start rooting for Miami and Florida to play well so you can have stronger wins. But I think the team that probably has the best chance to move on with a loss and get back in the hunt is Notre Dame, just because of the schedule that they’ve got set before them and because of their signature win against Stanford at home. Then significant road tests, where if they can pull that off and go on the road at Arizona State and at USC, in the middle of those is Northwestern and Louisville, two pretty good Power Five schools that would absolutely be back in the hunt.

Q.) I know it’s probably unlikely, but can you come up with any scenario where two teams in the SEC West could make it to the final four this year? 

Kanell: I personally don’t think it happens, but there is absolutely a scenario where it could. Right now the state of Mississippi, which has been the hottest thing in college football this year, if they continue to run the table and they’re undefeated going into their egg bowl, their rivalry matchup, and they play a tight, tight game that comes down to a field goal, and both look impressive against each other, then the winner would go on to the SEC Championship game and dominate that game and beat whoever the SEC East representative is, so you’d have two really impressive looking teams from the SEC, there would be a chance.

But I think you would have to have a collapse around the country as far as Florida State would probably have to lose so you would open up a spot there that wouldn’t have been taken by an undefeated Florida State. The Pac‑12 would have to have a down year where you could have a two or even potentially a three‑loss champion. There are just a lot of different scenarios that have to play out.

I personally don’t think it will happen. That, for me personally has something more to do if I was on the committee, I would want to see conference champions represented in there as opposed to somebody who would lose the last game of the season and be represented.

Holtz: I think that for the SEC, I do believe the SEC has two of the four best teams in the country. But I think the rest of the conference, I think winning your conference championship should be mandatory. That’s just how I feel. If you don’t win your conference championship, you shouldn’t be in the National Championship. That’s just happened too much in recent years. North Carolina State was good with David Thompson, and they played Maryland in the finals of the ACC Tournament. Maryland had John Lucas and Tom McMillen. N.C. State wins in overtime. Maryland cannot go to the NCAA Tournament because the conference champion should go. I think that’s the way it should be. We have five major conferences. Four of them should send a representative. And if Notre Dame proves they’re better than any of the conference champions, they should be considered as well.

I just don’t like it. You don’t win your conference, you shouldn’t be a national champ. That’s just how I feel today.

Kanell: I would add to what Coach said, the perfect solution is to have eight teams, five conference champions and then you could have three at‑large. So you could have two teams from a strong SEC or strong Pac‑12 or whatever conference was having a good year. But that would just make way too much sense for college football right now.

Holtz: It would make more sense if we went back to January 1, after January 1, we’ll take the top four teams in the country, because at that time they’d have eight teams and consequently every bowl game would be very important.  I promise you, the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl with the semifinal stage is going to have the national interest.  There are going to be a lot of other great games. I don’t know who will be in it, but you’ll have a lot of other great games and an awful lot of interest. You said we’re going to take a bowl game that will have great interest in it.

Q.) I want both of your thoughts on the final drive of the 1993 game and the significance of that game overall for both programs. Just what it meant to college football in general, the 1993 matchup? 

Holtz: The final drive should have been completely irrelevant. We’re ahead 21‑7, and we draft some passes wide open.  We’re at 21‑7 halftime.  The first 26 minutes of the second half we scored ten points, Florida State scored 10 points, and we’re up 31‑17. Four minutes or less to go in the game, Florida State has 4th and 20 on our 20, 4th and 20. They throw a pass, it hits our linebacker in the helmet. If he doesn’t have a helmet on, he would have had a concussion. Ball bounces up in the air. Florida State catches the ball. That made it 31‑24. We get the kickoff now, we’re fighting the clock. We run the ball three times. We don’t get a first down, we punt, we hold on. We had a prevent defense, so to speak, some people call it prevent, some call it victory, I call it prevent victory. But with the speed that Florida State had, and the elusiveness of Charlie Ward, we didn’t want to give up the big play.

But if we did get down inside on the 20, now we can clamp on you. We don’t have to worry about you getting behind on it, et cetera, and that was the nature of our defense. Florida State was a great football team. Bobby Bowden was a great coach, but more importantly a great person. I’ll say this about Florida State, they’re class people with a class name. Florida State may have beaten us seven out of 10 times. That’s very, very possible. I honestly felt on that particular day we were the better football team. If it’s not 4th and 10 and our linebacker just knocked it down, then everything else is irrelevant, and they aren’t talking about that last play.

Kanell: I guess I would go along with Coach. I didn’t play in the game. I was a holder for the kick, but I remember the incredible atmosphere. When you think about college football and the types of games you want to play in, there is not one you can picture being much better than that, especially the way the game played out. That was my first time in South Bend. There is definitely an aura about that stadium, about that environment. I can never get out of my mind how close the fans were to being on the field. Just the coaches told us, hey, make sure you have your helmet. Don’t put them down on the bench. The fans can grab them.

If you go back and watch the last play of the game, you can see fans and their toes are on the field. Now we’re so paranoid and they have coaches that keep people away. But it was great. We loved it. We were excited about going into that environment. Just from the standpoint from our end, even though we trailed most of the game because of Charlie Ward, they brought us back so many times in the fourth quarter or whenever we trailed, there was never a sense of panic, no matter how late in the game it kept going. Then there was sort of a feeling of shock because we felt like we were the best team in the country, and felt like we let it get away from us. Like we talked about before on the call, we felt like our season was over when we lost that game.

But it was such an incredible environment. For me personally, I had actually played the week before against Maryland. Charlie was hurt. And I’m sure there was some gamesmanship from our coaches saying we’re not sure what Charlie Ward’s status is and would he play, and I was terrified. I had just started my first game as a collegiate quarterback the week before. I had watched Charlie closer in that Notre Dame game than ever before and just kept praying that I would not have to go in that game because it was a different speed of athlete on the field for that one.

Holtz: I won’t dispute that Florida State was the best team in the country. You were a great football team.

Q.) Coach, obviously Florida State riding a school record 22‑game winning streak, and 25 years ago you were in the middle of a 23‑game winning streak. I’m curious, what is the mood of the team when things are really rolling along like that. Do you feel invincible? How does that confidence build? 

Holtz: Well, to have a 23‑game winning streak, it takes two seasons. So you look at your football team, and we never talked about the streak. But to do that streak, you’ve got to play well on the road. Once you go on the road, and we told the team all the time, make sure before you pack your pads, let’s pack our discipline. Let’s pack our togetherness. Let’s pack our defense. Let’s pack our kicking game. If we took those with us, we’d be okay. But you expect to win.

But I tell you what you do. You reach a point, and this is what Nick Saban faces, Urban Meyer faces, all coaches that are used to winning, and even Jimbo Fisher, when you win it’s a relief. You can’t celebrate a win because everybody expects you to win. Thank goodness it’s over. When you lose, it’s absolute, complete rejection, dejection, disappointment. I can’t tell you how painful a loss is when you’re used to winning. That’s when people get out of coaching.

When I left Notre Dame, I never thought I’d coach again, but it got to the point where you couldn’t enjoy a win. You didn’t win big enough. You didn’t do this, you didn’t do that. We finished second in the country, and everybody calls you an idiot. You just keep going with it. I’m sorry it didn’t continue, but we lost to a very good Miami team down there.

Q.) It sounds like the pressure builds faster than any joy as you continue to win? 

Holtz: Absolutely. There is no joy in that winning streak. It’s just oh, we got by that one. I don’t care if you’re playing Navy. You’re scared to death. You can’t enjoy a win because everybody expects you to win. So you’re not enjoying the winning streak, et cetera. You’re not even aware of it as you go along. But I can tell you this, losing is an absolute catastrophe.

Q.) As you look back now, how great of an accomplishment was that? 

Holtz: Well, you think of all the great teams that have been to Notre Dame, you think of all the great coaches at Notre Dame, and nobody’s ever won 23 games in a row. Now I think the streak is longer being undefeated, but there are some tie games in there. But you have to look at it and say you know ‑‑ but you have to remember this.  When that streak was going on, you count how many were in top 20 football teams. You’ll find the majority of those wins. In ’89 when we’re doing that, we beat seven conference champions.

In ’88, we beat the number two, the number three, and the number four team in the final poll. I think we end up beating six teams in the Top 10. So when I look back, I say it was really incredible, not that we won 23, but we won those 23 was impressive.

Q.) Connor Cook has had a pretty solid season so far. He’s a junior. Do you think there is any chance that he leaves early for the NFL? And if he does, what are his prospects? 

Holtz: I think that depends upon him and the Coach and how they approach it. I always told seniors that you had a great career because our seniors were here to guide you and direct you. And you have that same obligation to the players coming up, plus we had a chance to win a championship. I would not pull Michigan State out of that championship race right now either. I think they’re playing very well.

Connor Cook is 16‑2 as a quarterback starter, which is an unbelievable record if you look at Winston and Golson.  But I think he’s an excellent quarterback. I think you have to look at what other quarterbacks would be coming out.  I think Marcus Mariota is really talented, et cetera. I think you have to look at where you’re going to be drafted and where the future is. But I’ve told this to other quarterbacks and other players and it’s turned out to be true. If you stay ‑‑ and this was Todd Lyght, Todd Lyght was an All‑American junior ‑‑ Todd, if you stay, I’m going to pay you $5 million if you’ll stay at Notre Dame one more year. Because, you see, Todd, you’ll probably go in the second round this year. Next year you may be a Top 10 pick.

He ends up being the sixth player in the draft, so he ended up making more money by staying for us. Now I didn’t pay him, but he ended up making more money. So I think you have to look at the family background. Rocket Ismail came and said if I’m offered $18 million, if I stay another year, do you think I’ll get a better deal, a better job? I said no, I don’t think so. And his family was such that they felt they needed the money. So I think there are many so circumstances. Danny can talk about it more from an athlete. I can only talk about it from a Coach.

Kanell: I think Connor Cook’s an exceptional quarterback. I’ve been impressed with his development through the latter portion of last season where I really felt Michigan State should have been talked about more as potentially playing in the national title game. I thought they got completely overlooked and should have at least been considered throughout that process. When you look at it, I used to be hard core, you have to stay your entire career, and the most important thing is your degree.

But as I’ve grown older and hopefully wiser, I think you have to look at every situation individually and look at what your opportunities are. Like Coach said, who else is coming out? Where your own comfort level is. How is your maturity as a young man? Are you ready to step into the professional ranks and step into a franchise where you might have to lead grown men that are ten years older than you? Where are you personally? I think a lot of that has to come into the picture. If you do stay now, there are some benefits to staying which you’re seeing more and more guys. A lot of people aren’t aware of it, but you’re seeing schools will pick up the premium payments for an insurance policy. If so if you come out, you decide to investigate, you load up on an insurance policy where if you did have an injury and you weren’t drafted or even as high, you can go and get insurance for that and the school can assist. I think it comes with the entire process. You have to weigh your options and make the most informed, best decision for you personally.

Q.) Where do you see Michigan State standing in the whole playoff conversation? What is needed out of Michigan State to overcome their reputations? That’s been something a lot of people talked about so far this year? 

Holtz: I think as I evaluate it, I think the Big Ten is a little underrated or at least it’s improved. I think you look at Indiana and Illinois, they play good defense. Indiana can run the ball, Illinois can throw it. But I think Ohio State is vastly improved. They get better each and every week. Their quarterback has improved tremendously. Their defense is getting better. Ohio State plays Michigan State. I think the winner of that game has a chance to be one of the final four provided they win out and win the championship.

But I think Michigan State is a very good football team. I can’t believe how many points they gave up to Purdue.  That’s a shocker. Because one player has been constant, it’s a Narduzzi defensive team at Michigan State is not going to give up many points. That surprised me. But I do believe they run the ball well. Connor Cook, and the receiver. Remember this, two years ago they had quarterback problems. They also had receiver problems. Nobody talked about the receivers, but they couldn’t catch a cold.

Kanell: I absolutely think they have a chance. I think it’s been Ohio State and Michigan State, and the winner of that game has an outstanding chance to represent the Big Ten and the College Football Playoff. When you look at Michigan State, I think you have to win out. You have to root for Oregon, and hope that Oregon wins the Pac‑12 and has an impressive year. You go out and take care of business. Everybody wrote off the Big Ten. After that loss to Oregon, that was that first weekend when Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech.

There were some ugly losses across the board for the Big Ten. Everybody was down on them. There was still so much football left and there still is. You can’t get caught up and worry about it. I think Coach Dantonio has done an outstanding job of getting his team back on track. You talk about teams with identities. Even last year’s defense which was exceptional, they lost a lot of talent, but it wasn’t for the NFL. He has a defense that’s always going to come ready to play now they have this three‑pronged attack on offense between Connor Cook, Jeremy Langford, Tony Lippett, where they’ve got three solid weapons that bring really good weapons on the offensive side of the ball. So this team could be in the top four when it’s all said and done.

Holtz: I must say, don’t underestimate Ohio State. That’s not to say they lost to Virginia Tech, because they’re getting better each and every week, and I’m anxious to see that game.

Q.) This week the win percentage of Jameis Winston and Everett Golson they’re both a combined in college, your thoughts on how these two can continually find ways to win, and what it means to have a quarterback that’s wired that way? 

Holtz: Well, if you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have a winning team. I’m going to tell you. There is no other position in baseball, maybe a goalie in hockey or soccer, that dominates the game more than quarterback does.  But they also are surrounded by some very good talent. Everett Golson, as Danny mentioned earlier, he just managed the game, now he’s a play maker. The reason I think both these players win is they have good talent around them. They have good coaches, and they realize talent.

But these quarterbacks can beat you four different ways. They can beat you with their arm, they can beat you with their head, they can beat you with their feet. Some of the plays that Jameis made last year was incredible as well as Golson does on a consistent basis. The other way they can beat you is with their heart. They’re winners.  They’re competitors, and Danny knows that’s inbred in certain quarterbacks and not in others.

Tony Rice had that, that he was going to find a way to win. One time Tony Rice held the record for the most consecutive passes completed. Just something about it. People underestimate the leadership, the heart, whatever you want to call it. They had their head, but their heart and leadership is critical.

Kanell: I’m with Coach. I think that’s the most important thing when you look at the quarterback. Evaluation is he a winner? And I think these young quarterbacks who have done that as well as anybody in the country. I’d rather see a guy who comes out of a game and his stat line might not be that great, but he found a way to get it done and lift the play of the players around him. And that’s probably what both of these guys do better than most in the country is they really lift the players around them on the field and in the huddle.

I think they both have a presence. I’ve gotten to sit down with both of them. They have a presence about them, sort of an intangible quality that you’re drawn to them. You want to play for them. You feel confident when they’re under center and they’re taking the snap that something good with happen. But I will say this, both quarterbacks have to play better than they have as of late. If you look at the last two or three games, both have been a little sloppy with the football.

Everett Golson started off the year exceptionally well protecting the football. He fumbled the ball six times, lost it five times, got a little sloppy with interceptions. And the same thing with Jameis Winston where the first half of games whether it was N.C. State, going back to the Oklahoma State game he’s been a little careless in the first half too. This is a game where it could come down to the final possession. And every possession is going to count.  There is no meaningless possession where you can afford a bad mistake. So they both have to clean up their play, in my opinion, to get it done in this game.

Holtz: The thing about Golson, you’re playing North Carolina. Gave up 70 points to Carolina, 50 to another opponent. This is my Heisman game. Put up big numbers, make the great plays, do all these things and do things that you don’t normally do. Against Florida State, I’m sure Coach Kelly’s going to say we don’t need the great play.  We need to eliminate the bad play. Forget about everything. Go out, play the game, play intelligent, and don’t try to do stuff you aren’t capable of.

Q.) I was wondering if you could reflect on the first College Gameday, first one going on the road and what a big deal that was at the time and how it spawned sort of this show that sort of intertwined in the fabric of college football? 

Holtz: Well, I remember vividly. People say what do you remember most about the game against Florida State? The first time GameDay went to the site. I knew Lee Corso since 1961 when he was an assistant at Navy and I was an assistant at William & Mary. He said would you come to our GameDay set. Now they didn’t have it at the stadium. They had it up in the Joyce Center, which was just outside my office up one flight of stairs. I said, yeah, after I get done. So as soon as I get done, I go up there and they put the ear piece in, I do the interview. Now in my life, and I’m an old man – my birthday candles cost more than the cake – I’ve never had an earache in my life, but that Sunday my ears started hurting. Monday I had a very bad earache. Tuesday it was excruciating. They called the team physician, he came over and looked at my ear, took a pair of tweezers and pulled the ear piece that ESPN left in my ear out of my ear. That’s what I remember about GameDay.

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NBA Countdown Returns on ABC and ESPN

NBA-on-ESPN-logoNBA Countdown Returns on ABC and ESPN

  • Sage Steele Hosts Fridays and Sundays with Analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins
  • Doris Burke, Avery Johnson and Rose Return for Wednesday Shows
  • Countdown Hits Miami on Christmas Day

NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pregame studio show – returns for the 2014-15 NBA season, beginning this preseason and will extend through the NBA Finals in June. Sage Steele, in her second season as host, will be joined by returning analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins for Friday shows on ESPN and Sunday shows, generally on ABC.

Steele, Rose and Collins will make their debut this preseason on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET, preceding ESPN’s NBA preseason doubleheader. The trio will then make its regular-season debut on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. for a one-hour show leading into ESPN’s opening night games. The Oct. 29 edition of NBA Countdown will include a live performance by International recording artist Aloe Blacc. Steele, Rose and Collins will resume their regular Friday schedule on Oct. 31 and regular Sunday schedule after Christmas Day.

NBA Countdown on Wednesdays

Regular Wednesday editions of NBA Countdown on ESPN will begin on Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The trio of ESPN NBA Insider Doris Burke and analysts Jalen Rose and Avery Johnson will return for its second season together.

NBA Countdown in Miami on Christmas Day

For the first time, NBA Countdown will travel for on-site pregame and halftime shows during ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA Christmas Day schedule. Steele, Rose and Collins will appear on set at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. for Countdown at 2 p.m. ABC will exclusively broadcast LeBron James’ return to Miami as the Heat host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 5 p.m.

@ESPNNBA preseason doubleheader

ESPN will televise an NBA preseason doubleheader on Wednesday, Oct. 22, beginning at 8 p.m. when the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James visit the Memphis Grizzlies and Zach Randolph. In the nightcap, the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe visit the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul.

@ESPNNBA opening night coverage

ESPN’s regular-season NBA game coverage tips off on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. when the Chicago Bulls and the returning Derrick Rose visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. At 10:30 p.m., the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook visit the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard. Full schedule details are available on ESPN Media Zone.

-30-

Industry-Leading 1,500 Men’s College Basketball Games across ESPN Networks

ESPN_College_Basketball_logoESPN’s extensive multiplatform coverage of the 2014-15 men’s college basketball season will include more than 1,500 games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, SEC Network and Longhorn Network as well as content on ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN The Magazine and more. ESPN3’s record schedule of exclusive games and its lineup of outermarket matchups will be included in a future release.

The game action will begin on Friday, Nov. 14, and feature the third annual Armed Forces Classic matching Minnesota, coached by Richard Pitino, against Louisville, led by Richard’s father Rick, from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, a SEC Network doubleheader, marking the first live regular-season college basketball games on the first-year network, and four matchups on ESPNU, including Hampden-Sydney versus the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, also at the U.S. Coast Guard base, at 1 p.m.

Every game will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, through ESPN on Xbox LIVE, Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku devices to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

New this Year

  • This year’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – originating from the site of ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV telecasts – will feature a flexible schedule that provides more options to follow storylines as the season develops. The sites for the eight-week series – January 17 to March 7 – will be announced during the season. The morning editions of the show will begin at 10 a.m. on ESPNU and continue at 11 a.m. on ESPN, while a one-hour version will air on ESPN leading into the game-of-the-week telecast.
  • As the result of a new multiyear agreement, ESPN will televise six Battle 4 Atlantis tournament matchups from Paradise Island in the Bahamas. This season’s field includes Butler, Florida, Georgetown, North Carolina, Oklahoma, UCLA, UAB and Wisconsin.
  • The new SEC Network will present more than 118 SEC games exclusively, highlighted by weekly Tuesday and Wednesday doubleheaders and an extensive lineup every Saturday.
  • Every Big 12 matchup that was previously available through syndication will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and for the first time, ESPNEWS.
  • ESPN will also carry a network record number of Big Ten games with additional matchups across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN3.

Schedule highlights:

  • For the fourth straight year, ESPN will showcase four of the all-time winningest programs in the State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader to close out the 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The games from Indianapolis, site of this season’s men’s Final Four, will showcase four teams in an early ESPN.com preseason poll: No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke at 7 p.m. and No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 Kentucky at 9 p.m.
  • The seventh annual Tip-Off Marathon presented by Dish will celebrate the start of the season with 20 live games – 18 men’s and two women’s – in nearly 29 hours from Monday, Nov. 17 to Tuesday, Nov. 18. The Marathon will tip off Monday at 7 p.m. with the first games of a men’s tripleheader on ESPNU and women’s doubleheader on ESPN2. Following the women’s telecasts, ESPN2 will televise seven consecutive men’s matchups beginning at 11 p.m. ESPN’s schedule of five consecutive games starts at noon on Tuesday and concludes with the State Farm Champions Classic. ESPN2 will also televise a Tuesday primetime doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • ESPN will provide fans with live coverage of at least one game on an ESPN television network every day but seven from November 14 to March 8 (November 15, 22 and 29; December 24 and 26; and January 1 and 12).
  • In addition, the fifth season of the ESPN Buzzer Beater network will offer 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 Saturday, Jan. 10.
  • The regular-season will culminate with ESPN’s 30thconsecutive season of Championship Week wall-to-wall conference tournament coverage March 5-15.

Franchise Programming

ESPN’s franchise weeks consisting of top matchups around notable times in the schedule will return on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS:

  • Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s (Nov. 24-30)
  • Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers (Dec. 13-23)
  • My Home Court (Jan. 13-18)
  • Rivalry Week Presented by Wendy’s (Feb. 16-22)
  • Bracket Builder Week Presented by Dish (Feb. 23-March 1)
  • Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods (March 5-15)

Events and Tournaments

Special tournaments and events:

  • Armed Forces Classic (Nov. 14)
  • State Farm Champions Classic (Nov. 18)
  • 2K Classic (Nov. 20-21)
  • NIT Season Tip-Off (Nov. 26-28)
  • Progressive Legends Classic (Nov. 24-25)
  • Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 23-24)
  • MGM Grand Main Event (Nov. 24-26)
  • SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic (Dec. 3-6)
  • ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods (Dec. 1-3)
  • Jimmy V Men’s Classic Presented by Corona (Dec. 9)
  • Orlando Classic (Nov. 27-30)
  • Puerto Rico Tip-Off (Nov. 20-23)
  • CBE Hall of Fame Classic (Nov. 24-25)
  • Battle 4 Atlantis (Nov. 26-28)
  • DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Nov. 27-30)
  • Gildan Charleston Classic (Nov. 20-23)
  • EA SPORTS Maui Invitational (Nov. 24-26)
  • Gotham Classic (Dec. 20)
  • MGM Grand Showcase (Dec. 20)
  • Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Dec. 22-25)

Day-by-Day Lineup

ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS and SEC Network will combine to offer top games throughout the season, including many in regular time slots beginning Thursday, Jan. 5, highlighted by (conference assignments can vary):

  • Monday: ESPN’s weekly Big Monday Presented by Verizon doubleheader will showcase the ACC and Big 12 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. In addition, ESPNU will offer a regular schedule of Monday night games, primarily involving the Big 12, ACC, MEAC and SWAC.
  • Tuesday: Super Tuesday will highlight an ESPN Big Ten and SEC doubleheader as well as a weekly ESPN2 prime-time matchup featuring the Big 12. Tuesday will also include a doubleheader on ESPNU at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. showcasing primarily the ACC and SEC, as well as select 11 p.m. games from the Mountain West. SEC Network will also provide a 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. doubleheader.
  • Wednesday: Wednesday Night Hoops will feature ACC, Pac-12, American and Big 12 games on ESPN2 or ESPNU, including a Pac-12 split network doubleheader (ESPN2 at 9 p.m. and ESPNU at 11 p.m.) most weeks. SEC Network will televise two games in a 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. doubleheader.
  • Thursday: The Thursday Night Showcase will feature a fourth season of weekly SEC and Big Ten telecasts, as well as games from the Pac-12 and American on ESPN or ESPN2, while ESPNU will showcase regular action from the Big Ten, West Coast and Ohio Valley among others.
  • Saturday: Day and night coverage as part of the Saturday Showcase Presented by 5-Hour Energy includes games from multiple conferences, including the ACC, American, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, West Coast, Mid-American, Horizon, Sun Belt, Big West and more. Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV, a 9 p.m. game of the week on ESPN, and site of the weekly College GameDay Driven by State Farm series, will return for a 11th season. SEC Network will televise two to three games every Saturday during conference play.
  • Sunday: The weekly ESPNU ACC Sunday Night Basketball series will return for a fourth season and be joined by the Pac-12 for a second straight year and the Missouri Valley on most Sundays.

ESPN The Magazine College Hoops Tip-Off Issue

ESPN The Magazine’s college basketball preview issue – available on newsstands beginning Friday, Oct. 31 – will feature a wide variety of topics. Content includes:

  • A team-by-team look at the top 25 power rankings with insights, analysis and snapshots of the team leaders.
  • A profile piece on Devonta Pollard, a five-star recruit out of Mississippi who signed with Houston, and his effort to capitalize on his talent while coming to terms with knowing his testimony sent his mother to jail for 25 years as the result of a bizarre kidnapping episode.
  • A feature on Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky who returned to the Badgers for his senior season.

2014-15 ESPN Network’s Men’s College Basketball Schedule (Subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Fri, Nov 14 1 p.m. Hampden-Sydney vs. U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) ESPNU
  6 p.m. Presbyterian at Duke ESPNU
  William & Mary at Florida SEC Network
  7 p.m. Armed Forces Classic: Minnesota vs. Louisville (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico) ESPN
  8 p.m. NC Central at North Carolina ESPNU
  Grand Canyon at Kentucky SEC Network
  2K Classic: Regional Round: North Dakota at Texas Longhorn Network
  10 p.m. Milwaukee at Auburn ESPNU
Sun, Nov 16 Noon Buffalo at Kentucky ESPNU
  1 p.m. Chattanooga at Wisconsin ESPNEWS
  4 p.m. 2K Classic: Regional Round: Hampton at Syracuse ESPNU
  6 p.m. Robert Morris at North Carolina ESPNU
  Valparaiso at Missouri SEC Network
  8 p.m. 2K Classic: Regional Round: Alcorn State at Texas ESPNU
Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish on ESPN, ESPN2 & ESPNU (Nov. 17-18)
Mon, Nov 17 7 p.m. Tip-Off Marathon: Miami at Florida ESPNU
  9 p.m. Western Carolina at Alabama SEC Network
  Tip-Off Marathon: Georgia State at Iowa State ESPNU
  11 p.m. Tip-Off Marathon: SMU at Gonzaga ESPN2
  Progressive Legends Classic: Regional Round: Detroit at Oregon ESPNU
Tues, 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 Massachusetts ESPN2
  Noon Baylor at South Carolina ESPN
  2 p.m. Wichita State vs. Memphis (Sioux Falls, S.D.) ESPN
  4 p.m. Utah at San Diego State ESPN
  6 p.m. Progressive Legends Classic: Regional Round: Toledo at VCU ESPNU
  7 p.m. State Farm Champions Classic: Michigan State vs. Duke (Indianapolis, Ind.) ESPN
  NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: Stony Brook at Georgia SEC Network
  7:30 p.m. Marquette at Ohio State ESPN2
  9 p.m. State Farm Champions Classic: Kansas vs. Kentucky (Indianapolis, Ind.) ESPN
  9:30 p.m. Texas Tech at LSU ESPN2
Wed, Nov 19 9 p.m. Wake Forest at Arkansas SEC Network
  11 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Regional Round: Saint Joseph’s at Gonzaga ESPNU
Thu, Nov 20 10:30 a.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Quarterfinal: Texas A&M vs. Dayton (San Juan) ESPNU
  12:30 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Quarterfinal: College of Charleston vs. Connecticut (San Juan) ESPNU
  3 p.m. Gildan Charleston Classic: Quarterfinal: Drexel vs. Miami (Charleston, S.C.) ESPNU
  5 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Quarterfinal: New Mexico vs. Boston College (San Juan) ESPN2
  Gildan Charleston Classic: Quarterfinal: Penn State vs. Charlotte (Charleston, S.C.) ESPNU
  7 p.m. 2k Classic: Semifinal: Texas vs. Iowa (New York City) ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Quarterfinal: George Mason vs. West Virginia (San Juan) ESPNU
  9 p.m. Southern Miss at Alabama SEC Network
  2K Classic: Semifinal: Syracuse vs. California (New York City) ESPN2
Fri, Nov 21 Noon Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Consolation Round: TBD (San Juan) ESPNU or ESPN3
  Gildan Charleston Classic: Consolation Round: TBD (Charleston, S.C.) ESPNU or ESPN3
  2:30 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Semifinal: TBD (San Juan) ESPN2 or ESPNU
  Gildan Charleston Classic: Semifinal: TBD (Charleston, S.C.) ESPN2 or ESPNU
  5 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Semifinal: TBD (San Juan) ESPN2 or ESPNU
  2K Classic: 3rd Place Game (New York City) ESPN2 or ESPNU
  7 p.m. 2K Classic: Championship Game: TBD (New York City) ESPN2
  Gildan Charleston Classic: Semifinal: TBD (Charleston, S.C.) ESPNU
  8 p.m. Louisiana-Monroe at Florida SEC Network
  9 p.m. Marshall at Louisville ESPNU
Sun, Nov 23 Noon Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic: Florida State vs. Massachusetts (Uncasville, Conn.) ESPNU
  2 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: 5th Place Game: TBD (San Juan) ESPNU
  2:30 p.m. Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic: Notre Dame vs. Providence (Uncasville, Conn.) ESPN2
  4 p.m. USF at NC State ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: 3rd Place Game: TBD (San Juan) ESPN2
  6 p.m. Montana State at Kentucky SEC Network
  6:30 p.m. Puerto Rico Tip-Off: Championship: TBD (San Juan) ESPN2
  Gildan Charleston Classic: 3rd Place Game: TBD (Charleston, S.C.) ESPNU
  8 p.m. Northern Arizona at Ole Miss SEC Network
  9 p.m. Gildan Charleston Classic: Championship Game: TBD (Charleston, S.C.) ESPN2
Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPNEWS (Nov. 24-30)
Mon, Nov 24 2:30 p.m. Maui Invitational: Quarterfinal: Purdue vs. Kansas State (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
  5 p.m. Maui Invitational: Quarterfinal: Missouri vs. Arizona (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
  7 p.m. Progressive Legends Classic: Semifinal: Villanova vs. VCU (Brooklyn, New York) ESPN2
  CBE Hall of Fame Classic: Semifinal: Arizona State vs. Maryland (Kansas City, Mo.) ESPNU
  7:30 p.m. Eastern Washington at Indiana ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Quarterfinal: Pittsburgh vs. Chaminade (Maui, Hawaii) ESPNU
  9:30 p.m. CBE Hall of Fame Classic: Semifinal: Alabama vs. Iowa State (Kansas City, Mo.) ESPN2
  11 p.m. MGM Grand Main Event: Semifinal: Auburn vs. Tulsa (Las Vegas, Nev.) ESPNU
  11:30 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Quarterfinal: BYU vs. San Diego State (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
Tue, Nov 25 2 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Consolation Round: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
  4:30 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Consolation Round: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
  7 p.m. UT Arlington at Kentucky SEC Network
  7:30 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Semifinal: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN
  Arkansas at SMU ESPNEWS
  Progressive Legends Classic: 3rd Place Game: TBD (Brooklyn, N.Y.) ESPNU
  8 p.m. Saint Francis (Pa.) at Texas Longhorn Network
  9:30 p.m. CBE Hall of Fame Classic: Championship: TBD (Kansas City, Mo.) ESPNU
  10 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Semifinal: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN
  Progressive Legends Classic: Championship Game: TBD (Brooklyn, N.Y.) ESPN2
Wed, Nov 26 Noon Battle 4 Atlantis: Quarterfinal: North Carolina vs. Butler (Nassau, Bahamas) ESPN2
  2 p.m. Battle 4 Atlantis: Quarterfinal: Oklahoma vs. UCLA (Nassau, Bahamas) ESPN2
  2:30 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: 7th Place Game: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPNU
  5 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: 5th Place Game: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
  Furman at Duke ESPNU
  7 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Semifinal: St. John’s vs. Minnesota (New York City) ESPNU
  7:30 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: 3rd Place Game: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN2
  8 p.m. UNC-Asheville at South Carolina SEC Network
  9:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Semifinal: Georgia vs. Gonzaga (New York City) ESPN2
  10 p.m. EA SPORTS Maui Invitational: Championship Game: TBD (Maui, Hawaii) ESPN
  11:30 p.m. MGM Grand Main Event: Championship Game: TBD (Las Vegas, Nev.) ESPN2
Thu, Nov 27 Noon Orlando Classic: Quarterfinal: Santa Clara vs. Tennessee (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN2
  1 p.m. Battle 4 Atlantis: Semifinal: TBD (Nassau, Bahamas) ESPN
  2 p.m. Orlando Classic: Quarterfinal: Kansas vs. Rhode Island (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN2
  DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Quarterfinal: Princeton vs. UTEP (Fullerton, Calif.) ESPNU
  3 p.m. Battle 4 Atlantis: Semifinal: TBD (Nassau, Bahamas) ESPN
  4 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: LIU Brooklyn vs. Stony Brook (New York City) ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Quarterfinal: San Diego vs. Xavier (Fullerton, Calif.) ESPN2
  6 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Western Kentucky vs. Saint Joseph’s (New York City) ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Orlando Classic: Quarterfinal: Michigan State vs. Rider (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN2
  8:30 p.m. Orlando Classic: Quarterfinal: Marquette vs. Georgia Tech (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN2
  DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Quarterfinal: Long Beach State vs. Western Michigan (Fullerton, Calif.) ESPNU
  11 p.m. DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Quarterfinal: San Jose State vs. Washington (Fullerton, Calif.) ESPN2
Fri, Nov 28 Noon Orlando Classic: Consolation or Semifinal: TBD (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN
  1 p.m. New Orleans at Texas A&M SEC Network
  2 p.m. Battle 4 Atlantis: 3rd Place Game: TBD (Nassau, Bahamas) ESPN
  2:30 p.m. Orlando Classic: Consolation or Semifinal: (Orlando, Fla.) ESPNU
  3:30 p.m. DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Semifinal (Fullerton, Calif.) ESPN2
  4 p.m. Battle 4 Atlantis: Championship Game (Nassau, Bahamas) ESPN
  4:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: 3rd Place Game: TBD (New York City) ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Orlando Classic: Consolation: TBD (Orlando, Fla.) ESPNU
  7 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off: Championship Game: TBD (New York City) ESPN2
  9 p.m. Old Spice Classic: Semifinal: TBD (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN2
  North Texas at Arkansas SEC Network
  11:30 p.m. DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Semifinal: TBD (Fullerton, Calif.) ESPN2
Sun, Nov 30 Noon Texas at Connecticut ESPN2
  Army at Duke ESPNU
  1 p.m. Old Spice Classic: Championship or 3rd Place Game: TBD (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN
  2 p.m. Providence at Kentucky ESPN2
  DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: 5th Place Game: TBD (Anaheim, Calif.) ESPNU
  3:30 p.m. Iona at Arkansas SEC Network
  4 p.m. Orlando Classic: Championship or 3rd Place Game: TBD (Orlando, Fla.) ESPN2
  DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: 3rd Place Game: TBD (Anaheim, Calif.) ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Orlando Classic: 5th Place Game: TBD (Orlando, Fla.) ESPNU
  10 p.m. DIRECTV Wooden Legacy: Championship: TBD (Anaheim, Calif.) ESPN2
Mon, Dec 1 7 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Nebraska at Florida State ESPN2
  ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Rutgers at Clemson ESPNU
  9 p.m. Texas Southern at Baylor ESPNU
Tue, Dec 2 7 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Pittsburgh at Indiana ESPN2
  Stephen F. Austin at Memphis ESPNEWS
  ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Minnesota at Wake Forest ESPNU
  Massachusetts at LSU SEC Network
  7:30 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Syracuse at Michigan ESPN
  8 p.m. UT Arlington at Texas Longhorn Network
  9 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Illinois at Miami ESPN2 or ESPNU
  ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: NC State at Purdue ESPN2 or ESPNU
  USF at Alabama SEC Network
  9:30 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Ohio State at Louisville ESPN
Wed, Dec 3 7:15 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Michigan State at Notre Dame ESPN2
  ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Virginia Tech at Penn State ESPNU
  7:30 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Iowa at North Carolina ESPN
  9 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Auburn at Texas Tech SEC Network / ESPN3
  9:15 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Virginia at Maryland ESPN2
  ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Georgia Tech at Northwestern ESPNU
  9:30 p.m. ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods: Duke at Wisconsin ESPN
  11 p.m. Wichita State at Utah ESPN2
Thu, Dec 4 7 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: LSU at West Virginia ESPN2
  SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Baylor at Vanderbilt ESPNU
  9 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Arkansas at Iowa State ESPN2
  SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: TCU at Ole Miss ESPNU
  11 p.m. San Diego at San Diego State ESPNU
Fri, Dec 5 7 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Texas at Kentucky ESPN
  Wyoming at SMU ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Florida at Kansas ESPN
  9:30 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Missouri at Oklahoma ESPNU
Sat, Dec 6 Noon La Salle vs. Temple (Philadelphia, Pa.) ESPNEWS
  SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Oklahoma State at South Carolina ESPNU
  2 p.m. Virginia at VCU ESPNU
  3:15 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic: Kansas State at Tennessee ESPN2
  5:15 p.m. Gonzaga at Arizona ESPN
  St. John’s at Syracuse ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. Wake Forest at NC State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Arizona State at Texas A&M SEC Network
  9:30 p.m. Bradley at Memphis ESPNU
  11:30 p.m. Boise State at Saint Mary’s ESPNU
Sun, Dec 7 Noon Colorado at Georgia SEC Network
  3 p.m. East Carolina at North Carolina ESPNU
  5 p.m. Arkansas at Clemson ESPNU
  6 p.m. Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky SEC Network
Mon, Dec 8 7 p.m. IPFW at Purdue ESPNU
  Yale at Florida SEC Network
  9 p.m. North Dakota at Minnesota ESPNU
Tue, Dec 9 7 p.m. Jimmy V Classic Presented by Corona: Villanova vs. Illinois (New York City) ESPN
  Seton Hall at Wichita State ESPN2
  UMKC at Iowa State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Jimmy V Classic Presented by Corona: Indiana vs. Louisville (New York City) ESPN
  Texas A&M at Baylor ESPN2
  Alcorn State at Iowa ESPNEWS
  Eastern Michigan at Michigan ESPNU
Wed, Dec 10 7 p.m. Columbia at Kentucky ESPN2
  High Point at Ohio State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Wisconsin at Milwaukee ESPN2
  Utah at BYU ESPNU
  11 p.m. Washington State at Gonzaga ESPNU
Thu, Dec 11 7 p.m. Elon at Missouri SEC Network
Fri, Dec 12 7 p.m. Texas Southern at Florida SEC Network
Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers on ESPN, ESPN2 & ESPNU (Dec. 13-23)
Sat, Dec 13 Noon Wichita State at Detroit ESPNU
  2 p.m. Dayton at Arkansas ESPN2
  St. Bonaventure at Pittsburgh ESPNU
  3:15 p.m. Utah vs. Kansas (Kansas City, Mo.) ESPN
  4 p.m. Xavier at Missouri ESPN2
  4:30 p.m. Western Kentucky at Ole Miss SEC Network
  5:15 p.m. Michigan at Arizona ESPN
  6 p.m. Oklahoma State at Memphis ESPN2
  7 p.m. Sam Houston State at LSU SEC Network
  8 p.m. Florida State at Notre Dame ESPN2
  Texas State at Texas Longhorn Network
  9 p.m. Purdue at Vanderbilt SEC Network
  10 p.m. Gonzaga at UCLA ESPN2
Sun, Dec 14 2 p.m. Butler at Tennessee ESPNU
  4 p.m. Louisiana Tech at Syracuse ESPNU
  6 p.m. UNC Wilmington at Louisville ESPNU
  8 p.m. Oakland at Michigan State ESPNU
Mon, Dec 15 7 p.m. Elon at Duke ESPNU
Tue, Dec 16 7 p.m. North Carolina at UNC Greensboro ESPN2
  Oral Roberts at Oklahoma ESPNU
  8 p.m. Lipscomb at Texas Longhorn Network
  9 p.m. Alabama at Wichita State ESPN2
  Middle Tennessee State at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  Western Carolina at Vanderbilt SEC Network
Wed, Dec 17 7 p.m. Tennessee at NC State ESPN2
  Hampton at Illinois ESPNU
  Arkansas State at Mississippi State SEC Network
  9 p.m. San Diego State at Cincinnati ESPN2
  New Mexico State at Baylor ESPNU
  Winthrop at Auburn SEC Network
Thu, Dec. 18 7 p.m. Cleveland State at Virginia ESPNU
  8 p.m. Connecticut vs. Duke (East Rutherford, N.J.) ESPN
  Coastal Carolina at Ole Miss SEC Network
Fri, Dec 19 7 p.m. Clemson at South Carolina SEC Network
Sat, Dec 20 Noon SMU at Michigan ESPN2
  VCU at Cincinnati ESPNU
  2 p.m. Bud Light Braggin’ Rights: Missouri vs. Illinois (St. Louis, Mo.) ESPN2
  5 p.m. Texas Southern at Michigan State ESPNU
  6 p.m. Xavier at Auburn SEC Network
  7 p.m. Texas A&M vs. Kansas State (Kansas City, Mo.) ESPNU
  8 p.m. Long Beach State at Texas Longhorn Network
  8:30 p.m. Southeast Missouri State vs. Arkansas (Little Rock, Ark.) SEC Network
  9 p.m. MGM Grand Showcase: Oklahoma vs. Washington (Las Vegas, Nev.) ESPNU
  9:30 p.m. Gotham Classic: NC State vs. West Virginia (New York City) ESPN2
  11 p.m. Stanford at BYU ESPNU
  11:30 p.m. MGM Grand Showcase: Utah vs. UNLV (Las Vegas, Nev.) ESPN2
Sun, Dec 21 Noon Harvard at Virginia ESPNU
  2 p.m. Maryland at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  4 p.m. USC at Boston College ESPNU
  6 p.m. Seton Hall at Georgia ESPNU
  Appalachian State at Alabama SEC Network
Mon, Dec. 22 2:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Quarterfinal: Ohio vs. George Washington (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Quarterfinal: DePaul vs. Colorado (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
  7 p.m. Kansas vs. Temple (Philadelphia, Pa.) ESPN2
  Colgate at Syracuse ESPNU
  Mercer at Tennessee SEC Network
  9 p.m. Wisconsin at California ESPN2
  Milwaukee at Arkansas ESPNU
  College of Charleston at LSU SEC Network
  11 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Quarterfinal: Loyola Marymount vs. Wichita State (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
Tue, Dec 23 1 a.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Quarterfinal: Nebraska vs. Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
  2:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Consolation Round: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Semifinal: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
  7 p.m. Stanford at Texas ESPN2
  Cal State Northridge at Louisville ESPNU
  9 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Semifinal: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPN2
  11:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Consolation Round: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
Thu, Dec 25 4 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: 5th or 7th Place Game: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: 3rd Place Game: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPN2
  8:30 p.m. Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic: Championship Game: TBD (Honolulu, Hawaii) ESPN2
Sat, Dec 27 Noon Georgetown vs. Indiana (New York City) ESPN2
  2 p.m. Kentucky at Louisville ESPN2
  6 p.m. Mercer at Georgia SEC Network
  7:30 p.m. UAB at North Carolina ESPN2
  8:30 p.m. Tennessee State at Tennessee SEC Network
  9:30 p.m. Gonzaga at BYU ESPN2
Sun, Dec 28 2 p.m. Long Beach State at Syracuse ESPNU
  3:30 p.m. Northwestern State at Arkansas SEC Network
  6:30 p.m. UCLA at Alabama ESPNU
Mon, Dec 29 7 p.m. Toledo at Duke ESPN2
  Southern Miss at LSU SEC Network
  8 p.m. Rice at Texas Longhorn Network
  9 p.m. San Francisco at Saint Mary’s ESPNU
  Middle Tennessee State at Auburn SEC Network
Tue, Dec 30 Noon Northwestern at Rutgers ESPNU
  1 p.m. Iowa at Ohio State ESPN2
  2 p.m. Virginia Tech at West Virginia ESPNU
  3 p.m. Illinois at Michigan ESPN2
  4 p.m. Cincinnati at NC State ESPNU
  5 p.m. Maryland at Michigan State ESPN2
  6 p.m. Davidson at Virginia ESPNU
  7 p.m. Florida at Florida State ESPN2
  8 p.m. Mercer at Texas A&M SEC Network
  9 p.m. Oklahoma State vs. Missouri (Kansas City, Mo.) ESPN2
Wed, Dec 31 Noon Tulane at East Carolina ESPNEWS
  Tulsa at UCF ESPNU
  1 p.m. Temple at Connecticut ESPN2
  East Tennessee State at Tennessee SEC Network
  2 p.m. Houston at Memphis ESPNU
  4 p.m. Georgia at Kansas State ESPNU
  5 p.m. USF at SMU ESPN2
  6 p.m. Cornell at Syracuse ESPNU
Fri, Jan 2 8 p.m. Florida State at Mississippi State ESPNU
  10 p.m. USC at Utah ESPNU
Sat, Jan 3 TBD SMU at Cincinnati ESPN2
  Illinois at Ohio State TBD
  Kansas State at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  Texas at Texas Tech ESPNU
  Virginia at Miami ESPN2
  Tulane at Memphis ESPNU
  Baylor at Oklahoma ESPN2
  North Carolina at Clemson ESPN
  San Diego State at Fresno State ESPNU
  Penn State at Rutgers ESPN2
  Oregon State at Oregon ESPNU
  Gonzaga at Portland ESPN2
  1 p.m. North Alabama at Auburn SEC Network
  3 p.m. Utah Valley State at Arkansas SEC Network
  5 p.m. Lipscomb at Missouri SEC Network
  7 p.m. Savannah State at LSU SEC Network
Sun, Jan 4 Noon UCF at Temple ESPNEWS
  2 p.m. Houston at Tulsa ESPNEWS
  5:30 p.m. Missouri Valley Wildcard Game ESPNU
  8 p.m. Louisville at Wake Forest ESPNU
  10 p.m. Washington at Stanford ESPNU
Mon, Jan 5 7 p.m. Notre Dame at North Carolina ESPN or ESPN2
  West Virginia at Texas Tech ESPNU
  9 p.m. Oklahoma at Texas ESPN or ESPN2
  9 p.m. Texas Southern at Southern ESPNU
Tue, Jan 6 7 p.m. Arkansas at Georgia ESPN
  Connecticut at USF ESPN2
  UCF at Houston ESPNEWS
  East Carolina at Cincinnati ESPNU
  Ole Miss at Kentucky SEC Network
  9 p.m. Ohio State at Minnesota ESPN
  Oklahoma State at Iowa State ESPN2
  Auburn at Vanderbilt ESPNU
  Texas A&M at Alabama SEC Network
Wed, Jan 7 7 p.m. NC State at Virginia ESPN2
  Temple at Tulane ESPNEWS
  Syracuse at Georgia Tech ESPNU
  Florida at South Carolina SEC Network
  9 p.m. Colorado at Utah ESPN2
  TCU at Kansas State ESPNEWS
  Kansas at Baylor ESPNU
  Tennessee at Mississippi State SEC Network
  11 p.m. California at USC ESPNU
Thu, Jan 8 7 p.m. Michigan State at Iowa ESPN or ESPN2
  LSU at Missouri ESPN or ESPN2
  Big South Wildcard Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. Stanford at UCLA ESPN or ESPN2
  Memphis at SMU ESPN or ESPN2
  Rutgers at Nebraska ESPNU
  11 p.m. Pepperdine at BYU ESPNU
Fri, Jan 9 7 p.m. Akron at Toledo ESPNU
  9 p.m. Green Bay at Milwaukee ESPNU
Sat, Jan 10 11 a.m. Cincinnati at Connecticut ESPN2
  Noon Ohio State at Indiana or Minnesota at Michigan ESPN
  1 p.m. Ohio State at Indiana or Minnesota at Michigan ESPNU
  2 p.m. Louisville at North Carolina ESPN
  Alabama at Tennessee SEC Network
  3 p.m. Tulsa at Temple ESPNEWS
  Texas Tech at Kansas ESPNU
  4 p.m. Baylor at TCU ESPN2
  4:30 p.m. Vanderbilt at Arkansas SEC Network
  5 p.m. Texas at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  6 p.m. Virginia at Notre Dame ESPN2
  7 p.m. Kansas State at Oklahoma ESPNU
  Missouri at Auburn SEC Network
  8 p.m. Iowa State at West Virginia ESPN2`
  9 p.m. Georgia at LSU ESPNU
  11 p.m. Big West Wildcard Game ESPNU
Sun, Jan 11 5 p.m. Missouri Valley Wildcard Game ESPNU
  8 p.m. Florida State at Syracuse ESPNU
  10 p.m. Stanford at USC ESPNU
My Home Court on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPNEWS (Jan 13-18)
Tue, Jan 13 7 p.m. Michigan at Ohio State ESPN
  Oklahoma State at Kansas ESPN2
  Oklahoma at West Virginia ESPNEWS
  Arkansas at Tennessee ESPNU
  Alabama at South Carolina SEC Network
  9 p.m. Missouri at Kentucky ESPN
  Miami at Duke ESPNU
  Mississippi State at Texas A&M SEC Network
  11 p.m. UNLV at Boise State ESPNU
Wed, Jan 14 7 p.m. North Carolina at NC State ESPN2
  Houston at East Carolina ESPNU
  LSU at Ole Miss SEC Network
  8 p.m. Texas Tech at Kansas State ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. UCLA at USC ESPN2
  Iowa State at Baylor ESPNU
  Georgia at Vanderbilt SEC Network
  11 p.m. San Diego State at Wyoming ESPN2
  Stanford at California ESPNU
Thu, Jan 15 7 p.m. Auburn at Florida ESPN or ESPN2
  Cincinnati at Memphis ESPN or ESPN2
  Richmond at George Washington ESPNU
  9 p.m. Nebraska at Wisconsin ESPN or ESPN2
  Colorado at Arizona ESPN or ESPN2
  Belmont at Murray State ESPNU
  11 p.m. BYU at Pacific ESPNU
Fri, Jan 16 7 p.m. MAAC Wildcard Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. St. Francis (N.Y.) at Robert Morris ESPNU
Sat, Jan 17 11 a.m. Tulsa at USF ESPNU
  Noon Duke at Louisville ESPN or ESPN2
  Texas A&M at LSU ESPN or ESPN2
  Tulane at Houston ESPNEWS
  1 p.m. Purdue at Penn State ESPNU
  2 p.m. Ohio State at Iowa ESPN or ESPN2
  Miami at Notre Dame ESPN or ESPN2
  UCF at Memphis ESPNEWS
  3 p.m. Baylor at Kansas State ESPNU
  4 p.m. Kentucky at Alabama ESPN
  TCU at Texas Tech ESPNEWS
  6 or 9 p.m. West Virginia at Texas ESPN
  Kansas at Iowa State ESPN
  6 p.m. Tennessee at Missouri SEC Network
  7 p.m. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. Temple at Cincinnati ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. South Carolina at Auburn SEC Network
  9 p.m. Connecticut at Stanford ESPN2
  9:30 p.m. Ole Miss at Arkansas ESPNU
  11 p.m. BYU at Saint Mary’s ESPN2
  11:30 p.m. Big West Wildcard Game ESPNU
Sun, Jan 18 4 p.m. Missouri Valley Wildcard Game ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Virginia Tech at North Carolina ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Oregon at Washington ESPNU
Mon, Jan 19 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Duke ESPN
  Texas at TCU ESPNU
  9 p.m. Oklahoma at Kansas ESPN
  Florida State at Clemson ESPNU
Tue, Jan 20 7 p.m. LSU at Florida ESPN
  Kansas State at Iowa State ESPN2
  Boston College at Syracuse ESPNU
  Ole Miss at Georgia SEC Network
  9 p.m. Iowa at Wisconsin ESPN
  Tennessee at South Carolina ESPNU
  Vanderbilt at Kentucky SEC Network
Wed, Jan 21 7 p.m. North Carolina at Wake Forest ESPN2
  Houston at Cincinnati ESPNEWS
  Memphis at Tulsa ESPNU
  Missouri at Texas A&M SEC Network
  9 p.m. Texas Tech at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  Mississippi State at Auburn SEC Network
Thu, Jan 22 6:30 p.m. USF at Temple ESPNEWS
  7 p.m. Ohio State at Northwestern ESPN or ESPN2
  Alabama at Arkansas ESPN or ESPN2
  Big South Wildcard Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. Arizona at Stanford ESPN2
  Maryland at Indiana ESPNU
  11 p.m. Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga ESPNU
Fri, Jan 23 7 p.m. VCU at Saint Louis ESPN2
  MAAC Wildcard Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. Horizon League Wildcard Game ESPNU
Sat, Jan 24 Noon Kentucky at South Carolina ESPN or ESPN2
  Oklahoma State at Kansas State ESPN or ESPN2
  Rutgers at Penn State ESPNU
  Tulsa at East Carolina ESPNEWS
  2 p.m. Florida State at North Carolina ESPN or ESPN2
  Arkansas at Missouri ESPN or ESPN2
  TCU at West Virginia ESPNU
  4 or 7 p.m. Michigan State at Nebraska ESPN or ESPN2
  Wisconsin at Michigan ESPN or ESPN2
  4 p.m. Miami at Syracuse ESPN or ESPN2
  Iowa State at Texas Tech ESPNU
  6 p.m. Oklahoma at Baylor ESPN2
  LSU at Vanderbilt ESPNU
  Florida at Ole Miss SEC Network
  8 p.m. Memphis at Tulane ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Auburn at Alabama SEC Network
  10 p.m. Mountain West Wildcard Game ESPNU
  11:59 p.m. Arizona State at Stanford ESPNU
Sun, Jan 25 4 p.m. Missouri Valley Wildcard Game ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Notre Dame at NC State ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Washington at Utah ESPNU
Mon, Jan 26 7 p.m. Syracuse at North Carolina ESPN
  Delaware State at NC Central ESPNU
  9 p.m. Texas at Iowa State ESPN
  Prairie View A&M at Arkansas Pine-Bluff ESPNU
Tue, Jan 27 7 p.m. Nebraska at Michigan ESPN
  West Virginia at Kansas State ESPN2
  Tulsa at Tulane ESPNEWS
  Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech ESPNU
  Vanderbilt at Georgia SEC Network
  9 p.m. Florida at Alabama ESPN
  Baylor at Oklahoma State ESPNEWS
  Tennessee at Arkansas ESPNU
  Texas A&M at Auburn SEC Network
  11 p.m. Mountain West Wildcard Game ESPNU
Wed, Jan 28 7 p.m. SMU at USF ESPNU
  South Carolina at LSU SEC Network
  7:30 p.m. Duke at Notre Dame ESPN2
  Texas Tech at Oklahoma ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. Kansas at TCU ESPNU
  Mississippi State at Ole Miss SEC Network
  11 p.m. Stanford at Washington ESPNU
Thu, Jan 29 7 p.m. Maryland at Ohio State ESPN
  Dayton at Massachusetts ESPNU
  8 p.m. Connecticut at Cincinnati ESPN2
  9 p.m. Kentucky at Missouri ESPN
  Eastern Kentucky at Murray State ESPNU
  10 p.m. Utah at UCLA ESPN2
  11 p.m. San Francisco at BYU ESPNU
Fri, Jan 30 6 p.m. Harvard at Princeton ESPNU
  8 p.m. MAAC Wildcard Game ESPNU
  10 p.m. MAC Wildcard Game ESPNU
Sat, Jan 31 Noon Wisconsin at Iowa ESPN or ESPN2
  Auburn at Tennessee ESPN or ESPN2
  Texas Tech at West Virginia ESPNU
  1 p.m. USF at Tulsa ESPNEWS
  2 p.m. Kansas State at Kansas ESPN or ESPN2
  Richmond at VCU ESPN or ESPN2
  TCU at Iowa State ESPNU
  LSU at Mississippi State SEC Network
  4 or 7 p.m. Duke at Virginia ESPN or ESPN2
  North Carolina at Louisville ESPN or ESPN2
  4 p.m. Wichita State at Northern Iowa ESPN or ESPN2
  Georgia at South Carolina ESPNU
  4:30 p.m. Vanderbilt at Texas A&M SEC Network
  6 p.m. Texas at Baylor ESPN2
  Purdue at Northwestern ESPNU
  7 p.m. Alabama at Kentucky SEC Network
  8 p.m. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State ESPN2
  UCF at SMU ESPNU
  10 p.m. Memphis at Gonzaga ESPN2
  Big West Wildcard Game ESPNU
Sun, Feb 1 12:30 p.m. Miami at Florida State ESPNU
  2:30 p.m. Utah at USC ESPNU
Mon, Feb 2 7 p.m. Virginia at North Carolina ESPN
  Morgan State at Coppin State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Iowa State at Kansas ESPN
  Alabama A&M at Texas Southern ESPNU
Tue, Feb 3 7 p.m. Indiana at Wisconsin ESPN
  Georgia at Kentucky ESPNU
  Mississippi State at Tennessee SEC Network
  8 p.m. West Virginia at Oklahoma ESPN2
  9 p.m. Florida at Vanderbilt ESPN
  Virginia Tech at Syracuse ESPNU
  South Carolina at Arkansas SEC Network
Wed, Feb 4 6:30 p.m. Temple at USF ESPNEWS
  7 p.m. Georgia Tech at Duke ESPN2
  East Carolina at Connecticut ESPNU
  Texas A&M at Ole Miss SEC Network
  8 p.m. Oklahoma State at Texas Longhorn Network
  8:30 p.m. TCU at Baylor ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. Washington at Oregon ESPN2
  Kansas State at Texas Tech ESPNU
  Missouri at Alabama SEC Network
Thu, Feb 5 7 p.m. Iowa at Michigan ESPN or ESPN2
  Auburn at LSU ESPN or ESPN2
  Mount St. Mary’s at Bryant ESPNU
  Tulsa at Houston ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. UCLA at Stanford ESPN or ESPN2
  Cincinnati at SMU ESPN or ESPN2
  Belmont at Eastern Kentucky ESPNU
  11 p.m. Gonzaga at Santa Clara ESPNU
Fri, Feb 6 7 p.m. Dayton at George Washington ESPN2
  MAAC Wild Card Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. Big South Wild Card Game ESPNU
Sat, Feb 7 Noon Illinois at Michigan State ESPN or ESPN2
  Tennessee at Georgia ESPN or ESPN2
  Baylor at West Virginia ESPNU
  1 p.m. Temple at Memphis ESPNEWS
  2 p.m. Kansas at Oklahoma State ESPN or ESPN2
  Sun Belt Wild Card Game ESPN or ESPN2
  Texas Tech at Iowa State ESPNU
  3 p.m. Oklahoma at TCU ESPNEWS
  4 p.m. Texas at Kansas State ESPN or ESPN2
  Syracuse at Pittsburgh ESPN or ESPN2
  Nebraska at Penn State ESPNU
  Mississippi State at Arkansas SEC Network
  6 p.m. Louisville at Virginia ESPN or ESPN2
  Alabama at LSU ESPN or ESPN2
  Texas A&M at Missouri ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Ole Miss at Auburn SEC Network
  8 p.m. Missouri State at Wichita State ESPN2
  SMU at Tulsa ESPNU
  9 p.m. Kentucky at Florida ESPN
  10 p.m. Big West Wild Card Game ESPNU
  11:30 p.m. Gonzaga at San Francisco ESPN2
Sun, Feb 8 6:30 p.m. Clemson at Miami ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. USC at Stanford ESPNU
Mon, Feb 9 7 p.m. Duke at Florida State ESPN
  Oklahoma State at Baylor ESPNU
  9 p.m. Iowa State at Oklahoma ESPN
  Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech ESPNU
Tue, Feb 10 7 p.m. Kentucky at LSU ESPN
  Notre Dame at Clemson ESPN2
  Memphis at East Carolina ESPNU
  Missouri at South Carolina SEC Network
  9 p.m. Wisconsin at Nebraska ESPN
  Kansas at Texas Tech ESPN2
  Arkansas at Auburn ESPNU
  Alabama at Mississippi State SEC Network
  11 p.m. Mountain West Wild Card Game ESPNU
Wed, Feb 11 7 p.m. Syracuse at Boston College ESPN2
  Kansas State at West Virginia ESPNU
  USF at UCF ESPNEWS
  Georgia at Texas A&M SEC Network
  8 p.m. TCU at Texas Longhorn Network
  9 p.m. Oregon at USC ESPN2
  Morehead State at Eastern Kentucky ESPNU
  Tennessee at Vanderbilt SEC Network
Thu, Feb 12 7 p.m. Ole Miss at Florida ESPN or ESPN2
  Tulsa at Connecticut ESPN or ESPN2
  Purdue at Rutgers ESPNU
  9 p.m. Saint Mary’s at BYU ESPN or ESPN2
  Michigan at Illinois ESPN or ESPN2
  SMU at Houston ESPNU
  11 p.m. Santa Clara at San Francisco ESPNU
Fri, Feb 13 6 p.m. MAC Wild Card Game ESPNU
  7 p.m. Green Bay at Valparaiso or Cleveland State at Detroit ESPN2
  8 p.m. Green Bay at Valparaiso or Cleveland State at Detroit ESPNU
  9 p.m. Arizona at Washington ESPN
  10 p.m. Iona at Manhattan ESPNU
Sat, Feb 14 Noon Ohio State at Michigan State ESPN or ESPN2
  Sun Belt Wild Card Game ESPN or ESPN2
  Memphis at USF ESPNU
  2 p.m. South Carolina at Kentucky ESPN or ESPN2
  VCU at George Washington ESPN or ESPN2
  Tulane at Cincinnati ESPNU
  4 p.m. NC State at Louisville ESPN or ESPN2
  West Virginia at Iowa State ESPN or ESPN2
  Mississippi State at Missouri ESPNU
  LSU at Tennessee SEC Network
  6 p.m. Duke at Syracuse ESPN or ESPN2
  Wichita State at Illinois State ESPN or ESPN2
  Oklahoma State at TCU ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Florida at Texas A&M SEC Network
  8 p.m. Oklahoma at Kansas State ESPN2
  Vanderbilt at Alabama ESPNU
  Texas Tech at Texas Longhorn Network
  9 p.m. Connecticut at SMU ESPN
  Arkansas at Ole Miss SEC Network
  10 p.m. Mountain West Wild Card Game ESPN2
Sun, Feb 15 4 p.m. Missouri Valley Wild Card Game ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Miami at Boston College ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. California at Utah ESPNU
Rivalry Week Presented by Wendy’s on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPNEWS (Feb. 16-22)
Mon, Feb 16 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Virginia ESPN
  Clemson at Georgia Tech ESPNU
  9 p.m. Kansas at West Virginia ESPN
  Hampton at Morgan State ESPNU
Tue, Feb 17 7 p.m. Kentucky at Tennessee ESPN
  Baylor at Texas Tech ESPN2
  Wake Forest at Notre Dame ESPNU
  Houston at USF ESPNEWS
  South Carolina at Georgia SEC Network
  9 p.m. Michigan State at Michigan ESPN
  Texas at Oklahoma ESPN2
  Alabama at Auburn ESPNU
  LSU at Texas A&M SEC Network
Wed, Feb 18 7 p.m. Louisville at Syracuse ESPN or ESPN2
  Xavier at Cincinnati ESPN or ESPN2
  East Carolina at Tulsa ESPNU
  Vanderbilt at Florida SEC Network
  9 p.m. North Carolina at Duke ESPN
  UCLA at Arizona State ESPN2
  Iowa State at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  Missouri at Arkansas SEC Network
  11 p.m. Colorado at Oregon ESPNU
Thu, Feb 19 6 p.m. Saint Joseph’s at Dayton ESPNU
  7 p.m. Purdue at Indiana ESPN or ESPN2
  Temple at SMU ESPN or ESPN2
  UCF at Tulane ESPNEWS
  8 p.m. Rutgers at Iowa ESPNU
  9 p.m. Connecticut at Memphis ESPN or ESPN2
  Ole Miss at Mississippi State ESPN or ESPN2
  10 p.m. San Diego at BYU ESPNU
Fri, Feb 20 7 p.m. Cleveland State at Green Bay ESPN2
  Hartford at Albany ESPNU
  9 p.m. Iona at Marist ESPNU
Sat, Feb 21 11 a.m. USF at East Carolina ESPNU
  Noon Minnesota at Wisconsin ESPN or ESPN2
  Massachusetts at VCU ESPN or ESPN2
  Oklahoma at Texas Tech ESPNEWS
  Texas A&M at South Carolina SEC Network
  1 p.m. Kansas State at Baylor ESPNU
  2 p.m. Iowa State at Texas ESPN or ESPN2
  Miami at Louisville ESPN or ESPN2
  West Virginia at Oklahoma State ESPNEWS
  2:30 p.m. Missouri at Vanderbilt SEC Network
  3 p.m. Penn State at Northwestern ESPNU
  4 p.m. Clemson at Duke ESPN or ESPN2
  TCU at Kansas ESPN or ESPN2
  6 p.m. Auburn at Kentucky ESPN or ESPN2
  Virginia Tech at NC State ESPN or ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. Tennessee at Ole Miss ESPNU
  8 p.m. Georgia at Alabama ESPN2
  9 p.m. UCLA at Arizona ESPN
  9:30 p.m. Cincinnati at Houston ESPNU
  10 p.m. Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s ESPN2
Sun, Feb 22 4 p.m. Missouri Valley Wild Card Game ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. Florida State at Virginia ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Washington at Washington State ESPNU
Bracket Builder Week Presented by Dish on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPNEWS (Feb. 23-March 1)
Mon, Feb 23 7 p.m. Louisville at Georgia Tech ESPN
  Delaware State at Norfolk State ESPNU
  9 p.m. Kansas at Kansas State ESPN
  Alabama State at Southern ESPNU
Tue, Feb 24 7 p.m. Wisconsin at Maryland ESPN
  Texas at West Virginia ESPN2
  LSU at Auburn ESPNU
  South Carolina at Alabama SEC Network
  9 p.m. Florida at Missouri ESPN
  Boston College at Pittsburgh ESPNU
  Texas A&M at Arkansas SEC Network
  11 p.m. New Mexico at Boise State ESPNU
Wed, Feb 25 7 p.m. VCU at Richmond ESPN2
  Connecticut at East Carolina ESPNU
  Kentucky at Mississippi State SEC Network
  8 p.m. Tulane at Tulsa ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. Duke at Virginia Tech ESPN2
  Baylor at Iowa State ESPNU
  Georgia at Ole Miss SEC Network
  11 p.m. Washington at UCLA ESPN2
  Oregon at California ESPNU
Thu, Feb 26 7 p.m. Nebraska at Ohio State ESPN or ESPN2
  Vanderbilt at Tennessee ESPN or ESPN2
  Big South Wild Card Game ESPNU
  9 p.m. Arizona at Colorado ESPN or ESPN2
  SMU at Memphis ESPN or ESPN2
  Rutgers at Purdue ESPNU
  11 p.m. San Diego at Gonzaga ESPNU
Fri, Feb 27 6 p.m. MAAC Wild Card Game ESPNU
  7 p.m. MAAC Wild Card Game ESPN2
  8 p.m. MAC Wild Card Game ESPNU
  10 p.m. Valparaiso at Cleveland State ESPNU
Sat, Feb 28 TBD Michigan at Maryland ESPN or ESPN2
  Dayton at VCU ESPN or ESPN2
  Tennessee at Florida ESPN or ESPN2
  Iowa State at Kansas State ESPN or ESPN2
  Arizona at Utah ESPN or ESPN2
  Louisville at Florida State ESPN or ESPN2
  Texas at Kansas ESPN or ESPN2
  Missouri Valley Wild Card ESPN or ESPN2
  Syracuse at Duke ESPN or ESPN2
    BYU at Gonzaga ESPN or ESPN2
  Big West Wild Card ESPN or ESPN2
  Boise State at San Diego State ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
  New Mexico at Fresno State ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
  Noon Missouri at Georgia ESPNU
  East Carolina at UCF ESPNEWS
  2 p.m. TCU at Oklahoma ESPNU
  Cincinnati at Tulane ESPNEWS
  4 p.m. West Virginia at Baylor ESPNU
  Oklahoma State at Texas Tech ESPNEWS
  6 p.m. Iowa at Penn State ESPNU
  Mississippi State at South Carolina SEC Network
  8 p.m. Tulsa at Memphis ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Auburn at Texas A&M SEC Network
Sun, Mar 1 6:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Wake Forest ESPNU
  8:30 p.m. Arizona State at Colorado ESPNU
Mon, Mar 2 7 p.m. Virginia at Syracuse ESPN
  Oklahoma at Iowa State or Baylor at Texas ESPNU
  9 p.m. Oklahoma at Iowa State or Baylor at Texas ESPN
  Boston College at Virginia Tech ESPNU
Tue, Mar 3 7 p.m. Iowa at Indiana ESPN
  North Carolina at Georgia Tech ESPNU
  Ole Miss at Alabama SEC Network
  9 p.m. Kentucky at Georgia ESPN
  West Virginia at Kansas ESPN2
  Texas A&M at Florida ESPNU
  Auburn at Missouri SEC Network
Wed, Mar 4 7 p.m. Notre Dame at Louisville ESPN2
  UCF at USF ESPNU
  Tennessee at LSU SEC Network
  8 p.m. Houston at Tulane ESPNEWS
  9 p.m. USC at UCLA ESPN2
  TCU at Oklahoma State ESPNU
  Mississippi State at Vanderbilt SEC Network
  11 p.m. Oregon at Oregon State ESPNU
Thu, Mar 5 7 p.m. Wisconsin at Minnesota ESPN or ESPN2
  Arkansas at South Carolina ESPN or ESPN2
  Temple at East Carolina ESPNU
  9 p.m. Memphis at Connecticut ESPN or ESPN2
  California at Arizona ESPN or ESPN2
  VCU at Davidson ESPNU
  11 p.m. Utah at Washington State ESPNU
Fri, Mar 6 7 p.m. Mid-American Wild Card Game ESPN2
  9 p.m. Texas Tech at Baylor ESPN2
Sat, Mar 7 TBD Michigan State at Indiana ESPN or ESPN2
  Duke at North Carolina ESPN or ESPN2
  Virginia at Louisville ESPN or ESPN2
  Pittsburgh at Florida State ESPN or ESPN2
  Kansas State at Texas ESPN or ESPN2
  Connecticut at Temple ESPN or ESPN2
  Kansas at Oklahoma ESPN or ESPN2
  LSU at Arkansas ESPN or ESPN2
  Noon Oklahoma State at West Virginia ESPNEWS
  2 p.m. Iowa State at TCU ESPNEWS
  4 p.m. Tulane at USF ESPNEWS
  Georgia at Auburn SEC Network
  6:30 p.m. Missouri at Mississippi State SEC Network
  9 p.m. Vanderbilt at Ole Miss SEC Network
Sun, Mar 8 2 p.m. East Carolina at Houston ESPNEWS
  3 p.m. Tulsa at SMU ESPNU

 -30-

ESPN Announces 2014-15 Women’s College Basketball Schedule

espn-logoESPN Announces 2014-15 Women’s College Basketball Schedule

ESPN2 Opens Season Nov. 17 with Four Ranked Teams as Part of Tip-Off Marathon

ESPN’s 2014-15 women’s college basketball regular-season schedule includes 131 games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and Longhorn Network. The addition of ESPN3 exclusive games and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, to be announced at a later date will result in a record number of coverage this season.

The schedule boasts 22 programs on the espnW 2014-15 preseason top 25 poll – created by bracketologist Charlie Creme at the conclusion of the 2014 Final Four – which includes 20 of the top 25 teams on the schedule. espnW.com will provide season-long original content and supporting material for ESPN’s top games.

Every game will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.

Schedule Highlights:

·         ESPN2 – Home to 36 games this season, ESPN2 will include top early-season matchups, all Big Monday contests and most Sundays throughout the conference season.

·         ESPNU – A schedule of 19 games, ESPNU matchups include doubleheaders on most Sundays during the conference schedule.

·         SEC Network – The introduction of the new network ensures every SEC women’s basketball game is available nationwide. SEC Network will air more than 60 games, including a doubleheader every Thursday and a game-of-the-week on Mondays.

·         Longhorn Network – ESPN’s 24-hour network devoted to The University of Texas, will air 13 games, including seven featuring a Big 12 opponent.

·         Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish – Four ranked teams open the seventh annual marathon with an ESPN2 doubleheader on Monday, Nov. 17. Two-time defending national champion Connecticut will travel to 2014 Final Four participant and No. 20 Stanford in the second game at 9 p.m., while No. 13 Baylor will face No. 6 Kentucky in the first matchup at 7 p.m.

·         Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona – The 13th annual game features a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Championship title game – pitting No. 1 Connecticut against No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3:15 p.m. on ESPN. Notre Dame will play in the event for the first time, hosting the game at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind., while the Huskies will appear for the fourth straight year and seventh time overall.

·         Big Monday Presented by Verizon – The ninth season of the seven-week series on ESPN2 will begin on January 19 and run through March 2. The schedule includes doubleheaders on February 16 and 23 and a robust schedule of ranked teams: No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 South Carolina, No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 7 Duke, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 14 Maryland and No. 16 Louisville.

·         We Back Pat – No. 4 Texas A&M will play at No. 2 South Carolina in a January 26 Big Monday game, to honor former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt as part of the SEC’s “We Back Pat” initiative.

·         Play 4Kay – ESPN’s annual Play 4Kay games – highlighting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) – will air five games across ESPN2 and ESPNU on Sunday, Feb. 22. Two top-25 matchups – featuring SEC rivals No. 3 Tennessee at No. 2 South Carolina and new ACC foes No. 16 Louisville at No. 4 Notre Dame – airs Monday, Feb. 23, as part of Big Monday.

espnW

·         Season preview November 3-7 will include an updated preseason top-25 poll, preseason All-Americans and a ranking of the top 25 players in the nation.

·         Writers Mechelle Voepel, Graham Hays, Kate Fagan and Michelle Smith, as well as analyst Rebecca Lobo, will write in-depth profiles of some of the nation’s top teams, players and coaches throughout the season.

·         Prior to each Big Monday game, espnW.com will offer an updated Bracketology segment from Charlie Creme and a game preview for that night’s matchup, as well as postgame coverage with video analysis.

·         For the third consecutive season, espnW will name a national player of the week each Monday.

ESPN The Magazine

A women’s hoop preview in its upcoming College Hoops Tip-Off Preview issue (on sale October 31) includes a rundown of the top-10 teams by espnW’s Mechelle Voepel, plus a ScoutTake profile on the genius of UConn’s Breanna Stewart.

Postseason Coverage

ESPN networks will also have a full lineup of games during Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods and will continue to carry all 63 games of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship culminating with the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla., on April 5 and 7. The schedules will be announced at a later date.

Week-long men’s and women’s conference tournaments can been seen across ESPN platforms during Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods from Thursday, March 5 to Sunday, March 15.

ESPN will present the exclusive live announcement of the 64-team NCAA Championship field as part of Selection Monday on March 16, at 7 p.m., with ESPNU offering a bonus hour of coverage on the NCAA Women’s’ Basketball Selection Special Extended Coverage at 8 p.m.

All 63 games of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship will air on ESPN networks for the 10th consecutive year. ESPN and ESPN2 will present regionalized telecasts with home market protection through the first two rounds. ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, will offer first- and second-round games in their entirety as a supplement to ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage. The final 15 games, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2. The complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

2014-15 ESPN Network’s Women’s Basketball Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Sat, Nov 15 TBD UT San Antonio at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Nov 16 8 p.m. Duke at Alabama SEC Network
Mon, Nov 17 7 p.m. Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish: Baylor at Kentucky ESPN2
  9 p.m. Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish: Connecticut at Stanford ESPN2
Thu, Nov 20 7 p.m. Clemson at South Carolina SEC Network
Wed, Nov 26 8 p.m. Texas Pan American at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Nov 30 1 p.m. Duke at Texas A&M SEC Network
Mon, Dec 1 9 p.m. Virginia Tech at Florida SEC Network
Wed, Dec 3 7 p.m. Louisiana Tech at LSU SEC Network
  8 p.m. New Mexico at Texas Longhorn Network
Thu, Dec 4 8 p.m. Charlotte at South Carolina SEC Network
Sat, Dec 6 3:15 p.m. Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona: Connecticut at Notre Dame ESPN
Sun, Dec 7 1 p.m. South Carolina at Duke ESPN2
  4 p.m. Michigan State at Georgia SEC Network
Mon, Dec 8 Noon Southern at Texas Longhorn Network
Wed, Dec 10 7 p.m. Wisconsin at Florida SEC Network
Fri, Dec 12 9 p.m. Middle Tennessee State at Kentucky SEC Network
Sun, Dec 14 1 p.m. Mercer at Alabama SEC Network
  3 p.m. Holiday Hoops presented by Kay Jewelers: Tennessee at Rutgers ESPN2
  Northwestern State at Texas Longhorn Network
  6 p.m. Belmont at Kentucky SEC Network
Tue, Dec 16 7 p.m. Wichita State at Tennessee SEC Network
Wed, Dec 17 8 p.m. McNeese State at Texas Longhorn Network
Sat, Dec 20 1 p.m. Stanford at Tennessee SEC Network
Sun, Dec 21 1:30 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Texas vs. Texas A&M (Little Rock, Ark.) SEC Network
3 p.m. Holiday Hoops presented by Kay Jewelers: Kentucky at Duke ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Oklahoma vs. Arkansas (Little Rock, Ark.) SEC Network
  5 p.m. Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Holiday Showcase as part of Holiday Hoops presented by Kay Jewelers: UCLA vs. Connecticut (Uncasville, Conn.) ESPN2
Sun, Dec 28 Noon East Carolina at USF ESPNU
  1 p.m. Oregon State at Tennessee SEC Network
  8:30 p.m. Temple at Memphis ESPNU
Mon, Dec 29 9 p.m. Duke at Connecticut ESPN2
Tue, Dec 30 8 p.m. Rice at Texas Longhorn Network
Fri, Jan 2 7 p.m. Auburn at South Carolina SEC Network
  9 p.m. Missouri at Tennessee SEC Network
Sat, Jan 3 8 p.m. Kansas at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Jan 4 1 p.m. Maggie Dixon Classic: Connecticut vs. St. John’s (New York, N.Y.) ESPN2
  1:30 p.m. Texas A&M at Arkansas ESPNU
  2 p.m. Ole Miss at Kentucky SEC Network
  3 p.m. South Carolina at LSU ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. George Washington at Dayton ESPNU
  4 p.m. Florida at Auburn SEC Network
Mon, Jan 5 7 p.m. Tennessee at Vanderbilt SEC Network
Wed, Jan 7 8 p.m. West Virginia at Texas Longhorn Network
Thu, Jan 8 7 p.m. Texas A&M at Tennessee SEC Network
  9 p.m. Vanderbilt at LSU SEC Network
Sun, Jan 11 1 p.m. Kentucky at South Carolina ESPN2
  LSU at Texas A&M ESPNU
  2 p.m. Georgia at Auburn SEC Network
  3 p.m. Maryland at Minnesota ESPN2
  Tennessee at Arkansas ESPNU
  4 p.m. Florida at Missouri SEC Network
Thu, Jan 15 7 p.m. Florida at Kentucky SEC Network
  9 p.m. South Carolina at Missouri SEC Network
Sat, Jan 17 1 p.m. Texas Tech at Texas Longhorn Network
Sun, Jan 18 Noon George Mason at Richmond ESPNU
  1 p.m. USF at Connecticut ESPN2
  2 p.m. Kentucky at LSU ESPNU
  3 p.m. Iowa at Michigan State ESPN2
  Missouri at Arkansas SEC Network
  5 p.m. Ole Miss at Texas A&M SEC Network
Mon, Jan 19 7 p.m. Big Monday presented by Verizon: Tennessee at Notre Dame ESPN2
  South Carolina at Florida SEC Network
Thu, Jan 22 7 p.m. LSU at Tennessee SEC Network
  9 p.m. Mississippi State at Ole Miss SEC Network
Sun, Jan 25 Noon Arkansas at Florida ESPNU
  2 p.m. UCF at SMU ESPNU
  Georgia at Tennessee SEC Network
  3 p.m. Connecticut at Cincinnati ESPN2
  4 p.m. Kentucky at Missouri SEC Network
  5 p.m. Duke at North Carolina ESPN2
Mon, Jan 26 7 p.m. We Back Pat as part of Big Monday presented by Verizon: Texas A&M at South Carolina ESPN2
  9 p.m. Mississippi State at Auburn SEC Network
Thu, Jan 29 7 p.m. Tennessee at Kentucky SEC Network
  9 p.m. Ole Miss at LSU SEC Network
Sun, Feb 1 1 p.m. Georgia at Kentucky SEC Network
  2 p.m. Connecticut at Temple ESPN2
  3 p.m. Mississippi State at Tennessee SEC Network
  4 p.m. Iowa at Maryland ESPN2
  4:30 p.m. South Carolina at Ole Miss ESPNU
Mon, Feb 2 7 p.m. Big Monday Presented by Verizon: Louisville at Duke ESPN2
  Missouri at LSU SEC Network
Thu, Feb 5 7 p.m. South Carolina at Georgia SEC Network
  9 p.m. Texas A&M at Missouri SEC Network
Sun, Feb 8 1 p.m. Kentucky at Vanderbilt SEC Network
  2 p.m. Baylor at Texas ESPN2
  Tennessee at Florida ESPNU
  3 p.m. Texas A&M at Mississippi State SEC Network
  4 p.m. Nebraska at Maryland ESPN2
  California at Arizona State ESPNU
  5 p.m. Alabama at LSU SEC Network
Mon, Feb 9 7 p.m. Georgia at Arkansas SEC Network
  8 p.m. Big Monday Presented by Verizon: South Carolina at Connecticut ESPN2
Thu, Feb 12 7 p.m. Mississippi State at Kentucky SEC Network
  9 p.m. Arkansas at Texas A&M SEC Network
Sun, Feb 15 Noon Vanderbilt at South Carolina ESPNU
  1 p.m. North Carolina at Louisville ESPN2
  2 p.m. USF at East Carolina ESPNU
  Arkansas at Auburn SEC Network
  3 p.m. Kentucky at Tennessee ESPN2
  4 p.m. Florida at Mississippi State SEC Network
  5 p.m. West Virginia at Baylor ESPN2
Mon, Feb 16 7 p.m. Big Monday Presented by Verizon as part of Rivalry Week: Maryland at Michigan State ESPN2
  Alabama at Texas A&M SEC Network
  9 p.m. Big Monday Presented by Verizon as part of Rivalry Week: Duke at Notre Dame ESPN2
Wed, Feb 18 8 p.m. Kansas State at Texas Longhorn Network
Thu, Feb 19 7 p.m. Vanderbilt at Florida SEC Network
  9 p.m. South Carolina at Arkansas SEC Network
Fri, Feb 20 5 p.m. Iona at Marist ESPNU
Sun, Feb 22 Noon Play 4Kay: Duke at NC State ESPN2
  Play 4Kay: Temple at USF ESPNU
  2 p.m. Play 4Kay: Rutgers at Michigan State ESPN2
  Play 4Kay: LSU at Arkansas ESPNU
  Missouri at Vanderbilt SEC Network
  4 p.m. Play 4Kay: California at Stanford ESPN2
  Florida at Texas A&M SEC Network
Mon, Feb 23 7 p.m. Play 4Kay as part of Big Monday Presented by Verizon: Louisville at Notre Dame ESPN2
  Kentucky at Ole Miss SEC Network
  9 p.m. Play 4Kay as part of Big Monday Presented by Verizon: Tennessee at South Carolina ESPN2
Wed, Feb 25 8 p.m. Oklahoma State at Texas Longhorn Network
Thu, Feb 26 7 p.m. Florida at Alabama SEC Network
  9 p.m. Tennessee at Georgia SEC Network
Sun, Mar 1 1 p.m. Texas at West Virginia ESPN2
  2 or 5 p.m. Texas A&M at LSU ESPN2 or ESPNU
  2 or 5 p.m. South Carolina at Kentucky ESPN2 or ESPNU
  3 p.m. North Carolina at Duke ESPN2
  Georgia at Florida SEC Network
  4 p.m. Stanford at Oregon ESPNU
  5 p.m. Vanderbilt at Tennessee SEC Network
Mon, Mar 2 7 p.m. Big Monday Presented by Verizon: Connecticut at USF ESPN2
Tue, Mar 3 8 p.m. TCU at Texas Longhorn Network

Derrick Rose Featured on ESPN The Magazine’s NBA Preview Cover

espn-logoOn Newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine’s NBA Preview

The theme of this year’s ESPN The Magazine NBA Preview is POWER. Stemming from an offseason in which the narrative was all about the struggle for power, The Mag sought to capture that through three unique lenses: “The Third Coming of Derrick Rose,” and how his return has the potential to shift it in the Eastern Conference, if not the NBA; through the “Ultimate Power Player” Kobe Bryant, and how his lone-wolf approach to superstardom has served to undermine his Lakers team; and senior writers Pablo S. Torre and Tom Haberstroh reveal the “Power Grab that the NBA’s owners are attempting to make by utilizing a host of advanced and increasingly invasive tests on their players. Even within the team previews, The Mag has identified that it is not offense that creates wins, it’s defense—and using new, metrically based graphics has brought team defense alive on the court in a way that could never be done before.

On The Cover

Former MVP Derrick Rose has played a combined 49 games over the past three seasons. He’s undergone surgery for an ACL tear in one knee and a torn meniscus in the other. He’s watched his Chicago Bulls lose in the playoffs three times, twice in the first round. But now, with the Miami Big Three era over and two healthy knees, the power vacuum in the NBA is his for the taking. In “The Third Coming of Derrick Rose,”  The Mag’s Wright Thompson explores if – and how – one player can shift the league’s balance of power (even with a new Big Three in Cleveland).

NBA Preview Show

To coincide with its release, The Mag will televise an hour-long NBA Preview Show on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Host Cassidy Hubbarth will join analysts Tim Legler, Bruce Bowen and ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard to provide predictions and analyze key NBA storylines in advance of the new season. Additionally, the show will feature roundtable discussions centered on the aforementioned “power” themes of the issue, including key off-season moves and developments, the new balance of power in the East with a focus on Derrick Rose, an examination of Kobe Bryant’s role with the Lakers and a deeper look at how teams gather and evaluate personal health data from players. Special panelists for various segments will include ESPN The Magazine’s NBA deputy editor Ty Wenger and senior writers Ramona Shelburne and Pablo S. Torre. There will also be a segment devoted to this season’s predictions where Austin Clemens, a basketball analytics wizard, compiled data to graphically represent, in heat map form, each team’s defense. Within each heat map, The Mag had NBA Insider Ethan Sherwood Strauss annotate two spots — where the team projects to be strongest on defense, and where it projects to be weakest.

NBA Preview Issue Features

Kobe

The Mag takes an inside look at the league’s most dysfunctional marriage: between the NBA’s ultimate power player, Kobe Bryant, and its most storied franchise—and how the team can’t wait for its star’s retirement. By Henry Abbott

New biometric tests invade the NBA

The next battle between players and owners will be waged inside players’ bodies. The Mag reveals new, advanced biological testing occurring in NBA locker rooms and explore what that means for player privacy. By Pablo S. Torre and Tom Haberstroh

Team previews

For the first time, we are graphically projecting team defenses along with overall team analysis from various NBA insiders including Austin Clemens, Jordan Brenner, Bradford Doolittle, Amin Elhassan, Tom Haberstroh, and Kevin Pelton.

David Blatt is coming to America

After 20-plus years coaching in Israel and Europe, the Cavs hired David Blatt last summer as the first head coach to make the jump straight from overseas to the NBA. Now that Cleveland is loaded with LeBron and Kevin Love, though, there’s unparalleled pressure on the NBA newbie to deliver immediately. As we find out, though, he might just be perfectly equipped to handle it. By Jordan Brenner

Other Stories

Jim Harbaugh comfortable in chaos

Jim Harbaugh is an extraordinary coach: he’s taken his team to three NFC championship games in his four years. But his talent at turning losers into winners is matched only by his propensity to rub people the wrong way in the process. The only way to get close to this former quarterback — who seems to abhor even the idea of getting close – is to play a game of catch, of course.  By Seth Wickersham

The return of Philip Rivers

Through four weeks, NFL quarterbacks are more proficient than ever when it comes to Total QBR and completion percentage. Philip Rivers is among the best examples of this trend, seen through an examination of his efficiency. By Kevin Seifert

Additional NBA Preview Issue Highlights:

  • MLB: In her latest column, Mina Kimes writes how everyone is talking about the NFL’s women problem … but what about baseball? This column addresses the lack of gender equity in MLB and the other leagues—and why the problem is getting worse, not better.
  • CFB: At the midseason mark, insider Phil Steele makes his picks for the nation’s best position players, handicapping his favorites to win college football’s end-of-year awards.
  • ESPNFC: As Real Madrid and Barcelona prepare to face off in the first El Clàsico, The Mag’s Michael Cox examines the two squad’s new offenses.