Hoops on TV: The Big East's new deal
The Big East unveiled its 2007-08 men's conference basketball schedule on Wednesday, giving a first detailed look at a season that promises all 144 games will be televised.
Of those 144, only 48 are on the major networks in the Big East package -- 23 on ESPN, five marquee games on CBS, 10 on ESPN2 and 10 more that could go on ESPN or ESPN2. (The rest are on ESPN Classic, ESPNU, ESPN Regional or ESPN360). Naturally, there's a large disparity in the number of major TV games each school has in those 48: Louisville leads the way with 11 appearances, while the league's six least desirable TV teams combine for 10 appearances.
Here's the breakdown, in descending order:
Louisville: 11 (6 ESPN, 2 CBS)
Georgetown: 10 (7 ESPN, 2 CBS)
Syracuse: 10 (8 ESPN, 1 CBS)
Marquette: 9 (5 ESPN, 1 CBS)
Pittsburgh: 9 (4 ESPN, 1 CBS)
Connecticut: 8 (5 ESPN, 1 CBS)
Villanova: 8 (5 ESPN, 1 CBS)
Notre Dame: 8 (2 ESPN, 1 CBS)
West Virginia: 8 (2 ESPN)
Providence: 5 (1 ESPN)
Rutgers: 2 (1 might be on ESPN)
Seton Hall: 2 (1 might be on ESPN)
DePaul: 2 (both on ESPN2)
USF: 2 (both on ESPN2)
Cincinnati: 1 (on ESPN)
St. John's: 1 (on ESPN2)
Those five CBS games, by the way, for those of you who don't have cable or are reading this in 1978: Pittsburgh at Connecticut on Feb. 2; Syracuse at Notre Dame on Feb. 24; Georgetown at Marquette on March 1; Villanova at Louisville on March 2 and Louisville and Georgetown on March 8. There are four nonconference games with Big East on CBS as well.
So USF has only two major TV games -- against Rutgers at home on Wednesday, Jan. 2, which is the second day of Big East play and a chance for Stan Heath to set the tone for his first Big East season; and Pittsburgh at the Sun Dome a week later on Jan. 9. Then the Bulls play their final 15 Big East games on smaller networks like ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN Regional or ESPN360.
As a caveat, ESPN throws out the "times and networks are subject to change" catch-all. So don't set up the TiVo just yet -- this is just intended to show the TV hierarchy in the league this season.