What we’re reading while we wish the new Dragon Age could have come out in July. Submit links via Twitter.
As a veteran of several 24-hour tip-off marathon chats -- the archives of which are still available, if you're interested in watching one man's descent into Colonel Kurtz-level madness -- let us offer one piece of advice: Drink lots of water. Oh, sure, you think caffeine is your friend. And for a while, it is. But if you don't stay properly hydrated, there comes a point when your brain will rebel against you, and by the time you realize it you'll be waking up on the couch with the laptop on your stomach wondering how it got to be 10 a.m. so quickly. Heed my warning as you peruse the full schedule for ESPN's seventh annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
With that out of the way, the best game in the early marathon docket begins at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2, when Gonzaga hosts SMU. The Mustangs are without Markus Kennedy, the centerpiece big man recently ruled academically ineligible, not to mention top-five recruit Emmanuel Mudiay, who chose Chinese money over potential NCAA issues this summer. But it's still a sound defensive team and a decent test for a high-octane Bulldogs squad. The Slipper Still Fits has your preview needs covered.
Harvard entered this season with the momentum, if not the consensus ranking, of a top 25 program. If you know anything about the history of Harvard basketball, that statement might still seem ridiculous. But it was true: The Crimson returned a dynamic core of players from a team that toppled Cincinnati in the NCAA tournament last March (and seriously troubled Michigan State in the round of 32), and Tommy Amaker has established his team's Ivy League hegemony three years running. Even so, the Ivy is a one-bid league, and the Crimson needed to do a bit of work in their nonconference schedule to make sure a random loss or two in regular-season play didn't rob them of a tournament bid down the line. Instead, on Sunday, they lost to Holy Cross. Two days in to the 2014-15 season, the Crimson's margin for error has drastically thinned.
"Let’s say Kentucky is facing Ole Miss, and Calipari puts one of the Harrisons on Jarvis Summers to start the game. Summers rattles off seven quick points, but when the line change comes, Dominique Hawkins shuts Summers down. Then Hawkins comes out and Summers abuses Harrison again. Is Calipari going to stick with his platoons at that point? Is he really going to remove a player who’s making a positive impact just because the schedule says so? And what about when a Kentucky player has a hot hand? What about foul trouble? What about crunch time? What happens when Cal’s schedule says to leave in Alex Poythress for an important possession, but Poythress’ schedule says he’s due for one of those games in which he just goes through the motions?" In his lengthy SEC preview, Grantland's Mark Titus wonders how long John Calipari can stick with his proposed platoons. On Sunday, the Wildcats got a first-half bruising from Buffalo before eventually pulling away.
And, last but not least, your Canadian women's 60-foot buzzer-beater of the day.