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ESPN Announces 2009 Men's Final Four Coverage

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:28 PM, under ,

Athens, GA (Apr 1, 2009) -ESPN may not have broadcast rights for the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship...yet. But they do have a full plate of coverage for the 2009 Final Four from Ford Field in Detroit. So much information, so little time.

ESPN will offer extensive multimedia coverage of the NCAA Men’s Final Four including in-depth analysis, news, interviews and highlights across many ESPN platforms as well as live telecasts of all three Final Four matchups on ESPN International. Highlights include:

* ESPN: Daily SportsCenter reports Friday, April 3 to Monday, April 6 and two episodes of College GameDay, including a 90-minute pre-Championship show at 7:30 p.m. ET. Select SportsCenter, College GameDay and ESPNEWS segments will originate from inside Detroit’s Ford Field, site of the Final Four. A SportsCenter Sunday Conversation (11 p.m. show) by senior writer Andy Katz with both National Championship game coaches.

* ESPNEWS: Daily segments from on-site reporters and coverage of news conferences.

* ESPN International: Live telecasts of all three Final Four matchups to 137 countries and territories.

* ESPNU: In-depth analysis and on-site reports during SportsCenterU, coverage of press conferences and two blocks of programming featuring replays of regular-season games involving teams in the Championship game.

* Commentary and analysis, live chats, SportsNation polls, and on-site coverage from reporters plus content via ESPN Mobile Properties.

* ESPN Radio: Extensive Final Four news, analysis and interviews Friday through Monday.

* ESPN Classic: A marathon of memorable 2009 NCAA Tournament games Sunday, April 12.


ESPN’s season-long men’s college basketball studio host Rece Davis and analysts Digger Phelps and Hubert Davis will provide primary studio analysis from ESPN’s headquarters. Analyst Jay Bilas, who works with Rece Davis, Phelps and Hubert Davis on College GameDay Driven by State Farm, will provide on-site analysis from Detroit with Hall of Famer Dick Vitale. College GameDay analyst and Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight will provide analysis for College GameDay and SportsCenter via satellite. Monday Night Football commentator Mike Tirico will anchor select segments from Detroit. senior writer Andy Katz and reporter Shelley Smith will cover breaking news and updates from Detroit.

Tirico, Bilas and Vitale will provide segments from the ESPN location inside Ford Field overlooking the court, including during team practice sessions Friday, April 3, post-game analysis Saturday, April 4, and pre-and post-game analysis Monday, April 6. Smith will provide reports from courtside Friday, April 3 to Monday, April 6.

In addition, ESPN will provide analysis between semifinal games Saturday, April 4 and halftime of the Championship Monday, April 6.

Two College GameDay Programs

ESPN will televise two editions of College GameDay: a one-hour episode Saturday, April 4 at noon previewing the National Semifinal matchups and a 90-minute Championship preview Monday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Rece Davis will host both programs with analysis from Vitale, Knight, Bilas, Phelps and Hubert Davis.


ESPNEWS will offer in-depth analysis and previews of the teams and matchups beginning Friday, April 3. Coverage will be highlighted by daily reports from analysts Steve Lavin, Vitale, Phelps, Hubert Davis and Bilas, and reporters Katz and Smith, live Final Four team news conferences and practice sessions Friday, and post-game news conferences Saturday and Monday.

ESPN International

ESPN International will televise the National Semifinals and Championship live to 137 countries and territories throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Israel, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. Networks include ESPN Latin America, ESPN Latin America-Caribbean, ESPN Latin America-Brazil, ESPN America-Europe, ESPN America-Middle East, ESPN Africa, ESPN Israel, ESPN New Zealand, ESPN Pacific Rim, ESPN Australia and ESPN HD-Australia.


ESPNU will provide analysis and on-site reports on SportsCenterU, and two Cram Sessions.

* SportsCenterU will feature interviews, updates, pre- and post-game analysis and live reports from Katz in Detroit Saturday, April 4 (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) following each semifinal and Monday, April 6 (6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.).

* ESPNU’s two Cram Sessions will feature encore presentations of regular-season games involving the teams in the Championship game (Monday, April 6 from 12 a.m. – 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) and the National Champion (Tuesday, April 7 from 1:30 a.m. – 6 a.m.). and ESPN Mobile Properties will offer on-site reports, features and video analysis from writers Katz, Pat Forde, Dana O'Neil and Mark Schlabach. Other highlights:

* Vitale and Bilas providing analysis of all Final Four matchups;
* video clips featuring highlights, commentary and more;
* revealing its All America team;
* Expert picks on the National Semifinal and Championship games;
* ESPN's Greg Garber taking an extensive look back at the 30th Anniversary of the historic Bird-Magic National Championship game from 1979;
* Team breakdowns;
* SportsNation polls and live chats with ESPN experts and sports personalities.

* ESPN Mobile Properties will cover the Final Four with special editorial sections on the industry-leading mobile Web sports site and ESPN MVP on Verizon wireless, on-demand video highlights and analysis via ESPN MVP and AT&T CV, and customized alerts, live gamecast and more.

ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio will offer extensive previews and reviews of the games. Details:

* NCAA Tournament Preview Special (Friday, April 3 from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.): Fred Coleman will break down the Final Four.
* NCAA Tournament Pre-Game Show (Saturday, April 4 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.): Coleman will present interviews, analysis, projections and the latest news from Detroit.
* NCAA Tournament Post-Game Show (Saturday, April 4 after second semifinal until 1 a.m.): John Seibel will review the Final Four and look ahead to Monday’s Championship.

* NCAA Tournament Pre-Game Show (Monday, April 6 from 5:50 p.m. - 9 p.m.): Doug Gottlieb will preview the game with interviews and analysis.

* NCAA Tournament Post-Game Show (Monday, April 6 after the game until 1 a.m.): Gottlieb will examine the game with guests and analysis.

ESPN Classic

ESPN Classic will provide encore presentations of at least four memorable games from this year’s Tournament Sunday, April 12 with the possibility of adding the semifinal and/or championship telecasts. The time for the marathon will be announced after the final schedule is determined. Games so far include:

Pittsburgh vs. Villanova - (Elite Eight)

Siena vs. Ohio State double overtime – (First round)

Western Kentucky vs. Gonzaga – (Second round)

Wisconsin vs. Florida State overtime – (First round)
Photograph courtesy of the ESPN Family of Networks.

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