Monday, August 19, 2013
Super Tuesday schedule revealed
By Eamonn Brennan
Our August of college hoops schedule reveals continues today, and the headline should give you a pretty good idea of what's on tap. Beginning Jan. 7, ESPN's Super Tuesday doubleheader will bring you the SEC and the Big Ten every week starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Super Tuesday Schedule (All games televised on ESPN; times ET)
Jan. 7 7 p.m.: Tennessee at LSU
9 p.m.: Ohio State at Michigan State
Jan. 14 7 p.m.: Wisconsin at Indiana
9 p.m.: Kentucky at Arkansas
Jan. 21 7 p.m.: Indiana at Michigan State
9 p.m.: Texas A&M at Kentucky
Jan. 28 7 p.m.: Michigan State at Iowa
9 p.m.: Kentucky at LSU
Feb. 4 7 p.m.: Ohio State at Iowa
9 p.m.: Missouri at Florida
Feb. 11 7 p.m.: Florida at Tennessee
9 p.m.: Michigan at Ohio State
Feb. 18 7 p.m.: Kentucky at Ole Miss
9 p.m.: Iowa at Indiana
Feb. 25 7 p.m.: Florida at Vanderbilt
9 p.m.: Indiana at Wisconsin
March 4 7 p.m.: Michigan at Illinois
9 p.m.: Alabama at Kentucky
It is my job to provide some analysis here, and my analysis is this: You are going to see a lot of the Kentucky Wildcats this season. That should be no surprise, of course. The Wildcats have a rather large fan base and a thoroughly sellable brand inventory, and they tend to bring viewers to the TV set.
So while the challenge ahead of John Calipari's insane freshman class is not all that different from the one that faced past groups -- it essentially means eight months-plus spent in a national basketball observation containment sphere not unlike the alien research facility in "XCOM" -- it is still an immense challenge all the same. By the time Super Tuesday kicks back into gear, we'll get to see whether the best recruiting class of all time (plus some talented sophomores, too) is rounding into national title-level shape.
It is going to be an awfully fun year in the Big Ten, too. I'm not sure if anyone knows what to expect from Indiana, but its trip to Michigan State could carry some massive stakes (and you better believe Tom Izzo is eager to avenge last season's IU sweep). Iowa shows up a handful of times, which should give you some idea of where the Hawkeyes' program is right now, or at least where it appears to be headed. (Hint: upward.) And speaking of Indiana, Super Tuesday has not one but two Hoosiers games against Wisconsin -- which has never lost to Indiana in the Tom Crean era, and has won five straight in Bloomington, including last season's 64-59 upset. (The Badgers were unranked. Indiana was No. 2. The postgame handshake was, um, brief.)
Of course, January is a long way away, and we have a lot to learn about a good number of these teams -- the aforementioned Hoosiers, the Jarrell Martin-led LSU Tigers, Ohio State without Deshaun Thomas, Florida with or without Chris Walker, Illinois without Brandon Paul or D.J. Richardson, Tennessee in a desperate search for a tournament bid ... the list goes on. But whatever we don't know in December will be settled in January, February and early March, and the schedule from this distance makes that prospect as exciting as ever.