College hoops, hoops and more hoops

Just what we need at this time of year; another sport to cover and watch.

In this case, it's college basketball. The 2013-2014 season begins in earnest today and it will run through March Madness and finally, the Final Four to be held the first week in April.

How many televised games? Let's just say, more than enough.

Just about every network and its cable satellites are in on the action.

We'll try to hit the highlights:


• First, the University of Minnesota men. The Gophers open at home tonight against Lehigh, a game to be streamed online on ESPN3. You'll have to go to the ESPN website to access the site.

In all, more than 300 games are on ESPN3.

Tuesday's game against Montana will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.

Twenty-one Gopher games are scheduled for the Big Ten Network, six will be on the ESPN family of networks and three more are still to be determined.

• ESPN has the most ambitious coverage, with approximately 1,500 games involving 276 teams from 31 Division I conferences. Those games will be spread across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNews and the Longhorn Network.

Want more? About 460 more games will be available via syndication and/or outermarket on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court.

• You should know that ESPN will have live coverage of at least one game every day but three from today through March 16. The exception are Dec. 24, Dec. 26 and Jan. 3.

• Twenty-three games are on today, highlighted by the second annual Armed Forces Classic. One interesting game is Oregon vs. Georgetown (6:30 p.m.) from the United States Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea.


• Get this, the sixth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon has 18 live games – 16 men's and two women's – in a minimum of 25 hours from Monday to Tuesday. ESPN2 will televise nine straight games tipping off every two hours beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday while ESPNU hosts a men's doubleheader also at 6 p.m. ESPN's schedule of six consecutive games will begin at noon Tuesday and culminate with the Champions Classic doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. from Chicago.

How's this for the doubleheader — Michigan State vs. Kentucky at 6:30 and Kansas vs. Duke at 8:30.

• Dick Vitale enters his 35th season calling games for ESPN and will be paired with Dan Shulman.

• Mike Tirico pairs again with analyst Dan Dakich and reporter Samantha Ponder for the weekly Big Ten Super Tuesday game. Dakich will also call a Saturday Big Ten contest.

• St. Charles native Brad Nessler will be part of ESPN's SEC Super Tuesday series.

• The Big Ten Network will televise 67 men's conference games, including four conference tournament games along with an additional number of non-conference contests.

* BTN will also air 43 conference, six non-conference and 10 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament games.

• Other games will be spread around CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports North.


If you're a college basketball fan, have fun.

Packers game flexed

• NBC is allowed to start flexing its Sunday night games starting in Week 11, or next week.

NBC took advantage of it, moving the Kansas City at Denver game to 7:30 p.m. and away from CBS.

It replaces the Packers at the New York Giants game, which will now be televised at 3:25 p.m. on Fox.

That game will not be televised locally, either, because the Vikings play the Seahawks in Seattle at the same time on Fox.

Also, on that day, the San Diego at Miami was moved to 3:05 p.m. on CBS.

Around the tube


• The top-ranked Minnesota men's hockey team (5-0-1) is at No. 3 Notre Dame (6-2-0) at 7 p.m. today on the NBC Sports Network. Steve Schlanger (play-by-play) and Anson Carter (analyst) will have the call.

Tonight's game is the first in a two-game weekend series, and NBC Sports Live Extra doing the game on Saturday. The NBC Sports Live Extra is the NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. It can be accessed at

Said Schlanger: "You have two marquee programs, both highly-ranked, with compelling individual and team storylines at a tremendous building with an electric, sell-out crowd…this is what college hockey is all about."

In their last meeting on Jan. 9, 2013, which was a battle of the nation's top-ranked teams at the time, No. 1 Minnesota earned a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Notre Dame at Mariucci Arena.

The two teams have both been ranked in the Top 5 in their last three meetings.

• The Fox No. 1 crew of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver will be in Green Bay on Sunday for the noon game with the Eagles.

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