BIG EAST Announces 2011-12 Men's Basketball Schedule

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -  The BIG EAST men's basketball conference schedule has had two notable characteristics that have become the norm in recent years - all 144 league games televised and more than half on national television.  For the upcoming campaign, however, after a season when the BIG EAST placed a record 11 teams in the NCAA Championship and Connecticut won the national title, an incredible 91 percent of all conference games in 2011-12 will include a team that played in the 2011 NCAA tourney.
On the national television slate, ESPN & ESPN2 will carry 45 conference games.  At least 25 league games will be televised on ESPNU, which reaches more than 73 million homes.  CBS Sports has five BIG EAST contests and four non-league games.  ESPN will continue to televise The BIG EAST Championship presented by American Eagle Outfitters from Madison Square Garden in New York.  The dates for the 2012 event are March 6-10.  It will be the 30th BIG EAST tournament at MSG.
At least 75 of the 144 regular-season BIG EAST games will be on national television.  Sixty-seven of the 144 will match two teams that played in the NCAA Championship.  Fifty-six of the 67 will be on national television.  Each of the BIG EAST's 16 teams will make at least three national television appearances in conference games.  The remaining conference games will be produced by ESPN Regional for the BIG EAST Network or carried on
It is the fifth consecutive season that all 144 league games will be televised.   
The league also announced its schedule of non-conference games which will be televised on national networks. At least 40 intersectional games will receive national exposure.
"Last year's historic success proved once again that the BIG EAST Conference continues to be among the most competitive conferences in the country from top to bottom," said BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinatto. "With a record 11 teams earning their way into last year's NCAA Championship, our coaches and players reaffirmed the fact that BIG EAST basketball and excellence are synonymous.  Our schools continue to take great advantage of the unparalleled media exposure they are afforded annually from both ESPN and CBS Sports - which is one of the reasons why we are confident that the 2011-12 season will be as exciting as any in our history."
The BIG EAST has always enjoyed a leadership position in college sports television. Twelve BIG EAST teams reside in the top 35 media markets in the country.
ESPN and the BIG EAST again will partner in the network's Big Monday format. The league also will make regular appearances on ESPN and ESPN2 on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  This season, there are conference games on every day of the week. 
In addition, the BIG EAST and ESPN Regional Television will carry the BIG EAST Network Game of the Week on Saturdays and Sundays. The BIG EAST Network Game of the Week package will be available to nearly 40 percent of the nation in approximately 43 million households. 
Some of the highlights of the 2011-12 schedule include:
Big Monday - The BIG EAST schedule on ESPN's Big Monday includes eight games over seven weeks.  The series starts with a doubleheader on Jan. 16, the Martin Luther King Day holiday.  Louisville plays at Marquette at 3:30 p.m. ET and Pittsburgh plays at Syracuse at 7:30 p.m.  Every team that appears on Big Monday this season played in the NCAA Championship last March.  Cincinnati will host a Big Monday for the first time.  The Bearcats will play Syracuse at Fifth Third Arena on Jan. 23.  All games on the Big Monday schedule also will be available on  Prior to the official Big Monday schedule, West Virginia will play at Connecticut on ESPN2 on Monday, Jan. 9.  Four other conference games will be shown on Mondays on ESPNU.
Wednesdays - Like last year, ESPN or ESPN2 will show 10 Wednesday games involving BIG EAST teams during the 10-week conference season. The Wednesday schedule begins Dec. 28 with Georgetown at Louisville on ESPN2. Thirteen different BIG EAST teams will be featured on the Wednesday games. 
Saturdays - ESPN or ESPN2 will telecast 13 BIG EAST games on Saturdays during the conference season. The Saturday schedule includes a doubleheader on the final day of the regular season, March 3, when Pittsburgh visits Connecticut and Cincinnati plays at Villanova on ESPN2.  The BIG EAST Network Game of the Week package continues on Saturdays and Sundays. 
Sundays - ESPN or ESPN2 will carry four league games on Sundays, the most ever.  On Feb. 5, Villanova visits Pittsburgh.  St. John's travels to Georgetown on Feb. 12.  On Feb. 19, ESPN has a doubleheader with Syracuse at Rutgers on ESPN and USF at Pittsburgh on ESPN2.
CBS Sports -- The nine-game schedule on CBS Sports features nine different BIG EAST squads.  The first of five conference games will be Marquette at Notre Dame on Feb. 4.  On March 3, the final day of the regular season, Louisville plays at Syracuse.  Louisville will make the first two BIG EAST appearances on CBS Sports when the Cardinals host Memphis Dec. 17 and play at Kentucky Dec. 31. The other non-league games are Connecticut at Tennessee on Jan. 21 and UCLA at St. John's on Feb. 18.  The BIG EAST and CBS Sports have been formal television partners since 1983-84, the longest relationship of any conference and national broadcast network.
ESPN College GameDay - The BIG EAST will be the only conference scheduled to host ESPN's signature College GameDay series at two sites.  On Jan. 21 in Pittsburgh, the Petersen Events Center will host the GameDay crew and the Panthers' playing Louisville.  On Feb. 25, Connecticut will be the host to ESPN and Syracuse at Gampel Pavilion.
ESPN Rivalry Week - The BIG EAST again will own the most appearances on the network's Rivalry Week. Nine BIG EAST games will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  The week begins on Feb. 6, with Connecticut at Louisville in a Big Monday battle.  Two nights later, Georgetown and Syracuse renew what is arguably the BIG EAST's most storied rivalry in the Carrier Dome on ESPN2.
Holiday Week - The BIG EAST league schedule opens Dec. 27 with two games.  Pittsburgh, the 2010-11 BIG EAST regular-season champion, plays at Notre Dame on ESPN2.  Providence, under Ed Cooley, the league's only new head coach this season, plays at St. John's.  On Dec. 29, ESPN2 has a pair of BIG EAST clubs playing at home against non-conference opponents.  Rutgers hosts Florida and Marquette meets Vanderbilt.  ESPNU also has a non-conference battle that evening.  It will televise Cincinnati's home contest against Oklahoma.  Louisville plays at Kentucky on CBS Sports on Dec. 31.  Four conference games will be played on New Year's Day, including Villanova at Marquette on ESPNU.
Jimmy V Classic -  The BIG EAST will participate in both games of this year's Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 6 at Madison Square Garden. ESPN will televise Villanova versus Missouri followed by Marquette against Washington.
SEC-BIG EAST Challenge - The SEC-BIG EAST Challenge, which was previously announced, will match 12 teams from each conference over three nights, Dec. 1-3.  ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will provide exclusive coverage.  
NBA All-Star Weekend Game - A BIG EAST game has become an ESPN staple on the Friday night of the NBA All-Star Weekend.  This season, Marquette will play at West Virginia on Feb. 24.
The and BIG EAST Network local telecast schedules will be announced in the near future.

Tuesday, Dec. 27
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame
7 p.m.
Providence at St. John's
Wednesday, Dec. 28
Georgetown at Louisville
7 p.m.
Connecticut at USF
Villanova at West Virginia
Seton Hall at Syracuse
Friday, Dec. 30
West Virginia at Seton Hall
9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 31
Providence at Georgetown
2 p.m.
St. John's at Connecticut
Sunday, Jan. 1
Villanova at Marquette
1 p.m.
Rutgers at USF
Syracuse at DePaul
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Tuesday, Jan. 3
Louisville at St. John's
7 p.m.
Connecticut at Seton Hall
Wednesday, Jan. 4
Marquette at Georgetown
7 p.m.
Notre Dame at Cincinnati
West Virginia at Rutgers
Syracuse at Providence
Thursday, Jan. 5
Pittsburgh at DePaul
7 p.m.
USF at Villanova
Saturday, Jan. 7
Notre Dame at Louisville
4 p.m.
Georgetown at West Virginia
St. John's at Cincinnati
Marquette at Syracuse
Seton Hall at Providence
Connecticut at Rutgers
Sunday, Jan. 8
DePaul at Villanova
Monday, Jan. 9
West Virginia at Connecticut
7 p.m.
Cincinnati at Georgetown
9 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 10
Louisville at Providence
7 p.m.
USF at Notre Dame
DePaul at Seton Hall
Wednesday, Jan. 11
St. John's at Marquette
7 p.m.
Syracuse at Villanova
7 p.m.
Rutgers at Pittsburgh
Friday, Jan. 13
Seton Hall at USF
Saturday, Jan. 14
Connecticut at Notre Dame
11 a.m.
Pittsburgh at Marquette
2 p.m.
Villanova at Cincinnati
Rutgers at West Virginia
DePaul at Louisville
Providence at Syracuse
Sunday, Jan. 15
Georgetown at St. John's
Monday, Jan. 16
Louisville at Marquette
3:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Syracuse
7:30 p.m.
Notre Dame at Rutgers
9 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 17
Georgetown at DePaul
7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 18
Cincinnati at Connecticut
7 p.m.
Seton Hall at Villanova
7 p.m.
St. John's at USF
Saturday, Jan. 21
Villanova at St. John's
1 p.m.
Cincinnati at West Virginia
3 p.m.
Syracuse at Notre Dame
6 p.m.
Louisville at Pittsburgh
9 p.m.
Rutgers at Georgetown
Marquette at Providence
Sunday, Jan. 22
USF at DePaul
Monday, Jan. 23
Syracuse at Cincinnati
7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 24
USF at Marquette
Wednesday, Jan. 25