Did you, like the rest of us, wonder why WSU opens the season with Gonzaga this year? Of all the things that jumped out on the Cougars 2011-12 schedule, it was the Gonzaga game, which was moved to November, that seemed the most curious. There had to be some kind of backstory.
As we found out on Tuesday, there was, and it as to do with ESPN. The Cougars and Bulldogs will take the court during ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, playing in a nationally televised game at 9 p.m. PT on Nov. 14. Of course, the game won't even start until midnight ET, meaning despite it's prominence on ESPN, this one is for the hardcore.
Still, WSU opening the schedule -- midnight Eastern means we're the first game of a marathon day of hoops -- can't be a bad thing, either. While the matchup is late on both coasts, the publicity that comes with opening the 24-hour ESPN marathon puts WSU and Gonzaga in the spotlight, at least momentarily, even if this is a killer game to open the season with.
After the jump, the full College Hoops Tip-Off schedule.
College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon Schedule
9 p.m. PT, Nov. 14 (12 a.m. ET, Nov. 15) - Washington State @ Gonzaga, ESPN
11 p.m. PT, Nov. 14 (2 a.m. ET, Nov. 15) - Northern Iowa @ St. Mary's, ESPN
1 a.m. PT, Nov. 15 (4 a.m. ET) - South Alabama @ Hawaii, ESPN
3 a.m. PT (6 a.m. ET) - Drexel @ Rider, ESPN
5 a.m. PT (8 a.m. ET) - Morehead State @ College of Charleston, ESPN
7 a.m. PT (10 a.m. ET) - Kent State @ West Virginia, ESPN
9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET) - Belmont @ Memphis, EA Sports Maui Invitational, ESPN
11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET) - San Diego State @ Baylor, ESPN
1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET) - Rhode Island @ Texas, TicketCity Legends Classic, ESPN
1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET) - Louisville @ Texas A&M (women), ESPNU
3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET) - Miami @ Tennessee (women), State Farm Tip-Off Classic, ESPN2
3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET) - TBD @ Virginia Tech, DICK'S Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, ESPNU
4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) - Duke v. Michigan State, State Farm Champions Classic, ESPN
5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) - Florida @ Ohio State, ESPN2
6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET) - Kentucky v. Kansas, State Farm Champions Classic, ESPN
7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) - Austin Peay @ California, CBE Classic, ESPN2
8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET) - TBD @ Stanford, DICK'S Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, ESPNU
TBD - TBD @ Syracuse, DICK'S Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, ESPN3.com
TBD - Arkansas-Pine Bluff @ Oklahoma State, DICK'S Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off, ESPN3.com