The season may have officially gotten underway last Friday, but for most fans, the unofficial start of every college basketball season has become the ESPN tip-off marathon.
The annual spectacle that leaves me unaware of what day it is for the rest of the work week kicks off Monday night at 7 p.m. and should last until the final minutes of Tuesday. If real world duties like family, work or sanity are going to keep you watching from every dribble this year, here are the 10 best games of this year's event to pick and choose from.
1. No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 5 Kansas (Tuesday - 9:30 p.m./ESPN)
Since its inception, the Champion's Classic has become the tip-off marathon's main event, and this year's final act is no different. It's a battle of top five teams loaded with future NBA players, and the first real threat to Kentucky's dream of an undefeated season ... which, again, isn't going to happen.
2. No. 4 Duke vs. No. 19 Michigan State (Tuesday - 7 p.m./ESPN)
The undercard of the event will feature a Duke team that is also receiving some No. 1 votes this week, and a Michigan State squad that is supposed to be rebuilding ... at least as much as Tom Izzo ever "rebuilds."
3. No. 11 Wichita State vs. Memphis (Tuesday - 2 p.m./ESPN)
The Shockers have started the 2014-15 with another pretty lofty national ranking, and they'll be putting their nation's best regular season winning streak on the line against Josh Pastner and the Tigers inside the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
More College Hoops
4 best things about the Kansas State block Vine
College basketball season opened with a game-winning tip-dunk at the buzzer and a top-25 team upset by Holy Cross, but it's still Brandon Bolden's big block that has everyone talking.
More College Hoops
4. No. 22 SMU at No. 13 Gonzaga (Monday - 11 p.m./ESPN2)
The game loses a little bit of intrigue with Emmanuel Mudiay's college career being over before it ever got started, but not much. The Mustangs are still a legitimate top 25 team, and Gonzaga has worked its way back into the conversation of being a Final Four threat after something of a down year for the program.
5. Miami at No. 8 Florida (Monday - 7 p.m./ESPNU)
The two in-state rivals will be meeting for the first time since the 2009 NIT, and for the first time in the regular season since 2005.
6. No. 25 Utah at No. 16 San Diego State (Tuesday - 4 p.m./ESPN)
SDSU has emerged to fill the role of the unexpected West Coast power that Utah laid claim to in the '90s and early 2000s. Now, the Utes feel like they're in a position to take back that title, which makes this early season clash even more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
Marquette is looking to bounce back after a year which saw them both lose their head coach and miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. Some expect Ohio State to take a step back without Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross, but offensive talents likeShannon Scott, Sam Thompson and D'Angelo Russell ensure that they'll still be awfully fun to watch. Opening the season by dropping 92 on UMass Lowell was a solid start.
8. Auburn at Colorado (Tuesday - 1 a.m./ESPN2)
Bruce Pearl after 1 a.m. Justification over.
Also, Josh Scott.
Okay, now justification over.
9. Toledo at No. 15 VCU (Tuesday - 6 p.m./ESPNU)
VCU could have played with just about any team in the NCAA Tournament last season, a fact which is true again in 2015 thanks to the return of Treveon Graham, Briante Weber, Melvin Johnson and Jordan Burgess. Toledo also has a lot of guys coming back who can put the ball in the basket with marked consistency. The only issue is that they don't have a great deal of size
10. Manhattan at UMass (Tuesday - 11 a.m./ESPN2)
A game featuring two of the offseason's top storylines -- Steve Masiello returning to Manhattan after not getting the USF job because he'd lied about graduating from college, and UMass guard Derrick Gordon becoming the first openly gay player in college basketball. The announcing crew will have plenty to talk about during this 11 a.m. clash.
Here's the complete schedule for the event:
|Mon, Nov 17||7 p.m.||Baylor aKentucky women||ESPN2|
|Miami at Florida||ESPNU|
|9 p.m.||Connecticut at Stanford women||ESPN2|
|11 p.m.||SMU at Gonzaga||ESPN2|
|Legends Classic: Detroit at Oregon||ESPNU|
|Tue, Nov 18||1 a.m.||Auburn at Colorado||ESPN2|
|3 a.m.||New Mexico State at Saint Mary's||ESPN2|
|5 a.m.||High Point at Hawaii||ESPN2|
|7 a.m.||Iona at Wofford||ESPN2|
|9 a.m.||Northern Iowa at Stephen F. Austin||ESPN2|
|11 a.m.||Manhattan at UMass||ESPN2|
|Noon||Baylor at South Carolina||ESPN|
|2 p.m.||Wichita State vs. Memphis (Sioux Falls, S.D.)||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Utah at San Diego State||ESPN|
|6 p.m.||College GameDay (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)||ESPN|
|Legends Classic: Toledo at VCU||ESPNU|
|7 p.m.||State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): Michigan State vs. Duke||ESPN|
|7:30 p.m.||Marquette at Ohio State||ESPN2|
|9:30 p.m.||State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): Kansas vs. Kentucky||ESPN|
|9:30 p.m.||Texas Tech at LSU||ESPN2|
For the next 29 hours, there is going to be live college hoops on the television any time you turn it on. Enjoy the festivities.