ESPN’s annual Tip-Off Marathon is always one of my favorite events of the college basketball season.
If you don’t know what it is … well … you truly are missing out.
For about 28 straight hours, ESPN airs college basketball games, with games tipping all the way in Hawaii in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a chance for us college hoop junkies to huddle around our twitter feeds, arguing through sleep deprivation about such important matters as who should be coming off the bench for Cal St.-Northridge, which caffeinated beverages are the best for pulling an all-nighter, and what snacks are craved for at 6 a.m.
Today, ESPN is releasing the schedule for the Tip-Off Marathon in Marathon fashion: by announcing each games that will be played at the time that it will be played. Festivities get started at 7 p.m. with a double-header featuring Kent State-Temple and Colorado State-Gonzaga.
The official start of the marathon is at 11 p.m., when BYU visits Stanford. Wichita State will be hosting Western Kentucky at 1 a.m. — a midnight tip local time for the Shockers. That will be followed by Akron-St. Mary’s and New Mexico State-Hawaii before two NCAA tournament darlings, Florida-Gulf Coast and La Salle, will host Hartford and Quinnipiac, respectively.
If you can manage to survive this far, the nightcap will be well worth the wait, as four of the top five teams in the country will be headed to the United Center, as Kansas takes on Duke and Michigan State squares off with Kentucky.
Every two hours, another game will be announced. You can follow along with the schedule release here.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.