Well, college basketball fans, you’ve made it. The day you save your sick days for has arrived.
The 2016 ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon will start Monday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern when UConn takes on Florida State in women’s basketball action. It will end over 24 hours later on the men’s side when Kansas takes on Duke in the finale of The Champions Classic.
The showcase will also feature multiple mid-major squads, so when Winthrop or Niagara pull an upset next March, you’ll be able to brag to your friends about how you’ve been following them since November.
Here’s what you need to know to be as informed as possible as you slip into late night basketball oblivion:
Some of our very esteemed writers and also Russell Steinberg [ed note: what the heck, Adam?] put together a Top 25 for college basketball’s mid-majors. Five teams who made it into the rankings and one who received votes will be featured in the Marathon. This includes San Diego St., ranked seventh in MMM’s Top 25 vs. MMM’s top ranked squad, the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Speaking of the Zags, you can find out what to expect from Mark Few’s squad in this preview from Peter Woodburn.
The Dayton Flyers’ stock continues to climb, in large part because of seniors Scoochie Smith and Charles Cooke. Back in August, our own Austin Brown took a look at what makes Archie Miller’s backcourt duo so impressive.
The first game to feature mid-major squads will start at 10 p.m. ET with Princeton vs. BYU. Princeton is ranked ninth in MMM’s poll and the Cougars are 10th. Jay Drew, who covers BYU for The Salt Lake Tribune broke down the match-up.
The Princeton Tigers have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2011, but the Asbury Park Press previewed Princeton’s upcoming season and explained why fans should expect to see the Tigers back in The Big Dance next spring.
Green Bay Phoenix head coach Linc Darner arrived in Green Bay to a program that had not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1996. It took Darner and his squad all of one season to end that streak. Green Bay plays at Pacific at 2 a.m.and Scott Venci explains here why last season may have been the start of a more positive streak.