ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Valley Conference has selected the Illinois State at Southern Illinois men’s basketball game on Saturday, March 1, to complete the league’s Wildcard Weekend on ESPN2, FSN Midwest and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced today.
Illinois State, 17-7 overall and currently in second place in the league standings with a 9-4 mark, battles Southern Illinois at the SIU Arena in Carbondale, Ill., at 7:30 p.m. Central. That game will clear live on FSN Midwest and Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The contest will be preceded by the final Mercy Health Plans pre-game show -- co-hosted by Dan McLaughlin and Charlie Spoonhour -- of the 2007-08 campaign at 7 p.m.
“We began using the Wildcard process in men’s basketball during the 2004-05 campaign,” said MVC Commissioner Elgin. “Head coach Tim Jankovich has done a tremendous job at Illinois State in his first season, and the Wildcard Weekend concept enables us to add a much-deserved appearance for the Redbirds.”
Using the Wildcard Weekend model, the league through its television partners ESPN, FSN Midwest, Fox College Sports and Comcast SportsNet Chicago 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.
The Wildcard Weekend schedule of games begins on Friday, February 29, when the Illinois State women travel to the Omaha Civic Auditorium to meet Creighton in a 7:30 p.m. tilt that will clear live on FSN Midwest and Fox College Sports and on tape-delay at 1 a.m. Central on March 1 on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
On March 1, 15th-ranked Drake -- 22-1 overall, winner of 21-straight games and atop the MVC men’s basketball standings with a 13-0 record -- will entertain Wichita State at the Drake Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa, in an ESPN2 telecast at 1 p.m. Central. 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 Wildcard Weekend concludes with the Redbird women traveling to Drake on Sunday, March 2, at 2:30 p.m. Central. The game will clear live on FSN Midwest and Fox College Sports and on tape-delay at 1 a.m. Central on March 3 on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
In addition to the two Wildcard Weekend women’s basketball games on FSN Midwest, Fox College Sports and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ESPNU will air a 1 p.m. Central telecast of the Indiana State at Creighton women’s basketball tilt on Sunday, March 2.