Thursday, October 18, 2007

2007-2008 USA Today Sports Weekly College Basketball Preview review

Thanks to Rush the Court for alerting me about the publication of the new 2007-2008 USA Today/USA Sports Weekly College Basketball Preview Special Edition. Check for it at your local newsstands. The cover price is $4.95, and it is printed on thick newspaper-type paper with some color pictures. It is more like Barron's in size and style than The USA Today (the daily multicolor fishwrap).

Let's start from the end. Spoiler alert! The TV schedule for both men's and women's basketball games is printed in decent size font. It starts on November 5, 2007 and ends on April 3, 2008 with the NIT Final Four. And boy is the schedule loaded this season! Not only do we have new events (Big12 vs Pac10, SEC vs Big East, OJ Mayo Classic, Puerto Rico TipOff, etc), we also have the brand new Big Ten Network (BTN) and The Mtn and Versus are increasing their coverage. Channels included in the TV listings: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, CBS, ABC, FSN, Versus, CSTV, BTN, The Mtn. Channels not included: Fox College Sports, ESPN Full Court (pay per view package), regional networks (Lincoln Financial, Jefferson Pilot, etc - or whatever their new names are).

If you are a hoops junkie. you may need a second TiVo to keep up! Okay that may be overkill, but here are some of your options for recording college basketball games on TV.

And now that we got the TV schedule out of the way, let's see what goodies we have in this preview:

  • The cover features a split-screen of OJ Mayo and Kevin Love trying to look mean. At the top of the cover, in a tiny picture, Psycho T squeezes the air out of a basketball. Is that a recap of last year's season for North Carolina? :) Ouch!
  • Conference previews: The six BCS conferences and Calipari's Conference USA get a two-page conference preview each. The tier #1 mid-major conferences (A10, Big Sky, Big West, Horizon (now with Valpo), MAC, MVC, MWC, Ohio Valley, Sun Belt, WAC and West Coast) get a full page each. The remaining conferences get half a page each. The Colonial once again should feel dissed since they are in the 2nd tier, not the 1st tier, despite George Mason to the Final Four, the VCU Duke Slayers, and solid seasons from Hofstra, UNC Wilmington and such. Especially considering some of the other mid-major conferences included in the first tier (Big Sky? Big West? OVC? Sun Belt? Horizon? MAC?) but not the Colonial? Come on multi-color fishwrap, wake up and smell the fish!
  • Memphis gets a two-page preview as the fishwrap's #1 team. The other top teams are receiving one page full previews: Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, Tennessee and UCLA and USC. Rosters are included for these eight teams, but not the jersey numbers. The remaining teams get short previews in their respective conference's preview.
  • A three page feature on Kevin Love and OJ Mayo that also moonlights as a UCLA and USC preview.
  • A two page preview on the Rutgers women's team with a giant picture of center Kia Vaughn screaming (at Don Imus?)
  • A three-page general interest men's college basketball national preview
  • One page spotlight of the top 10 freshmen. Well, make it nine, sadly Chris Wright of Goergetown is out for the season :-(
  • There is a two-page TV Viewer's Guide, spotlighting some of the most exciting games of the season, mostly focusing on out of conference games.
  • A four-page preview of women's hoops, which along with the Street and Smith (ooops, I mean the new Sporting News) is the most extensive coverage. Why hasn't anyone come up with a women's preview magazine? Do we really need half a dozen men's previews? How about five men previews and one for the ladies for a start?
  • As mentioned at the start of the review, there is a comprehensive TV schedule for both men's and women's tv games. If your local cable or satellite provider does not have some of the channels, bang your monkey! (a Jim Rome Jungle phrase).

  • 2 comments:

    kurt w said...

    Any preview that includes a Sweet-16 appearance for MSU is A-OKAY with me.

    ncaahoops said...

    Do they offer money-back guarantee? :-)

    I think Jamont Gordon is going to be huge this year.

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