Ten Preseason Top 25-Ranked Teams on Schedule
ESPN’s 2015 Big Monday Presented by Verizon men’s college basketball schedule – a weekly doubleheader featuring teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Big 12 – will begin January 5 and conclude on March 2. The Monday night games showcase the ACC in the 7 p.m. ET window, followed by the Big 12 at 9 p.m. This season marks the 19th year the Big 12 has had a presence on Big Monday, dating back to the league’s inception in 1996-97. Last year saw the debut of the ACC on the Big Monday series.
New to this year’s schedule is a Big 12 “flex pick” on March 2, in which either Baylor at No. 17 Texas or No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 16 Iowa State will be on ESPN as part of Big Monday and the other will be on ESPNU. The network designation will be determined in the weeks leading up to the game.
The schedule includes four of the top five teams in ESPN’s RecruitingNation Class Rankings: No. 1 Duke; No. 3 North Carolina; No. 4 Louisville and No. 5 Kansas.
Big Monday takes a one week hiatus as ESPN debuts the inaugural College Football National Championship game on January 12.
Every game on the Big Monday schedule features at least one team ranked in the ESPN.com men’s preseason top 25 poll. Highlights:
- A potential of three ACC top-25 matchups showcasing No. 6 North Carolina, No. 7 Virginia and No. 21 Syracuse: Syracuse at North Carolina on January 26; Virginia at North Carolina on February 2 and Virginia at Syracuse on March 2.
- Duke – ranked preseason No. 2 – is on the schedule twice: at home vs. Pittsburgh on January 19 and at Florida State on February 9.
- The Blue Devils add the ESPN 100 top incoming recruit in center Jahil Okafor, as well as guard Tyus Jones, who is ranked fourth.
- North Carolina’s one additional appearance is an opening night tilt vs. Notre Dame on January 5.
- North Carolina has two top-10 incoming freshman ranked nationally in the ESPN 100: Small forwards Justin Jackson (No. 8) and Theo Pinson (No. 10).
- Virginia is also scheduled against Pittsburgh on February 16, as part of Rivalry Week.
- New league member Louisville, ranked No. 8 in the preseason poll, has one appearance – at Georgia Tech on February 23.
- In 2013-14, for the 12th consecutive year, Louisville was the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts, averaging a 4.5 rating.
- A potential seven top-25 matchups during the Big Monday schedule includes four appearances by No. 10 Kansas, plus the opportunity for four for each of No. 16 Iowa State and No. 19 Oklahoma.
- Kansas hosts Oklahoma on January 19 and Iowa State on February 2, while traveling to West Virginia on February 16 and in-state rival No. 23 Kansas State on February 23.
- Kansas’ roster includes Cliff Alexander, the third overall incoming freshman on the ESPN 100, as well as No. 11 Kelly Oubre.
- Iowa State hosts No. 17 Texas on January 26, in addition to the “flex pick” game on March 2.
- The Sooners sole home game on the schedule is vs. Iowa State on February 9.
- In addition to the “flex pick”, Texas plays at home against Oklahoma on January 5 and at Iowa State on January 26.
- Texas landed the No. 2 overall recruit on the ESPN 100 in center Myles Turner.
Overall, ESPN networks will offer more than 100 games from both conferences during the 2014-15 season. Full conference schedules will be announced at a later date. ESPN’s 2013-14 season was the most-viewed and highest-rated regular season ever.
All Big Monday telecasts will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
ESPN’s Big Monday Schedule (subject to change)
|January 5||7 p.m.||Notre Dame at No. 6 North Carolina||ESPN or ESPN2|
|9 p.m.||No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 17 Texas||ESPN or ESPN2|
|January 19||7 p.m.||Pittsburgh at No. 2 Duke||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 10 Kansas||ESPN|
|January 26||7 p.m.||No. 21 Syracuse at No. 6 North Carolina||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 17 Texas at No. 16 Iowa State||ESPN|
|February 2||7 p.m.||No. 7 Virginia at No. 6 North Carolina||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 16 Iowa State at No. 10 Kansas||ESPN|
|February 9||7 p.m.||No. 2 Duke at Florida State||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 16 Iowa State at No. 19 Oklahoma||ESPN|
|February 16||7 p.m.||Pittsburgh at No. 7 Virginia||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 10 Kansas at West Virginia||ESPN|
|February 23||7 p.m.||No. 8 Louisville at Georgia Tech||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 10 Kansas at No. 23 Kansas State||ESPN|
|March 2||7 p.m.||No. 7 Virginia at No. 21 Syracuse||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||Baylor at No. 17 Texas -or- No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 16 Iowa State||ESPN -or- ESPNU|