Every once in a while, ESPN — the $40 billion media giant responsible for, among other things, beaming Skip Bayless into your home on a regular basis and providing wall-to-wall coverage of Tim Tebow’s every boring move this summer — does something kind of neat. Broadcasting 24 straight hours of college basketball to help usher in the new season is one of those things.
The Tip-Off Marathon, as they call it, happens tomorrow, and honestly, it’s a pretty terrific way to kick off the college-hoops season. (We know, we know — the season’s already begun, but just barely.) Some local teams are involved this year: Stony Brook takes on Rider at 6 a.m., and St. John’s hosts Detroit at 2 p.m. (That game features a Johnnie-centric broadcast crew, with former coach Fran Fraschilla and legendary former player Chris Mullin joining John Saunders.) And sure, a 2 p.m. start time is inconvenient for a lot of people — particularly since college students can’t cut class, ever — but for anyone with access to a TV during the day, it’s pretty cool. The first game, by the way, starts in less than seven hours: West Virginia–Gonzaga, at midnight Eastern.