September 28, 2011
With the esteemed SEC women’s basketball coaches all convening in Birmingham today, this is a great chance to remind you that football isn’t the only college sports product found on the SEC Network syndication package. You’ll be able to watch multiple men’s and women’s basketball games on many of the same affiliates where you’re currently seeing our Saturday afternoon football game of the week.
Back on August 18th, the SEC announced its composite men’s basketball conference schedule. All 96 of the men’s conference games are televised live between the ESPN Networks and CBS (including 37 games in syndication on the SEC Network.) The majority of games not televised nationally (via ESPN, ESPN2 or CBS) will be available on ESPN3.com and as a part of ESPN Full Court (pay subscription college basketball out-of-market service). In addition, there will be an SEC Network studio show each Saturday afternoon during conference play and at the SEC Tournament.
Last week, the SEC announced the television schedule for women’s basketball for the upcoming season. 57 games will be televised live, with 9 games involving an SEC team on ESPN2, 8 games on ESPNU and 8 games on the SEC Network. Again, majority of games not televised nationally will be available on ESPN3.com or as part of ESPN Full Court.
For the third straight season, I’ll be the play-by-play voice on the SEC Network Sunday afternoon games. Coverage of all games starts at 2 PM ET. How about this schedule!?
As always, all twelve teams will make at least one appearance on the SEC Network. I’m especially pleased to announce that this is the first season we will broadcast an SEC Network game from Thompson-Boling Arena – the Lady Vols have shown up numerous times, but always in road venues.
Sunday, January 15th will mark the first game I’ll call in my career at “The Summitt.” The enduring, ultra-passionate support of Lady Vols fans makes TBA one of the true premiere venues for women’s basketball in our country. I’ve even already invited my Dad (the world’s biggest SEC fan living in Southern California) to come out to Knoxville for the occasion.
It won’t be his first time seeing the Lady Vols up close – he joined us at a game in South Carolina in 2010; one of the most thrilling games of that regular season! Last season, we met up for LSU at Ole Miss, which created a great opportunity for my Dad to check out Graceland (I highly recommend you visit this gargantuan tribute to the life of Elvis Presley, at least once) and Oxford.
In honor of my constant quest for knowledge, I’ll leave you with one interesting tidbit from each of the SEC women’s basketball teams, as you get ready for the season ahead (these are thanks to Tammy Wilson, SEC Associate Director of Media Relations who does an incredible job with women’s basketball – follow her on Twitter @SEC_Tammy).
Alabama: Alabama made its first postseason appearance in eight years, advancing to the WNIT round of 16 in 2011 and hopes to build off that success in the coming season.
Arkansas: For the first time in head coach Tom Collen’s tenure, the Razorbacks are a veteran team with senior leadership: Ashley Daniels, Jamesha Townsend and three-year starting guards C’eira Ricketts and Lyndsay Harris (expected to be back from an ACL injury).
Auburn: The Tigers are coming off a season that saw the team advance to the second round of the WNIT, giving the team its fourth post-season appearance in the last five years.
Florida: For the first time since the 2003-04 campaign, the Gators return all five starters from the previous year. The roster features five seniors – each of whom boasts starting experience.
Georgia: The 2011-12 edition of the Lady Bulldogs returns four starters from last year’s squad, which finished 23-11 and advanced to the “Sweet 16″ round of the NCAA Tournament (their 19th Sweet 16 appearance in 32 years under head coach Andy Landers.)
Kentucky: The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. Sr PG Amber Smith returns to the hardwood after sitting out last year with a knee injury. Also joining the Wildcats: Soph F Samarie Walker, who transferred from Connecticut in December of 2010.
LSU: The Nikki Caldwell era begins for LSU… a former player and assistant coach at Tennessee, Caldwell comes to LSU after turning UCLA into a national power with a 72-26 (.735) overall mark in three seasons. Five of 10 returning letterwinners are seniors, highlighted by All-SEC forward and Wade Trophy watch list member LaSondra Barrett.
Ole Miss: Ole Miss returns four starters and nine letterwinners, including All-SEC Freshman team honoree Valencia McFarland, who was just named to the USA Basketball Pan American roster. Ole Miss’ incoming class was ranked 40th in the nation in November by ESPN HoopGurlz.
Mississippi State: Having to replace four starters and nine letterwinners from the 2009-10 Sweet 16 team, last season’s Lady Bulldogs endured some growing pains before ending season by winning three of the year’s final four games. State returns 77% of its scoring production, including leading scorer Diamber Johnson.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks bring back eight returners – all juniors and seniors – who spent the summer and preseason preparing six newcomers for what lay ahead. Dawn Staley has 74.5% of scoring, 81.4% of assists and 63.1% of rebounds from last year’s WNIT squad coming back for 2011-12.
Tennessee: The reigning 2011 SEC Champions were stopped one step short of reaching the NCAA Final Four in 2011 – for 2012, they are dialed in to reach their goal of cutting down the nets for a 9th national title. UT has six seniors, led by 2011 State Farm All-American and SEC MVP Shekinna Stricklen (12.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and 6-3 post Glory Johnson (12.0 ppg, 9.7
Vanderbilt: Coming off its 12th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 20-win season, the Commodores return of three starters from one of the youngest squads in the SEC last season. There is just one senior on this year’s roster, but three of the team’s five leading scorers were freshmen last year, including SEC All-Freshmen selections Jasmine Lister (guard) and Stephanie Holzer (center).
FINAL IMAGE: Snapped from outside the ropes of the “TV Room” at Graceland, this alluring monkey statue sits on the coffee table. I’m pretty sure his eyes follow you if you move from side to side (kidding!)
I was first captivated by this critter’s gauche ’70′s style in 2007 during my first visit. I was drawn to him again this year when I went with Dad, photographed Mr. Monkey both times on two different cell phones, and immediately think of this song, which was one of the first videos on MTV to leave a lasting stamp on my young, impressionable mind (it sort of scared me, admittedly.) Of course, the mind also drifts here when I hear “Monkey.” Goes to show: you never know what will dazzle you… at the Presley Palace or anywhere! Closing thoughts like this alert me I’ve been on the laptop for too long.
Back to football on the next post: the NUMBER ONE TEAM in the nation is featured this week – plenty to discuss for Kentucky at LSU!