College Basketball: Viewer's Guide to the 24-Hour College Basketball Marathon
The college basketball season is so awesome because it is filled with so many different events and tournaments throughout the year that make things really exciting for fans. The 24-Hour Marathon is one of those great events.
Whether you are going to stay up and watch the whole thing or you can only catch some of the games, the 24-Hour Marathon will be full of great action throughout. Here is a complete viewer's guide to all the games that will be seen on the ESPN networks during the 24-Hour Marathon.
Midnight: West Virginia at Gonzaga
Last year Gonzaga kicked off the 24-Hour Marathon by raining down three pointers against Washington State. This year they look to do the same thing against West Virginia. Sophomore Kevin Pangos will be a major part of the Gonzaga attack once again this season and will have to help fill some of the void that Robert Sacre's departure left.
For West Virginia, they will be trying to replace the void left by Kevin Jones' departure. Transfers Aaric Murray, Juwan Staten and Matt Humphery will be the main guys trying to fill that spot
The first game of the 24-Hour Marathon will be one of the best games on the schedule. If you can only watch a few games during the marathon, stay up late and check this one out. If you are going to endure the whole marathon, do not expect every game to be as exciting as this one.
2 a.m.: Davidson at New Mexico
This game will likely be very entertaining as well. Davidson has one of their best teams since the year Stephen Curry led them on a magical ride in the NCAA Tournament. New Mexico is coming off an outstanding year in which they almost made it to the Sweet 16.
This is going to be a great one. It will be midnight at The Pit, and the crowd will be as raucous as they have ever been. The home court advantage will be the key in this game.
Pick: New Mexico
4 a.m.: Houston Baptist at Hawaii
I am not going to lie to you and tell you that this is going to be an exciting game. In all likelihood this is going to be the most boring game of the marathon. Outside of fans of these two teams, nobody really cares who wins this game. Neither team is going to be in the NCAA Tournament anytime soon.
If you want to catch some sleep, this would be the right time. If you are staying up for the entire marathon, do not lie down, because you will likely fall asleep during this game. Instead, drink lots of energy drinks or do some sort of exercise to keep yourself awake.
6 a.m.: Stony Brook at Rider
This will be one of the few times in your life that you will get to see a college basketball game played at six in the morning. If you were having trouble staying awake during the Hawaii game, the light from the sun will certainly help you make it through all of the daytime college hoops action.
Stony Brook brings a very efficient offense into this game against Rider, and they played at this time in the marathon last year. I like the experience to help out on the road.
Pick: Stony Brook
8 a.m.: Northern Illinois at Valparaiso
Congratulations are in order for anyone who made it through the night and into the daytime college basketball action. I know many people have to work though, and just simply cannot afford to stay up all night and watch basketball. If that is the case, turn this one on while you're getting ready for work.
Valparaiso will be one of the many teams gunning for the Horizon League title this season, and if they do make the NCAA Tournament, getting to see them live at the beginning of the season,\ will certainly help you when filling out your bracket.
As for Northern Illinois, do not expect much from them this season.
10 a.m.: Harvard at Massachusetts
At first glance this appears to be a blowout. Harvard is really good and Massachusetts is average. Under normal circumstances that would be right, but remember the Harvard cheating scandal.
Now the Crimson will be playing without Brandyn Curry and Kyle Casey. Without those two players this game will be very competitive. UMass guard Chaz Williams will play a huge role in the outcome of this game, and I expect him to have a huge day.
Noon: Temple at Kent State
Kent State opened up the season with a big overtime win over Drexel and will be hoping to follow it up with another big win. It will be no easy task though. The Temple Owls are extremely good and are led by a very good player in Khalif Wyatt.
Nevertheless, Kent State is at home and could potentially pull off a small upset here against Temple. Temple will likely get the job done though and win a competitive game against the Golden Flashes.
2 p.m.: Detroit at St. John's
Many people are expecting a good run from St. John's this season. The team is young, talented and could accomplish some very big things in the Big East. Detroit will need an outstanding game from Ray McCallum Jr. if they want a fighting chance against their for from the Big East.
Pick: St. John's
4 p.m.: Butler at Xavier
This will also be a great game in the 24-Hour Marathon. Butler is new to the A-10 conference and will get an immediate test when travel to Ohio to take on Xavier. Xavier may struggle though with the loss of guards Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons. Look for Butler to make an early statement to the A-10 conference and get a huge road win over the Musketeers.
6 p.m.: Kentucky at Baylor (Women's)
Nothing against women's college basketball, but for about an hour between men's games, this will be the only basketball to watch. For some fans it will be an opportunity to go outside and stretch their legs, some may go to the store to restock supplies and then others will sit in front of their television and continue to get the full 24-Hour Marathon experience.
Women's basketball has taught me over the past few years that Baylor is very very good.
7 p.m.: Wichita State at VCU
Sure there are some really big games on the schedule to close out the 24-Hour Marathon, but do not forget about all the other action. Wichita State and VCU will certainly be a great game to watch between two very strong mid majors.
Wichita State will need to have a great year if they are to defeat Creighton in the Missouri Valley, and we will certainly find out how good they are in this tough test against VCU. Shaka Smart and his HAVOC system may be too much for them though.
7 p.m.: Michigan State vs Kansas
Regardless of whether you watched the entire 24-Hour Marathon, if you are a true college hoops fan you will be tuned in for this one. Tom Izzo just had his Spartans playing over in Germany, now he has them playing in the Georgia Dome against Kansas.
The common factor between the two games will be a loss for Michigan State. Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson will just be too strong for the Spartans to defeat, especially after just taking a trip to Germany.
8 p.m.: Cleveland State at Michigan
Cleveland State survived an overtime thriller Monday night to advance to tonight's second round NIT matchup with Michigan. The Wolverines were dominant in their Monday night win over IUPUI and look for more of the same on Tuesday night. This game will certainly be more challenging then their first round game, but Michigan should have no problems advancing over the Vikings.
9 p.m.: Lehigh at Pittsburgh
Everyone now knows Lehigh after they stunned the basketball world last year by upsetting the Duke Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Now the Mountain Hawks are back and looking to send themselves to the NIT semifinals in New York with a win over Pittsburgh.
C.J. McCollum is one of the most explosive players in the country and will be a key factor if the Mountain Hawks want to play the role of spoiler again. Pittsburgh is very good, but a major upset is in the making Tuesday night.
9:30 p.m.: Duke vs Kentucky
And now to cap things off the greatest battle of them all. Sure the 24-Hour Marathon will certainly be full of many exciting matchups throughout the night, and I encourage you to watch as many of them as you can, but if for some reason you can only make time for one game, make it this the one.
Duke and Kentucky is sure to be a great game. The Wildcats are stacked again with another outstanding freshman class led by Nerlens Noel. The Blue Devils also have some young players in sophomore guard Quinn Cook and freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon, but also have veteran leadership inside with senior forward Mason Plumlee.
By the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around, Kentucky will be a much more experienced team, but for now the advantage goes to Duke.
10 p.m.: Alabama-Huntsville at Kansas State
Try to stay awake for the last bit of the marathon, even though it will be nearly unbearable. Division II opponent Alabama-Huntsville is simply no match for the Wildcats of Kansas State. This one will be over quickly, but if you stayed up for the whole marathon, do not turn it off until the clock shows triple zeroes.
Pick: Kansas State
Whether you watch the entire marathon or just catch small pieces of it here and there, enjoy all you can of it. It is truly a unique event that only college basketball has to offer.
For those of you who do make it through every game: Congratulations! I know from personal experience that it is very tough to accomplish.
Happy 24-Hour Marathon everyone!
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