College Basketball: The Five Best Matchups of the ESPN Tip-off Marathon

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College Basketball: The Five Best Matchups of the ESPN Tip-off Marathon
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Duke and Kentucky played in the marquee matchup of last year's ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. There are more exciting games scheduled for 2013.

The start of the college basketball is still a few months away, but schedules and matchup are slowly being released throughout the offseason. Beginning at 11 p.m. on August 11, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan began releasing the matchups for the annual ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. The Tip-Off Marathon begins at 7 p.m. on November 11 and there will be games broadcasted consecutively on the network for more than 24 hours. 

To make the marathon work, games will be played across the country and ESPN is using time zone differences to its full advantage. 

The Tip-Off Marathon will feature title contenders (Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State), some of last season's Cinderella teams (Florida Gulf Coast, La Salle and Wichita State) and every other type of team in between. 

While most fans are unlikely to be up at a the crack of dawn to watch Hawaii host New Mexico State, there are a number of intriguing matchups to be played on November 11 and 12. 

The headliners are obviously the two Champions Classic games: Kentucky-Michigan State and Duke-Kansas. 

Each of the four teams in the Champions Classic will have played each other in the event after this season, which is the third year of the Classic. With four of the best programs in college basketball competing in the Champions Classic, there are destined to be compelling matchups every year. 

The Champions Classic website acknowledges that the 2011 games included Mike Krzyzewski breaking Bob Knight's NCAA Division I men's basketball all-time wins record as well as a preview of that year's championship game with the Kentucky-Kansas matchup. 

This year's Champions Classic games will be filled with compelling story lines, highly touted prospects and very good basketball. 

Here are the five best games in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon based on how the teams performed last season, the players returning and the strength of their 2013 recruiting classes. 

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