SEC Network To Air First Three Rounds Of SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament Beginning In 2015

Courtesy:  ESPN/SEC Network/DISH

Courtesy: ESPN/SEC Network/DISH

Officials with ESPN and the soon-to-be launched SEC Network announced Friday that the network, dedicated to Southeastern Conference sports, will exclusively air the first three rounds of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament beginning in 2015.  The announcement means that 2015 would be the first time that the entire SEC Tournament would be televised in its entirety.  SEC Commissioner Mike Slive discussed the announcement with reporters.  “This is an example of the in-depth basketball coverage the SEC Network will give fans across the country,” he said.  “From November 14 through early March, fans will be able to turn to the SEC Network to follow their favorite SEC basketball teams.”

The SEC Network is a multiplatform network.  It will launch Thursday, August 14th and will present more than 100 men’s SEC basketball games each year.  Men’s SEC Basketball coverage will debut Friday, November 14th, 2014.  It all starts with a double header featuring a matchup of Kentucky and current #1 Florida*in one of the two games.  More scheduling news for men’s SEC Basketball games will be announced at later dates.  In all, the SEC Network will have no fewer than eight exclusive appearances by each of the SEC’s men’s basketball teams in its debut season.  Justin Connolly, ESPN Senior VP of College Networks expanded on the matter.  “The SEC Network will provide more coverage of SEC men’s basketball than ever before,” he said.  “From the season’s opening night through the first three rounds of the SEC tournament, we’ll surround SEC basketball fans with great action all season long.”

*reflects ranking as of March 14, 2014

More information on the SEC Network is available online at and  More information on ESPN’s college basketball coverage is available online at and’college-basketball.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ESPN Announces Biggest Broadcast Schedule Ever For 2014 College Softball Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN announced today, its broadcast coverage schedule for the 2014 college softball season.  This season’s broadcast schedule is the most expansive from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.  This season, audiences will be able to catch no fewer than forty regular season college softball games across the ESPN family of networks.  Another forty will be broadcast on ESPN3 later this season.  Those games will be announced at a later date.  Also included in this year’s broadcast schedule will be no fewer than five college softball championships and the entire SEC tournament.  The championship matches scheduled to be broadcast will be for the SEC, ACC, Big South, SWAC, and AAC conference titles.  It all begins with preseason Number 1 Tennessee hosting South Carolina on Sunday, March 23rd at 2:30pm on ESPNU.

The end of the regular season doesn’t mean the end of ESPN’s coverage of college softball.  ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will have regional round coverage, full coverage of the super regionals, and NCAA Women’s World Series.

The number of college softball games covered this year by ESPN and the ESPN family of networks is just one landmark.  Among that total eighty games to be broadcast, the ESPN family of networks will also carry a record seventeen matchups featuring two ranked teams.  This includes a matchup of #10 Texas at #2 Oklahoma on Thursday, April 17th on ESPN2.  The Sooners will also be on the road Saturday, April 12th to face #16 Baylor. That game will be broadcast on ESPN.  Along with its matchup against the Gamecocks, ESPN is scheduled to carry The Volunteers’ matchups against #11 Texas A&M on Friday, April 11th and Sunday, April 13th.

Twelve of the eighty total games scheduled to air across the ESPN family of networks will feature a top five team in the preseason Top 25 games.  Twenty-seven of the games will feature an overall ranked team.

If the number of games scheduled to be broadcast and the teams to be featured isn’t enough for audiences, the staff of analysts set to cover the games will impress viewers.  Each analyst—Jessica Mendoza, Jennie Finch, Amanda Scarborough, Cheri Kempf, and Michele Smith—is a multi-time collegiate All-American.  Three of the analysts—Finch, Mendoza, and Smith—combine for six total Olympic medals, including four gold.  Joining the staff for play-by-play commentary will be Beth Mowins, Pam Ward, Cara Capuano, Adam Amin, Holly Rowe, and Mark Neely.  The current schedule of college softball games to be broadcast across the ESPN family of networks is listed below.  Dates are subject to change.

2014 ESPN NCAA Softball Television Schedule (subject to change)


Date Time Matchup Network
Sun, March 23 2:30 p.m. South Carolina vs. #1 Tennessee ESPNU
  7 p.m. #10 Texas at #16 Baylor ESPNU
Mon, March 31 6 p.m. # 12 Florida State at UNC ESPNU
Fri, April 4 9 p.m. Arkansas at #6 Alabama ESPNU
Sat, April 5 5 p.m. Auburn at #3 Florida ESPNU
Sun, April 6 3 p.m. Arkansas at #6 Alabama ESPN
Thu, April 10 11 p.m. #5 Washington at #20 Stanford ESPNU
Fri, April 11 8 p.m. #1 Tennessee at #11 Texas A&M ESPNU
Sat, April 12 3 p.m. #2 Oklahoma at #16 Baylor ESPN
Sat, April 12 10 p.m. #5 Washington at #20 Stanford ESPN2
Sun, April 13 1 p.m. #1 Tennessee at #11 Texas A&M ESPNU
Mon, April 14 7 p.m. #12 Florida State at Notre Dame ESPNU
Wed, April 16 7 p.m. Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton ESPNU
  9:30 p.m. Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton ESPNU
Thu, April 17 9 p.m. #10 Texas at # 2 Oklahoma ESPN2
Fri, April 18 8 p.m. #3 Florida at #11 Texas A&M ESPNU
Sat, April 19 4 p.m. #19 LSU at South Carolina ESPNU
  6 p.m. #3 Florida at #11 Texas A&M ESPNU
Sun, April 20 3 p.m. Syracuse at #12 Florida State ESPNU
Thu, April 24 8 p.m. #21 Georgia at # 6 Alabama ESPN
Fri, April 25 10 p.m. # 8 Oregon at #20 Stanford ESPNU
Sat, April 26 12 p.m. #21 Georgia at # 6 Alabama ESPNU
Mon, April 28 7 p.m. Maryland at Notre Dame ESPNU
Thu, May 1 8 p.m. # 6 Alabama at # 17 Missouri ESPN
Sat, May 3 2 p.m. # 6 Alabama at # 17 Missouri ESPNU
  4 p.m. # 14 Kentucky at #21 Georgia ESPNU
  6 p.m. #20 Stanford at #13 UCLA ESPNU
  7:30 p.m. #3 Florida at Arkansas ESPN
Sun, May 4 1 p.m. #3 Florida at Arkansas ESPN
  3 p.m. #20 Stanford at #13 UCLA ESPN


2014 ESPN NCAA Conference Championship (subject to change)

Wed, May 7 4 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Play-In Game No. 1 ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Play-In Game No. 2 ESPNU
Thu, May 8 11 a.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Quarterfinal No. 1 ESPNU
  1:30 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Quarterfinal No. 2 ESPNU
  4 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Quarterfinal No. 3 ESPNU
  6:30 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Quarterfinal No. 4 ESPNU
Fri, May 9 3 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Semifinal No. 1 ESPNU
  5:30 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Semifinal No. 2 ESPNU
Sat, May 10 2 p.m. ACC Softball Tournament – Championship ESPN2
  3:30 p.m. American Softball Tournament – Championship ESPNEWS
  8 p.m. SEC Softball Tournament – Championship ESPN2
  10 p.m. SWAC Softball Tournament – Championship* ESPNU
Sun, May 11 Noon Big South Softball Tournament – Championship ESPNU

*Live on ESPN 3 at 3:00 p.m.; taped delayed on ESPNU


More information on the ESPN family of networks coverage of the 2014 college softball season is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ESPN Hosting College Football Coaches

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Coaches from some of college football’s biggest teams will be making the rounds on the ESPN family of networks beginning this Monday, July 22nd.  Coaches from the ACC, SEC, Big 10, and Pac 12 will appear on a variety of ESPN programs, including: College Football Live, SportsCenter, First Take, and Highly Questionable on television.  On radio, they will appear on: SVP and Rusillo, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Coach and Company, and SportsCenter Tonight as well as on chats, podcasts, and more online. 

Coaches from the ACC will make appearances on July 29th and 30th.  ACC coaches will be doing interviews July 31st and August 1st.  Pac-12 coaches will make appearances on TV and radio on July 24th and 25th.  Coaches from the SEC will appear on TV and radio July 22nd and 23rd.  Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott will visit ESPN’s headquarters on Thursday, July 25th.  He will make the rounds from 12pm EST to 2:45pm EST.  During his time at ESPN’s headquarters, Scott will make appearances on SportsCenter and on ESPN Radio’s SVP & Rusillo.

A full schedule of coaches and their appearance schedules is available below.


July 22 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) July 23 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
James Franklin (Vanderbilt) Bret Bielema (Arkansas)
Hugh Freeze (Mississippi) Butch Jones (Tennessee)
Les Miles (LSU) Gus Malzahn (Auburn)
Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) Will Muschamp (Florida)
Gary Pinkel (Missouri) Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)
Mark Richt (Georgia) Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)  
Nick Saban (Alabama)  



July 24 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) July 25 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Sonny Dykes (California) Todd Graham (Arizona State)
Mark Helfrich (Oregon) Lane Kiffin (USC)
Mike Leach (Washington State) Mike MacIntyre (Colorado)
Mike Riley (Oregon State) Jim Mora (UCLA)
Steve Sarkisian (Washington) Rich Rodriguez (Arizona)
David Shaw (Stanford) Kyle Whittingham (Utah)



July 29 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) July 30 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Paul Chryst (Pittsburgh) Steve Addazio (Boston College)
David Cutcliffe (Duke) Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech)
Dave Doeren (NC State) Randy Edsall (Maryland)
Larry Fedora (North Carolina) Jimbo Fisher (Florida State)
Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech) Al Golden (Miami)
Mike London (Virginia) Jim Grobe (Wake Forest)


Big Ten

July 31 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) August 1 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Gary Anderson (Wisconsin) Tim Beckman (Illinois)
Darrell Hazell (Purdue) Mark Dantonio (Michigan State)
Jerry Kill (Minnesota) Kirk Ferentz (Iowa)
Urban Meyer (Ohio State) Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
Bo Pelini (Nebraska) Brady Hoke (Michigan)
Kevin Wilson (Indiana) Bill O’Brien (Penn State)


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ESPN Films Debuts New Film This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN/ESPNU

Courtesy: ESPN/ESPNU

ESPN Films will debut a new film in its SEC “Storied” series this weekend.  Miracle 3 will debut this Sunday, March 3rd at 8pm EST on ESPNU.  The latest in the series focuses on the events of March 14th, 2008.  It was on that date that an EF2 tornado touched down in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia during a matchup between Alabama and Mississippi State in the SEC tournament.  Alabama was trailing Mississippi State 59-56 in the final seconds of regulation of the first of the tournament’s quarterfinal games.  The game went into OT after Alabama guard Myka Riley hit a three-pointer to tie the game.  The irony of the shot is that not only did it keep the Crimson Tide in the game, but because it extended the game, it may have been to thank for saving thousands of lives.

Because of that shot, the thousands in attendance of the game stayed inside the Georgia Dome instead of going outside.  Had they gone outside, those thousands could have been injured or worse because only minutes after that fateful shot, a tornado touched down just outside the Georgia Dome.  Nobody inside the Georgia Dome was injured.  Though, the arena did sustain enough damage that it forced the remainder of the game to be delayed.  It also caused the last quarterfinal game of the day to be postponed.  SEC officials would end up having to find a new home for the tournament’s final games as a result of the damage to the Georgia Dome so as to finish the tournament on schedule.  The Bulldogs would end up going on to the NCAA tournament after winning three games in a 30-hour span.

The story of Miracle 3 is built around interviews with people involved in those affected by the tornado including players and coaches from teams playing in the tournament, SEC officials, referees, fans, meteorologists, and many more.  Along with airing at 8pm on ESPNU, Miracle 3 will also air earlier in the evening on March 3rd on ESPN.  It will air at 5pm on ESPN this Sunday evening.

To get the latest news on Miracle 3 and all programming on ESPNU and ESPN, go online to and and the official website of ESPNU and ESPN, and

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ESPN Films, ESPNU Airing New Special Next Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN Films is continuing its SEC “Storied” series next week.  The next special in the network’s series is titled, Going Big.  The special centers on former basketball player Sam Bowie.  Bowie’s career in both college and high school was wrought with trials and tribulations.  The 7’1” star got his start at the University of Kentucky.  He was also lucky enough to be a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team.  Everything seemed to be going well for Bowie in his college career until an accident in a game against Vanderbilt that would end up sidelining the rising star for two seasons.  Though in 1984 he managed to get back on the court, and led his team to the Final Four.

Yet again, his life was on a high note, as he was taken second overall in the 1984 NBA draft after his graduation, right in front of legend Michael Jordan.  Sadly though, just as his college career had hit some bumps, so did his professional career.  While injuries left him sidelined once again, Jordan rose to national fame.  Continued injuries throughout his professional career would lead to a negative reputation around him as having been overrated.  Despite all of his bad luck in the NBA, Bowie has pushed on and found success in another area of life.

Going Big airs next Thursday, September 20th on ESPNU at 9pmEST.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it or its companion page,  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ESPNU Airing New “Storied” Special Next Week

ESPNU is presenting a very special presentation next Tuesday, September 25th as part of ESPN’s “Storied” series.  The network will premiere the special, “Croom” next Tuesday night at 7pm EST. 

“Croom” focuses on famed Mississippi State University coach Sylvester Croom.  He’s seen some very high and some low points.  Croom was part of three SEC Championship teams as a student athlete at the University of Alabama.  He was also the first ever African American Center on the football team.  Croom moved on to the NFL after his college career, where he served as an assistant coach for seventeen years before being considered for the head football coach of his alma mater.  Ultimately, he would be beaten out by Mike Shula.  It would be a year later when Croom took the helm of the embattled Mississippi State football program.  Three straight winning seasons and back to back wins against the Crimson Tide in ’06 and ’07 along with a Liberty Bowl win and Coach of The Year honors would seemingly secure his place at Mississippi State.  But that wouldn’t be the case, as he was surprisingly asked to step down from his post after the season that followed. 

Croom showed that despite being asked to step down from his coaching position, he wouldn’t let that adversity keep him down.  He returned to the NFL and now serves as part of the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff. 

This powerful story of success over great odds and adversity is perfect for any college football fan.  It airs on ESPNU next Tuesday night at 7pm EST. 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it or its companion page,  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

ESPNU debuts new special Monday

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are just around the corner.  And just in time to build anticipation for this year’s games, ESPNU will air its newest special, “Lolo.”  “Lolo” airs Monday night at 7pm on ESPNU.

“Lolo” centers on track and field star Lori “Lolo” Jones.  It tells the story of an athlete who started her life with nothing, but through sheer determination and hard work, became one of the greatest names in her sport today.  Director Rory Karpf uses interviews with Jones’ family and friends, and Jones herself to illustrate her story.

Lori “Lolo” Jones’ story starts in Des Moines, Iowa.  She and her siblings grew up hard.  Their father was constantly in and out of the family’s picture.  Their mom struggled to make ends meet.  Jones herself talks about the family’s struggles leading to her having to shoplift food just to make sure she had something to eat and how the family even had to sleep on the floor of a Salvation Army Church because they had nowhere else at one point.  She also recounts how when her father was around, they never had one stable car.  She notes that her dad was always buying cheap cars that broke down quickly.  In the colder months of the year, she would end up having to run from point to point as a result of this.  That, she says, is what started her love of running.  She said of running that, “it [running] was the friend that never left.”

Lolo’s love of running became not just a love, but a genuine talent.  It garnered her a scholarship to LSU.  Jones said of her move to Louisiana that for a girl from Iowa, it was a total culture shock.  As much as it was a culture shock, moving to Louisiana and attending LSU was a turning point for her.  LSU was where she met track and field coach Dennis Shaver.  Shaver would unwittingly become the father figure that Jones needed to nurture her gift.  And he did just that.

Coach Shaver was there for Lolo after she failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.  It was his motivation that kept her going and working her way to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Her run in the ’08 Olympics was nothing short of miraculous.  It was also one of the most important moments in her life.  When she came up short of the Gold in her final event, Jones started to question herself.  That led her to doubt herself in other competitions.  But the reality was that her problems may not have been her fault after all.  As a matter of fact, it would turn out that Jones had a problem that came as a surprise to everyone including herself that led to her ups and downs since the ’08 Olympics.

When she went to see a doctor about everything she was going through, he discovered that Jones actually had a problem with her spine.  It turned out that a problem with her spine had caused her to lose sensation to her feet.  That explained her legs and feet not moving the way she had wanted.  She finally had an answer.  After a successful procedure and recovery, Lolo Jones made an amazing comeback with a win at the ’08 U.S. Open.  And now, she will try to make it to this year’s London Olympics at next month’s Olympic Trials, hoping that the third time will truly be the charm.  Needless to say that when she tries out next month, there will likely be a lot of people watching on television and at those trials chanting, “Go! Go! Lolo! 

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