Men's hoops opens with Syracuse on ESPN
USF's men's basketball team will open Big East play on national television, with the Bulls hosting Syracuse on Jan. 2 in a game televised on ESPN. Five days later, the Bulls are on national TV again, as the Bulls' home game against Louisville will be on ESPN2.
And then the Bulls aren't on either network the rest of the conference season.
The league announced its conference schedule on Thursday, with all 144 league games televised in one form or another for the second year in a row. You can see the full schedule here.
After getting the first two games at home, USF has three road games in eight days, going to DePaul, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. In the first eight league games, only two (both against DePaul) finished in the bottom half of the conference last season.
There's another hellish stretch in mid-February, with three games in seven days: at Notre Dame, Georgetown at home and at Connecticut. Will USF play a game downtown at St. Pete Times Forum? Only two of the home games (DePaul and Providence) have direct conflicts with Lightning home games; the Times Forum has not released any other events for 2009 yet.
Here's the full schedule for USF:
January: 2 -- Syracuse (ESPN); 7 -- Louisville (ESPN2); 10 -- at DePaul; 14 -- at Pittsburgh; 17 -- at West Virginia; 21 -- DePaul; 24 -- Villanova; 28 -- at Louisville.
February: 1 -- at St. John's; 6 -- Marquette; 10 -- Providence; 15 -- at Notre Dame; 18 -- Georgetown; 21 -- at Connecticut; 25 -- at Seton Hall.
March: 1 -- West Virginia; 4 -- Cincinnati; 7 -- at Rutgers.
Who's on national TV the most? There are 48 games on ESPN, ESPN2 or CBS, and you can tell the Big East's haves and have-nots pretty quickly. USF gets two games, and there are six other programs only on twice: DePaul, St. John's, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Cincinnati.
The most appearances? That goes to Notre Dame and Villanova, with 11 each; then Connecticut with 10, then Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse with 9 each, then Georgetown (8) and West Virginia (7). So the top nine teams in the league get 88 percent of the national TV games.