Finally, College Basketball talk: ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon

dm_130115_ncb_katz_on_best_arenasI know we are still far away from talking about basketball of any sort, never mind NCAA basketball. In all honesty we haven’t even kicked off the NCAA Football season yet, but recently ESPN released their eighth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon beginning Monday, November 16th and continuing through Tuesday, November 17th.  For many including myself, this marathon is a long anticipated wait, not only because it signifies the start to the NCAA basketball season, but because we get to watch some intriguing match ups in such an early season forum.

This year’s slate includes 15 men’s games and a top-25 women’s matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes and 3-time defending National Champions the UConn Huskies. The tournament concludes with the fifth annual State Farm Champions Classic from the United Center in Chicago with #3 Kentucky taking on defending champions & #6 Duke at 7:30pm, followed by #5 Kansas playing #19 Michigan State at 10pm.

Some match ups are more intriguing than others, including #4 Virginia traveling to George Washington on Monday at 7:30pm.  The matchup that I’m looking forward to the most is #1 ranked Maryland renewing their rivalry by hosting Georgetown at 9pm on Tuesday 11/17.  In total, 22 of the men’s teams participated in postseason play last season (18 NCAA Tournament, 4 NIT).  Sixteen conferences are represented in this tournament:  Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, ACC, American, Big West, Horizon, Mountain West, Atlantic Sun, Missouri Valley, Southern, Big East, Southland, and the West Coast Conference.  For a glimpse at the entire schedule, take a look at the spreadsheet I put together:

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