Ten Things To Watch During ESPN's 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon

In case you forgot, ESPN's big 24-hour marathon of college hoops marathon begins after Monday Night Football this evening. In fact, MNF this week, with Ravens at Browns, is a perfect opportunity to catch a nap before the basketball begins. (Check out the full schedule of games here.) It's probably unrealistic to ask you to sit and watch 24 hours straight, so here are five things I'll be trying to catch in bits and pieces throughout the night and day. (All times ET.)
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↵The Contender, Part 1. (8:00 p.m.) Gonzaga takes a shot at ↵Michigan State. It's an early test for Raymar Morgan, who has been ↵dealing with an ankle injury. His health is critical to the Spartans. ↵Morgan played in the opener with Delvon Roe and Chris Allen, who were ↵also dealing with ailments, so it would appear the Spartans will be at ↵full strength. ↵

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↵The Contender, Part 2. (10:00 p.m.) Speaking of No. 1 teams, ↵Kansas takes on Memphis. Have the Jayhawks put all the off-the-court ↵nonsense behind them? A few early blowouts seem to say yes, but Memphis ↵will be their first legitimate foe. Also interesting to see how much ↵Josh Pastner's Memphis team resembles John Calipari's squads. Also, a ↵first national look at Xavier Henry (pictured right) in a Jayhawks uni. ↵

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↵Someone Other Than Memphis To Win C-USA? (2 p.m.) Tulsa will ↵be the team people see as a challenge to the Tigers' dominant run this ↵season. The Golden Hurricane is coming off back-to-back 25-win seasons, ↵led by the inside-outside combo of guard Ben Uzoh and center Jerome ↵Jordan. This game should be a cakewalk, but another team you won't get ↵a chance to see much of this season that's worth researching. Isiah Thomas is clearly a fan of their work. ↵

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↵Your Move, Hoyas. (4 p.m.) Say this about the years leading ↵up to last season for Georgetown: They won games. In one case, they ↵even made a Final Four. But it was bland, and last season they combined ↵bland with bad, winning just 16 games and going 7-11 in the rugged Big ↵East. Big man Greg Monroe surprised many and returned to school, and he ↵has support from some talented players like Austin Freeman and Chris ↵Wright on the outside. Starting strong and racking up some wins in ↵non-conference play is critical to re-establish some confidence. ↵

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↵Binghamton. (5:30 p.m.) I'll check in for two seconds, just ↵to see the pure chaos. Will fans be asked to play? OK, if you really ↵wanted a reason to watch, it'll be to see how the heck Pitt is going to ↵replace all that talent that exited last season after nearly making the ↵Final Four. ↵

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↵Rotnei Clarke. (7:30 p.m.) He dropped 51 -- 51! -- in ↵a game against Alcorn State already this season. Something tells me ↵Louisville will provide a slightly tougher test for Clarke and ↵Arkansas, but if he can score in bunches against the Cards, that ↵51-point night will be more than just beating up on Little Sisters of ↵the Poor. ↵

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↵Completed/in-progress action is after the jump with linkage that will be updated throughout the day. ↵

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↵Who Steps Up For UCLA? (12 a.m.) The pillars of the Final Four runs are gone and now Ben Howland must start over. The returning leading scorers are Nikola Dragovic and Michael Roll, but will either guy prove to be a marquee player, or will UCLA finally yield to the likes of Washington and Cal out in the Pac-10? A Dragovic/Roll-led club certainly doesn't inspire fear on the national level like the Collison/Love/Shipp/Holiday/Aboya/etc. years. UPDATE: UCLA lost in double overtime to Cal State Fullerton, so ... yeah, so much for a big step-up game. ↵

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↵A Darkhorse Out West: San Diego State. (2 a.m.) This is a DVR special with the 2 a.m. ET start, but San Diego State is worth a look. They closed strong last season and have a ton of talent returning under Steve Fisher's direction. They're the SN preseason favorite in the Mountain West and while their opposition -- Saint Mary's -- lost some of its luster from last season, it's a rare opportunity to see the Aztecs. UPDATE: Saint Mary's looked just fine without Patty Mills, thanks. They rolled past SDSU, 80-58. ↵

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↵How Far Is Clemson From North Carolina and Duke? (10 a.m.) If you grant the premise that Duke and UNC are clearly the top two teams in the ACC, then the search begins for No. 3 in the bunch. Is it Clemson? Trevor Booker figures to be in the mix for All-ACC honors, and Demontez Stitt will pick up a lot of the backcourt slack, but beyond that ... well, it starts to feel more like Clemson is a distant third than a team nipping at the heels of the Heels and Blue Devils. UPDATE: Clemson wins easily. ↵

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↵Can Siena Dance Again? (Noon) This is one of those "do your ↵homework" games for the NCAA Tournament. Take a moment to get a look at ↵Siena, who should be opposite some big brand name in March and vying ↵for an upset. They actually led top-seeded Louisville with seven ↵minutes remaining in the second round, but the Cards rallied to avoid ↵the upset. Do not sleep on Siena. ↵

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↵BONUS: Tonight, before this whole marathon begins, try to track this game down -- Kentucky vs. Miami (OH). It's John Wall's debut. Check your local FOX Sports affiliates for that one.UPDATE: Where were you when John Wall won his first game at Kentucky? Watch it here. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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