College Basketball tipped off on Friday night and as usual, ESPN’s Tip – Off Marathon went go through the night and continues throughout the day today. The marathon will conclude Tuesday night when the Kansas Jayhawks will take on Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans.
Over the years, this has been one of my favorite nights of the year. In the past, I have alway had school or something in the way of me watching every game. This year, I have nothing on the to do list for tomorrow. November College Basketball is great, a lot of pre-season tournaments and the addition of this event, really makes it seem that College Basketball has arrived.
Also an excuse to stay up doing something I love. College Basketball can appeal more than the NBA. The kids are hungry, they are passionate and in the end. A lot of the players are unselfish. More importantly, in the NBA, 53% of the teams make the playoffs. It’s an 82 game season. In college, Only 19% of the teams will make the NCAA tournament and only 30 games to show the selection committee your worth it. All 30 games matter.
The last few years, I’ve tried to stay up all night watching. The first year it started, I could only make it to 11pm. Next year, I made it further to 12:30am, still fell asleep. However, every year I have made it farther and farther, until last year I crashed at 3 a.m.
Here is the schedule for this morning and into tonight:
- 8 a.m.
Stephen F. Austin at Northern Iowa
Rich Hollenberg, Mark Adams
I’m really looking forward to this game. Rematch of last year’s Tip-Off Marathon game in which Northern Iowa prevailed to snap SFA’s long home court winning streak.
- 10 a.m.
Valparaiso at Rhode Island
Sean McDonough, Tim Welsh
One image comes to mind when I think of Valparaiso. That image is the Bryce Drew shot. They take on Rhode Island in what should be a competitive game.
- 1 p.m.
Alabama at Dayton
Ryan Ruocco, Jeff Van Gundy
Dayton will be looking for a good non conference win when they host Alabama.
- 3 p.m.
Colorado at Auburn
Jon Sciambi, Fran Fraschilla
Colorado nearly upset Iowa State in Sioux Falls last week. The Buffaloes will look to finish the job tonight against a young Auburn squad.
- 5 p.m.
No. 8 Oklahoma at Memphis
Dave O’Brien, Miles Simon
Besides the four teams we will see tomorrow night. Oklahoma is one of the few Few Final 4 contenders that we will see before. The Memphis Tigers will be ready for them as it is an opportunity for Memphis to get a program building win against a top Big 12 team.
- Gavitt Tipoff Games: DePaul at Penn State
Clay Matvick, Sean Harrington
Depaul isn’t as bad as they were a few years ago and Penn State is getting better as well. The two will play in a game where both teams will have the rare chance to be on National TV,
- 7:30 p.m.
State Farm Champions Classic (United Center, Chicago): No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 5 Duke
Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas, Shannon Spake
Duke vs Kentucky is always special. The 1992 Elite 8 game was one of the greatest finishes in sports. Hopefully we will get an amazing game this time around.
- 9 p.m.
Gavitt Tipoff Games: Georgetown at No. 3 Maryland
Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich
Maryland is back to where they were in the late 90’s early 2000’s. With experienced talent, they will look to overcome a resurgent Georgetown, who will look to spoil the party.
- 10 p.m.
State Farm Champions Classic (United Center, Chicago): No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Michigan State
Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Shannon Spake
Last game of the night. Tom Izzo is one of my favorite coaches in College Basketball and they’ll get a good test from #4 ranked Kansas.
There you have it. It’s a great night to pull an all-nighter. When it is over, just remember there is a whole College Basketball season still left and its one of my favorite sports to follow as there is always great basketball through out the year!