Aug. 29, 2011
BRISTOL, Conn. -- A West Coast Conference doubleheader will help ring in the new season, as Gonzaga University and Saint Mary's College will open the fourth consecutive College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Disney Parks on Nov. 15, ESPN officials announced Thursday. The television showcase will begin at Gonzaga's McCarthy Athletic Center, where the Bulldogs will host Washington State. That game will be immediately followed by the Saint Mary's-Northern Iowa contest from McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, Calif.
The Bulldogs and the Cougars will tip off at 9 p.m. PT on ESPN to begin 19 live match-ups - 17 men's and two women's - across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com. The minimum of 25 hours of basketball coverage will be highlighted by ESPN's 11 game telecasts and a special one-hour College GameDay Driven by State Farm. ESPN3.com will offer two exclusive games as well as a simulcast of every ESPN and ESPN2 telecast.
In all, 21 conferences will be represented: ACC, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Colonial, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Ohio Valley, Pac-12, SEC, Southern, Southwestern Athletic, Sun Belt, Western Athletic and West Coast. Either the Ivy League or America East will be added dependent on if Syracuse plays Brown or Albany, respectively.
Four of the top five teams - and nine of the top 25 - in ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz's early men's preseason top 25 poll will participate: No. 2 Kentucky, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Syracuse, No. 5 Duke, No. 8 Memphis, No. 12 Florida, No. 16 Baylor, No. 18 Kansas and No. 25 Gonzaga. The schedule includes two matchups between teams ranked in Katz's poll: No. 12 Florida at No. 3 Ohio State (at 8 p.m. on ESPN2) and No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 18 Kansas from New York City (at 9 p.m.) on ESPN.
ESPNU and ESPN2 will each televise a women's game: Louisville at defending National Champion Texas A&M at 4 p.m. on ESPNU and Miami at Tennessee in the State Farm Women's Tip-Off Classic at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
Both Gonzaga and Saint Mary's participated in last year's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The Gaels downed St. John's University and the Bulldogs hosted San Diego State University. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's each shared the 2011 West Coast Conference regular season title.