ST. LOUIS -- ESPN has notified the Missouri Valley Conference of its selection of the Wichita State at 15th-ranked Drake men’s basketball game for air on ESPN2 on Saturday, March 1, at 1 p.m. Central, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced today.
On March 1, Drake -- 21-1 overall, winner of 20-straight games and atop the MVC men’s basketball standings with a 12-0 record -- will entertain Wichita State at the Drake Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa. This contest will mark the first time that an ESPN2 telecast of a men’s basketball game has originated from the Drake Knapp Center.
The selection of this telecast for ESPN2 marks the first time that ESPN has used a "Wildcard Weekend" process to determine one of its MVC men’s basketball telecasts.
"We began using the Wildcard selection process in men’s basketball during the 2004-05 campaign," said MVC Commissioner Elgin. "And in our previous three efforts, we were able to televise the clinching contest for our regular-season champions."
Using the Wildcard Weekend model, the league through its television partners ESPN, FSN Midwest, Fox College Sports and Comcast SportsNet Chicago annually reserves clearance windows for February and March dates in the fall of each academic year and waits until the midpoint of both the men’s and women’s basketball seasons to determine its final regular-season telecasts for both genders.
Launched Oct. 1, 1993, ESPN2 currently televises a minimum of four league men’s basketball games and MVC appearances in the annual O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters series, as part of the league’s five-year contract with ESPN that began with the 2006-07 season.
Now in more than 96 million households, ESPN2 reached 50, 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80 million homes faster than any network previously.