ESPN is not carrying the men’s Final Four®, of course, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t have a presence in Houston for the games. The Alleged Worldwide Leader is sending a full crew to Houston including college basketball host Rece Davis, analysts Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas, as well as reporters Andy Katz and Mark Schwartz. ESPN will air two editions of College GameDay, one on the day of the Final Four® and the other on the night of the National Championship Game.
We have full details of ESPN’s/ESPNU’s, ESPNews’, ESPN.com’s and ESPN Radio’s coverage plans for Final Four® weekend.
ESPN’s Extensive 2011 Men’s Final Four Coverage Includes On-Site Reports from Houston
ESPN will offer extensive multimedia coverage of the NCAA Men’s Final Four, including in-depth analysis, news, interviews and highlights, including:
- Daily SportsCenter and ESPNEWS reports Friday, April 1, to Monday, April 4, two day of game editions of College GameDay and a three-hour College Basketball SportsCenter Special;
- Extensive analysis, several special shows and a marathon of memorable regular-season games;
- Extensive content on ESPN.com, including commentary and analysis, live chats and ESPN.com’s SportsNation polls, plus content via ESPN Mobile Properties.
- Extensive daylong analysis, previews and interviews Saturday and Monday on ESPN Radio.
ESPN’s season-long men’s college basketball studio host Rece Davis and analysts Digger Phelps and Hubert Davis will provide primary studio analysis from ESPN’s Bristol headquarters. Analysts Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas, who works with Rece Davis, Phelps and Hubert Davis on College GameDay, will provide on-site analysis from Houston. ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and reporter Mark Schwarz will cover breaking news and updates from Houston.
Daily SportsCenter segments will begin Friday, April 1 and include interviews with coaches and players, and press conference coverage. SportsCenter shows will also feature pre- and postgame analysis Saturday, April 2 and Monday, April 4. ESPN will also provide analysis between the semifinal games Saturday, April 2 and halftime of the Championship Monday, April 4.
In addition, Katz will conduct an interview with both National Championship game coaches Sunday, April 3 that will air in multiple SportsCenter editions beginning at 6 p.m. ET.
College GameDay Game Day
ESPN will televise two game day editions of College GameDay: a two-hour show Saturday, April 2 at noon previewing the National Semifinal matchups and a three-hour Championship preview Monday, April 4, at 6 p.m. (on ESPN2). Rece Davis will host both programs with analysis from Vitale, Knight, Bilas, Phelps and Hubert Davis. Katz and Schwarz will provide reports on Monday’s College GameDay.
College Basketball SportsCenter Special
ESPN will televise a two-hour College Basketball SportsCenter Special leading up to the National Semifinal games Saturday, April 2, at 4 p.m. Host Rece Davis and analysts Phelps, Hubert Davis, Vitale and Bilas will update storylines and provide an in-depth look at each matchup with keys to the game, players to watch and more.
- A special live The Experts: College Basketball Championship Edition Monday, April 4, at 1 p.m. will include a panel of Adrian Branch, Jimmy Dykes, Sean Farnham, Dino Gaudio, Miles Simon and Bob Valvano discussing the National Semifinal matchups and previewing the National Championship.
- Analysts Fran Fraschilla, Mark Gottfried and Gaudio will take viewers behind the scenes and into the film room with the one-hour ESPNU Film Room: Preparing for the Championship. The show will simulate how coaching staffs of the Final Four teams prepare for the games. The former coaches bring fans into the world of preparing for a big game, discussing defending the back screen, stopping the motion offense, dealing with pressures and more. The show will air Wednesday, March 30, at 10 p.m.; Thursday, March 31, at 1 a.m.; Friday, April 1, at 4 p.m. and midnight; and Saturday, April 2, at 11 a.m.
- A special edition of SportsCenterU Friday, April 1, at 2:30 p.m. will feature live coverage of the coaches’ press conferences.
- A unique Sports Science: College Basketball Special will take viewers inside the science of basketball, exploring the science of distraction and the ability for last-second “miracles” to be mathematical. The 30-minute program will also revisit last year’s National Championship game between Butler and Duke and explore the unique skills of women’s basketball stars Maya Moore (Connecticut) and Brittney Griner (Baylor). The show will air Wednesday, March 30, at 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 3, at 1:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; and Monday, April 4, at 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
- A special two-hour College Basketball Live: National Championship Special on Monday, April 4, at 5 p.m. will feature host Lowell Galindo and analysts Gaudio, Simon, Branch, Farnham, Dykes and Valvano discussing the title game.
- ESPNU will offer encore presentations of top regular-season games involving the Final Four teams beginning Thursday, March 31, at 2 a.m. with Butler vs. Florida State followed by VCU vs. UCLA at 4 a.m. ESPNU will also provide a marathon on Saturday, April 2 beginning at 1 a.m. (Connecticut vs. Kentucky at 1 a.m., Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky at 2:30 a.m., Connecticut vs. Texas at 4 a.m. and Kentucky vs. Connecticut at 6 a.m.) and another featuring the National Championship game on Monday, April 4, also starting at 1 a.m.
- Vitale and Bilas providing analysis of all Final Four matchups;
- ESPN.com video clips featuring highlights, commentary and more;
- Expert picks on the National Semifinal and Championship games;
- Team breakdowns;
- SportsNation polls and live chats with ESPN experts and sports personalities;
- ESPN Mobile will cover the Final Four with special editorial sections on the industry-leading mobile Web sports site, on-demand video content and analysis via the ESPN Bracket Bound app, ESPN Alerts to deliver up-to-the-minute Final Four scores and news including close game and upset alerts, live GameCast, and more.
ESPN Radio will present in-depth previews and postgame analysis throughout Saturday, April 2, on Dari & Mel (8 a.m.-Noon), SportsCenter Saturday (12-3 p.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight), and on Monday, April 4, on the Brian Kenny Show (8-10 p.m.) and SportsCenter Tonight (10 p.m.-midnight). Other regularly scheduled ESPN Radio programming and SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes will present interviews with newsmakers and ESPN college basketball analysts, as well as any breaking news from Houston.
And expect links later on.