Enjoy watching some college basketball in your cubicle? Like talking hoops over breakfast, lunch and dinner? Of course you do. So join us starting at 10 a.m. ET for Tip-Off Marathon Live, where we'll be following all the games until the final one ends sometime in the vicinity of the midnight hour.
Send in your questions and comments, vote in our polls, watch video reports throughout the day and debate college basketball's hot topics with our staff of writers and TV analysts. We also want to see where and how you're watching the Marathon, so tweet us your pictures using the hashtag #TipOffMarathon or upload them right to the chat.
Tuesdays don't get much better than this.
MSU's Appling Finds His Groove In Win Over KU
ATLANTA -- It is not exactly how you'd imagine Tom Izzo would draw it up, at least not if the Michigan State coach had access to statistics and information. Tight game, up one, under two minutes left and Keith Appling, who hit 25 percent of the 3-pointers he tried a year ago, pulling up beyond the arc. It sounds more cringe worthy than game winner.
Except Izzo, of course, has access and knowledge to the backstory. He knows how Appling spent his summer vacation, if you will. He knows about the hours the guard spent locked in the gym.
And Izzo knows about the gun. That's the funnel-like apparatus that masochistic coaches set up over the hoop, trying to force their players to improve the arc on their shot.
For Appling, the gun was, according to Michigan State assistant coach Dane Fife, set to just about the top of the ceiling.
And so when Appling pulled up, with 7-foot Jeff Withey within an arms length no less, Izzo didn't even blink.
More important, neither did Appling. The junior rose with a confidence that Reggie Miller would admire, sinking the trey and sealing a hard-fought 67-64 victory over Kansas in the Champions Classic.
"Keith is a phenomenal athlete but I think this summer he fell in love with the game again,'' Izzo said. "I'm proud of him. When you see a kid put in the work like that, it's nice to see them get the reward in a game like this.''
Should Appling's growth continue, the reward could very well be for the Spartans. Sans Draymond Green, Michigan State is in need of a leader, and while senior Derrick Nix is the natural to fill the position, Appling -- as the point guard -- is almost more critical. But Appling has been frustratingly inconsistent in his MSU career, sometimes great, sometimes less so.
The Appling that showed up against Kansas was leaning toward the great version.
After Rough Offseason, Xavier Rips Butler
It's too soon to glean any substantial benefits from Xavier's 62-47 victory over Atlantic 10 foe Butler -- the game did not count toward their mark in conference -- with the exception of one. Given the Musketeers' turbulent offseason, one that followed a frenetic regular season in 2011-12, Tuesday's win will boost the morale of a team with a new, albeit forced, persona.
"We took a good step forward today," coach Chris Mack told ESPN.com. "It gave our guys a shot of confidence. But we know there's work to do."
Mack's program lost nearly 80 percent of its offensive production from last season. Some of those reductions were natural.
Both Tu Holloway and Kenny Frease exhausted their eligibility. Other departures, however, were less seamless. Mark Lyons abruptly transferred to Arizona. Dezmine Wells was dismissed following sexual assault allegations. A grand jury decided against pursuing charges, but he ultimately joined Mark Turgeon at Maryland.
Plus, two former assistant coaches left Mack's staff. So the team's circumstances demanded a fresh start.
And a dominating win over Butler in the Cintas Center in Cincinnati offered the Musketeers that chance to move forward from the last calendar year's mess.
Lavin Victorious In His Return To St. John's
NEW YORK -- Steve Lavin is back, and his young team is off to a promising start.
After missing almost all of last season while recovering from prostate cancer, Lavin officially made his return to the sideline Tuesday afternoon. And St. John's Red Storm won its regular-season opener against Detroit, 77-74 at Carnesecca Arena.
In his postgame news conference, Lavin was asked how he felt about his comeback. "I think so much of the way I feel is a result of your team and their energy, and feeding off of that synergy," Lavin said. "Similar to a parent -- if your children are lined in the right way and they seem well adjusted and they're contributing in a meaningful way, then you feel better as a parent. And as a coach, I feel good because this team found a way to get a gritty W."
It didn't look like that was going to happen in the first half after Detroit broke open a tie game with a 9-0 run and led 37-29 at intermission. St. John's still trailed 60-53 with under nine minutes remaining, when the Red Storm took over with a 14-2 run of their own to wrest control of the game.
Temple Rides Scootie Randall To Victory
When Scootie Randall injured his knee prior to last season, there were people who said the Temple standout would never be the same.
They were right.
Playing in his first game in more than a year, Randall hardly looked like his old self in the Owls' 80-66 victory at Kent State.
Instead, he even was better.
Randall scored a career-high 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting to propel Temple to a hard-fought road win in its first game of the season. Randall, who hadn't played in a game since March of 2011, also made four steals against a Kent State squad that was high on momentum after upsetting Drexel in overtime four days earlier.
Temple coach Fran Dunphy was asked after the game if he was surprised by Randall's breakout performance after such a long layoff.
"Not really," Dunphy told ESPN.com. "He has no fear. He's not afraid to make a mistake. He's worked really hard for this moment."
Randall, who redshirted last season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee, connected on 5 of 12 attempts from 3-point range. His biggest moment came when he swished back-to-back 3s to turn a 46-46 tie into a 52-46 Temple lead.
The Owls would never trail again.
"Coach Dunphy always says, 'To take shots, you've got to get shots,'" Randall told ESPN.com. "I was working extra hard out there to create opportunities for myself.
"The last year has been tough, but my teammates kept pushing me. They kept me involved. It felt good to be back."
Carter Not An Unlikely Hero To Minutemen
AMHERST, Mass. -- With the bulk of its key contributors back from an NIT Final Four season, the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team enters this season with more anticipation and greater expectations than it has in more than a decade.
Yet with 1:21 remaining in its season opener against a Harvard team that lost two of its mainstays during an offseason cheating scandal, the Minutemen trailed by five, their fans bracing for a letdown they've felt before in the 14 years since their last NCAA tournament appearance.
So with the game on the line in the closing seconds, UMass turned to (who else?) a kid who missed the bulk of last season with a hip injury and hadn't scored a point all game.
With game tied at 64 with 28 seconds to play, the Minutemen took possession after Chaz Williams and the UMass pressure defense forced a Harvard turnover along the sideline. Williams let the clock run down before making his move, driving the lane. As Crimson defenders converged, Williams dished the ball to an open Carter in front of the UMass bench, and Carter calmly drained the shot with 1.5 seconds to go.
"Once I saw Chaz go baseline and my man came off, I knew I was getting it because it's something we work on," Carter said. "I knew to slide to the corner."
With time winding down, Carter said he didn't have to think about whether or not to shoot.
"I heard the bench behind me saying, 'Knockdown' so I knew it was a knockdown and I was totally confident."
Highlights: MSU Gets By Kansas
Highlights: Shockers Pull Surprise
Tip-Off Marathon Schedule/Results
Gonzaga 84, West Virginia 50
New Mexico 86, Davidson 81
Hawaii 73, Houston Baptist 60
Stony Brook 54, Rider 46
Valparaiso 69, Northern Illinois 46
Massachusetts 67, Harvard 64
Temple 80, Kent State 66
St. John's 77, Detroit 74
Xavier 62, Butler 47
Michigan State 67, Kansas 64
Wichita State 53, VCU 51
Michigan 77, Cleveland State 47
Pittsburgh 78, Lehigh 53
Duke 75, Kentucky 68
Kansas State 87, Alabama-Huntsville 26
Highlights: Michigan On To NYC
Highlights: Xavier Stifles Butler
Highlights: St. John's Holds On
Take Two: Who returns to Atlanta?
The ESPN Tip-Off Marathon concludes with the marquee Champions Classic, a doubleheader in Atlanta featuring Kansas-Michigan State and Kentucky-Duke. With that in mind, we asked two of our writers to pick which one of those has the best chance to return to Atlanta for the Final Four.
• To find out who Katz and King selected, click here »
Midday Roundup From The Hub
Highlights: Temple Notches Road W
Highlights: Harvard-UMass Thriller
While You Were Sleeping
Observations from the Tip-Off Marathon's first five games:
• Gonzaga sparked Final Four talk after its lockdown defense fueled the Bulldogs' 84-50 win against West Virginia. Gonzaga's talent is rarely questioned, and the Bulldogs have dominated the WCC for more than a decade. But they've fallen short of expectations in the past. Gonzaga hasn't been gritty enough in the late stages of the season. The 2012-13 squad, however, not only executed offensively (26-for-50 from the field), but it also smothered the Mountaineers (3-for-26 from beyond the arc, 18 turnovers) with its defense. Gonzaga didn't reveal many flaws in the lopsided win. The Bulldogs looked very dangerous.
• You missed a great game between Davidson and New Mexico. Davidson took a 22-6 lead eight minutes into the game. But the Lobos fed off the energy in The Pit and surged in the second half as they secured an 86-81 win. The teams were locked in a 70-70 tie with 3:20 to go. Tony Snell's 3-pointer with 1:10 to play gave the Lobos a six-point lead. Davidson just couldn't close the gap. But the Wildcats fought hard. Great effort by both teams.
• Rider and Stony Brook were tied 41-41 with 4:10 to go. And that's really all you need to know about Stony Brook's 54-46 victory over Rider. They combined for 35 turnovers. They collectively shot 9-for-34 from beyond the arc. But that's what happens when you play at 6 a.m. St. John's transfer Nurideen Lindsey (17 points) will keep the Broncs alive in a lot of MAAC games this season. Stony Brook's offense will demand more contributors with playmaker Bryan Dougher gone.
• To read all of Medcalf's observations from the early action, click here »
Analysis: Valpo Handles NIU