NFL, AUSTRALIAN OPEN ON ESPNW.COM & MORE…
- SportsCenter Special with Bill Parcells to Preview Conference Championships
- NFL Countdown and NFL Matchup Preview the Divisional Playoffs
- NFL Divisional Playoff Coverage on ESPN.com and ESPN Radio
- espnW: Australian Open on espnW.com
- Men’s College Hoops: “My Home Court” Weeklong Initiative begins Monday
- Former Lightweight Title Challenger Molina Meets Williams on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights
- PBA World Championship on Sunday
- “ESPN: Fantasy Focus Football” Receives Podcast Awards
NBA Doubleheader: Lakers-Spurs, Mavericks-Clippers, Bulls-Knicks, Thunder-Lakers
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ESPN will present two NBA doubleheaders beginning Wednesday, Jan 9, when the San Antonio Spurs host the Los Angeles Lakers at 8 p.m. ET. In the nightcap, the Dallas Mavericks face the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30 p.m.
On Friday, the Chicago Bulls and Joakim Noah take on the New York Knicks and Eastern Conference Player of the Week Carmelo Anthony at 8 p.m. Mike Tirico has the call with analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Chris Broussard. The Los Angeles Lakers – led by Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash – host the Oklahoma City Thunder and the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at 10:30 p.m. Mike Breen will be joined by analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Lisa Salters.
KIA NBA Countdown – with Magic Johnson, Bill Simmons, Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose – precedes the doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. The games and KIA NBA Countdown are available on WatchESPN via computers, smartphones and tablets.
|Wed, Jan 9||7:30 p.m.||KIA NBA Countdown||Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|8 p.m.||Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs||Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, Chris Broussard||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|10:30 p.m.||Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers||Mike Breen, Doris Burke, Lisa Salters||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|Fri, Jan. 11||7:30 p.m.||KIA NBA Countdown||Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|8 p.m.||Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks||Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Chris Broussard||ESPN / WatchESPN|
|10:30 p.m.||Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers||Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters||ESPN / WatchESPN|
SportsCenter Special with Bill Parcells to Preview Conference Championships
Two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Parcells will preview the NFL Conference Championship games in a 30-minute SportsCenter Special on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Parcells will be joined by host Trey Wingo and analyst Keyshawn Johnson as he discusses the NFC and AFC Championship games and his experience coaching in these games during his 19 seasons as a head coach.
ESPN’s NFL Divisional Playoffs Weekend will include Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Suzy Kolber, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski hosting two editions of Sunday NFL Countdown – a two-hour special Saturday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m., and the regular three-hour edition Sunday, Jan 6, at 10 a.m. NFL Insider Adam Schefter and senior analyst Chris Mortensen will report the day’s news.
Sal Paolantonio will host NFL Matchup with analysts Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski Saturday and Sunday at 3 a.m. each day (reairs on ESPN2 Saturday at 6 a.m.; and on ESPN Sunday at 6:30 a.m.). NFL PrimeTime, with host Trey Wingo, will air late Saturday at midnight (9 p.m. PT) and Sunday at 9 p.m.
|Fri, Jan 11||4 p.m.||NFL Live presented by Radio Shack
Trey Wingo, Tedy Bruschi and Herm Edwards
Suzy Kolber, Chris Mortensen, Bruschi and Mark Schlereth
|7 p.m.||NFL Kickoff
Wingo, Schlereth and Darren Woodson
|Sat, Jan 12||3 a.m.||NFL Matchup
Sal Paolantonio, Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski
|10 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM (2 hours)
Chris Berman, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson
Trent Dilfer and Hoge
|12 a.m.||NFL PrimeTime
Wingo, Dilfer and Hoge
|Sun, Jan 13||3 a.m.||NFL Matchup
Paolantonio, Hoge and Jaworski
|10 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown presented by IBM (3 hours)
Berman, Carter, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson, Kolber, Hoge and Jaworski
|9 p.m.||NFL PrimeTime
Berman, Dilfer and Jackson
|10 p.m.||SportsCenter Special
Wingo, Eric Mangini and Antonio Pierce
Coverage will include pre- and post-game reports from all four stadiums. Saturday: Sal Paolantonio (Baltimore at Denver) and Colleen Dominguez (Green Bay at San Francisco). Sunday: Josina Anderson (Seattle) and Ed Werder (Atlanta) will split coverage of the teams playing at Georgia Dome, and Rachel Nichols (Houston at New England).
Sunday NFL Countdown (Saturday):
- “Soundtracks” on Ray Lewis’ Wild Card Game – Countdown relives Ray Lewis’ last home game as the Baltimore Ravens’ inspirational leader from his introductory dance through the end-of-game celebration during the Wild Card game.
- John Harbaugh with Berman –Ravens John Harbaugh will coach his team in a Divisional Playoff game for the fifth straight season. Countdown’s Chris Berman travelled to Baltimore for an interview with Harbaugh who talks about Ray Lewis announcing his retirement, quarterback Joe Flacco’s up and down season and the success of his brother/coach Jim Harbaugh is having with the San Francisco 49ers.
- Elway with Tommy – Former teammates – Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway and Countdown’s Tom Jackson – reunite to discuss the team’s turnaround – winning 11 straight games – and how he convinced quarterback Peyton Manning to sign with the Broncos.
- Kaepernick’s Dream – While in fourth grade, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wrote a letter expressing his desire to one day play for the team or his hometown team, the Green Bay Packers. Reporter Colleen Dominguez traces Kaepernick’s story – raised by adopted parents and how he persevered to make his dream come true.
Sunday NFL Countdown (Sunday):
- Tom Brady with Berman – Before beginning another playoff campaign, quarterback Tom Brady sat down with Berman for a interview where he discusses his team’s two Super Bowl losses in the last five years, recaps the season, fatherhood and his future in the game.
- Matt Ryan’s Quest – After three straight losses in the playoffs, many are beginning to question whether quarterback Matt Ryan will win his first playoff game. ESPN.com’s Greg Garber explores Ryan’s quest to get over the proverbial hump and includes interviews with notable former quarterbacks, Elway and Randall Cunningham who experienced failure in the playoffs early in their careers
- The D Block! – The Falcons “D Block” is arguably the most entertaining show in football. Each week, the Atlanta Falcons’ linebackers host a show in the locker room that includes special guests and their unique brand of comedy, music and witty interviews.
- J.J. Watt Biggest Impact – The Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is making a major impact on and off the field. Watt befriended two brothers in Houston paralyzed in a car crash that killed their parents. ESPN.com columnist and Countdown essayist Rick Reilly reports how Watt has impacted the lives of this family.
- Richard Sherman “Soundtracks” – In-game audio and highlights from the ebullient Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman in their Wild Card game last Sunday at Washington.
NFL Matchup (Saturday):
- Jaworski shows how the 49ers use an unconventional formation to dictate a favorable matchup that repeatedly leads to wide receiver Michael Crabtree vs. a linebacker
- Hoge describes a blitz scheme using second- and third-level defenders that the Broncos used to pressure Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in their week 15 game.
- Jaworski uses the telestrator to show how Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning takes advantage of man coverage with his big wide receivers running unique double-move routes.
- In week 15, the Ravens’ run game was most successful in single-back, Jaworski explains why and how.
- Disregard the 49ers at Packers week one game, contends Hoge, explaining how Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has become more successful late in the season by using his legs to avoid pressure.
- Though the 49ers appear to be a pass-heavy team since the change to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, they are still a run-first offense. Hoge uses the “Coaches Clicker” to show why.
- Jaworski shows how the 49ers disguised blitzes in week one to produce three sacks of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
NFL Matchup (Sunday):
- Quarterback Russell Wilson has impressed critics with his ability to make plays with his legs. Jaworski shows a 49 yard-completion that exemplifies the Seattle Seahawks signal-caller’s ability to make throws on the run.
- Arguing that the Seahawks’ and Carolina Panthers’ offenses are similar, Hoge analyzes key plays in the Panthers offense that led to 394 rushing yards in their two meetings with the Falcons this season.
- Jaworski, using the telestrator, shows how the New England Patriots run-action to draw the safeties down opened up lanes for an easy touchdown throw to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd in their last meeting vs. the Texans
- Jaworski explains how the Falcons’ motion and unconventional alignments can mollify the Seahawks’ potent press coverage.
- Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez has the most third-down catches this year and Hoge shows how he wins against man or zone coverage.
- JJ Watt and the Texans defense must get pressure on Tom Brady to contain the Patriots pass attack, and Hoge pulls out the “Coaches Clicker” to explain a successful zone-blitz the Texans used in their last meeting.
- The Patriots defense held running back Arian Foster to 46 yards in Week 14 playing in multiple defensive fronts. Hoge shows how the Patriots’ key is sustained penetration.
- Jaworski analyzes Matt Schaub’s interception in the Texans first meeting with the Patriots, showing how the quarterback needs to manipulate the safety before making deep throws downfield.
- Jaworski shows Vince Wilfork’s dominance against the run in the Texans at Patriots week 14 game.
NFL Divisional Playoff Coverage on ESPN.com and ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio and ESPN.com will cover the NFL Divisional Playoffs leading up to and following the four weekend games. Highlights:
ESPN Radio’s Countdown to Kickoff (Saturday 1-4 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-1 p.m.) with host Freddie Coleman will preview each day’s action. Guests include analysts Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworkski and Merril Hoge, insiders Chris Mortensen and John Clayton, and on-site game reporters as well as newsmakers from around the league. Weekend programming will also feature extensive post-game coverage of each game.
ESPN.com writers and bloggers will cover all four Divisional Playoff games. Anticipated staff assignments:
- Baltimore at Denver: AFC West blogger Bill Williamson, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and senior writer Elizabeth Merrill.
- Green Bay at San Francisco: NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.
- Seattle at Atlanta: NFL columnist Ashley Fox, NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas, and senior writer John Clayton.
- Houston at New England: AFC East blogger James Walker and AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky. Patriots writer Mike Reiss and others from ESPN Boston will also have coverage surrounding the game.
On Sunday, ESPN.com will post a NFC Championship Q&A written by Clayton and an AFC Championship Q&A by senior writer Jeffri Chadiha.
espnW: Australian Open on espnW.com
The 2013 tennis season begins with the Australian Open with more than 100 live hours on ESPN2 and 600+ on ESPN3. The action gets underway Sunday, Jan. 13, at 6:30 p.m. with a 12.5-hour telecast. espnW.com begins its tournament coverage with several previews, rankings, player profiles and features planned, along with on-going analysis of the tournament. Highlights include:
- Bonnie Ford will be in Melbourne providing commentary, features and more, including a major feature on Serena Williams, looking back at her tremendous summer of 2012 and wondering what’s to come this year.
- A feature on Victoria Azarenka who played brilliantly in the first quarter of 2012 and ultimately ended the year No. 1. Is she a legitimate No. 1 or just the latest player to briefly hold that ranking?
- A look at how tennis hasn’t been immune to positive drug tests, but it seems to lack the sense of pervasive suspicion that exists within other sports.
- What’s new since the off season? The Australian Open is often compared to the start of the school year – who looks different, who is ready to make a move, what are the new coaching pairings, etc.
- A complete analysis of the women’s draw will be posted January 10.
- Rising American star Sloane Stephens will blog several times during the tournament.
Men’s College Hoops: “My Home Court” Weeklong Initiative begins Monday
ESPN’s upcoming men’s college basketball schedule will be highlighted by a new week-long celebration of some of the best and most historic venues in the sport. The “My Home Court” (Twitter #MyHomeCourt) initiative will begin Monday, Jan. 14, and conclude Saturday, Jan. 19.
Telecasts will include vignettes and discussion on the venue. Topics include the history, notable moments, great athletes and coaches who appeared in the arena, a look at the past and present, records made and broken in the facility, best and most unique seats in the building, and notable and passionate team fans who attend games.
The week will tip off January 14 with an ESPN Big Monday Presented by Bud Light doubleheader at two classic venues with both games involving a highly ranked team: No. 3 Louisville at Connecticut at 7 p.m. followed by No. 6 Kansas hosting Baylor at 9 p.m.
The Super Tuesday lineup on January 15 will include eight games across the platforms, including action at Kentucky (Tennessee, 7 p.m., ESPN); St. John’s (No. 17 Notre Dame, 7 p.m., ESPN2); No. 5 Indiana (Wisconsin, 9 p.m., ESPN); and Vanderbilt (Mississippi, 9 p.m., ESPNU).
ESPN outlets will cover 14 games on January 16, including Wednesday Night Hoops Presented by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups matchups from Maryland (No. 20 NC State, 7 p.m., ESPN2); Villanova (Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., ESPNU); No. 19 Georgetown (Providence, 7 p.m., ESPN3); No. 10 Missouri (Georgia, 8 p.m., ESPN3); Marquette (Seton Hall, 9 p.m., ESPN3); and BYU (St. Mary’s, 11 p.m., ESPNU).
|Mon, Jan 14||7 p.m.||No. 3 Louisville at Connecticut
Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Bill Raftery
|Norfolk State at Howard
Matt Schick & Stan Lewter
|9 p.m.||Baylor at No. 6 Kansas
Brent Musburger, Fran Fraschilla & Holly Rowe
|Jackson State at Prairie View A&M
Anthony Calhoun & Stephen Howard
|Tue, Jan 15||7 p.m.||Tennessee at Kentucky
Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes & Shannon Spake
|No. 17 Notre Dame at St. John’s
Mike Patrick & Bob Knight
|Wake Forest at Clemson
Tom Hart & Cory Alexander
|Boston University at Stony Brook
Eric Frede & Frank Sullivan
|8 p.m.||Northern Iowa at No. 13 Creighton||ESPN3|
|8:30 p.m.||No. 21 Cincinnati at DePaul
Lou Canellis & Brooke Weisbrod
|ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network|
|9 p.m.||Wisconsin at No. 5 Indiana
Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich & Samantha Ponder
|Mississippi at Vanderbilt
Dave Neal & Dino Gaudio
|Wed, Jan 16||7 p.m.||No. 20 NC State at Maryland
Jon Sciambi, Jay Bilas & Jeannine Edwards
|Pittsburgh at Villanova
Adam Amin & Tim Welsh
|Miami at Boston College||ESPN3 * & RSN|
|Providence at No. 19 Georgetown
Mike Corey & Bob Wenzel
|ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network|
|8 p.m.||South Carolina at LSU
Mike Gleason & Daymeon Fishback
|Illinois State at No. 23 Wichita State||ESPN3|
|Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Doug Bell & Bryndon Manzer
|ESPN3 * & Big 12 Network|
|Auburn at Arkansas
Dave Baker & Joe Dean
|ESPN3 & SEC Network|
|Georgia at No. 10 Missouri
Dave Neal & Jon Sundvold
|ESPN3 & SEC Network|
|9 p.m.||West Virginia at Iowa State
Bob Wischusen & Stephen Bardo
|No. 18 Kansas State at TCU
Brad Sham & Matt Doherty
|Seton Hall at Marquette
Jim Barbar & Brooke Weisbrod
|ESPN3 * & BIG EAST Network|
|Alabama at Mississippi State
Matt Stewart & Kyle Macy
|ESPN3 * & CSS|
|11 p.m.||St. Mary’s (Calif.) at BYU
Rich Cellini & Miles Simon
* Local blackout may apply
On January 11, ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will include former Lightweight title challenger “The Gladiator” John Molina Jr. (24-2, 19 KOs) and Dannie Williams (22-2, 18 KOs) in a 10-round main event at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN. ESPN Deportes will air Friday’s card at 10:30 p.m.
Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside in Santa Fe, N.M., describing the action for ESPN2, while studio host Todd Grisham will present all the latest news and boxing highlights. Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call the fights for ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in the studio. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna will present live interviews and reports for both shows. Read more.
PBA World Championship on Sunday
ESPN will present the first major of the season with the PBA World Championship stepladder finals Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m. Lon McEachern and PBA Hall of Famer Randy Petersen provide commentary and analysis from Las Vegas. The first match showcases PBA Hall of Famer and two-time Player of the Year Parker Bohn III as he faces Dan MacLellan who is vying for his first Tour title. Bohn, despite winning 32 PBA Tour titles in his career, is bowling for only his second major title. The winner of the opener will move on to the quarterfinal against No. 3 seed Rhino Page, who is looking for his first Tour title since 2009. The victor of the second match will face the No. 2 qualifier and reigning Player of the Year, Sean Rash. The final will be highlighted by No. 1 seed Jason Belmonte, bowling for his first major title, against the semifinal winner.
“ESPN: Fantasy Focus Football” Receives Podcast Awards
ESPN was honored twice at the eighth annual People’s Choice Podcast Awards on Monday in Las Vegas. “ESPN: Fantasy Focus Football” won in the People’s Choice category as well as Sports category.
In “ESPN: Fantasy Focus Football,” ESPN fantasy experts Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz provide daily fantasy football player previews, game overviews, injury reports and strategy.
The ESPN Digital audio team continues to add quality content to its podcast library, complementing established weeklies such as “B.S. Report” and Fantasy shows. “NBA Lockdown with Bruce Bowen & Israel Gutierrez” launched December 10, while “He Said, She Said” with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith will debut February 4.