Complete coverage of NCAA Tournament through broadband streaming service; ESPN Player to bring fans across UK and Europe live and on-demand tournament action
- 12 photos of NCAA College Basketball action available HERE
- ESPN Player charity basketball game on Friday, March 21 to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and celebrate university basketball on both sides of the Atlantic. Players 16 and older can sign up individually, or with friends, by emailing [email protected].
ESPNPlayer.com will bring UK and European viewers live and on-demand coverage of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka March Madnesss®) as the top 68 college teams in the US compete for supremacy. Available online, via iPad and through Samsung and LG smart TVs, ESPN Player’s coverage begins on Tuesday 18 March and runs through five rounds to the National Championship game on Monday 7 April as the eyes of the basketball world focus on the knock-out tournament famed for its upsets, excitement and drama.
The build-up to March Madness® begins with Championship Week in the first two weeks of March. ESPNPlayer.com is bringing subscribers live coverage of games from the NCAA’s most competitive conference championships as teams compete to secure one of 31 automatic places in the tournament. The remaining 37 teams are chosen “at large” – selected by a committee based on their regular-season performance.
UK-native Gabriel Olesani is part of a University of Iowa Hawkeyes team currently projected to be a 6th seed in the tournament, while fellow Londoner Robert Gilchrist and his Florida State University Seminoles are “on the bubble” and fighting to earn a spot in the tournament. Luke Nelson, who is originally from Worthing, led UC Irvine in scoring during the regular season – they enter the Big West Championship with the best record in the conference, as they aim to qualify for March Madness®.
Once the teams are confirmed, basketball fans across the US and around the world will begin predicting how the tournament will unfold by filling out their brackets. The notoriously difficult process sees millions of fans log their guesses online into ESPN’s Tournament Challenge bracket game – which received more than 8.15 million entries in 2013, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
NCAA TOURNAMENT LIVE ON ESPNPLAYER.COM
ESPN Player will stream live coverage of every game throughout March Madness® to basketball fans in the UK and across Europe. ESPN’s legendary college basketball commentator Dick Vitale will join Jay Bilas, Dan Shulman to call the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and Championship Game
ESPN Player’s extensive coverage of the NCAA Tournament includes:
- 18 March – First Round: four “play-in” games as eight teams compete for four spaces in the final 64.
- 20-23 March – Second Round and Third Round: Live back-to-back basketball across four consecutive days – a total of 48 games. ESPN Player will provide flexible game coverage from each of the four tournament regions – East, West, Midwest and South – and fans will be able to watch any single game they choose, both live and on-demand.
- 27-30 March – Regional Semifinals: The remain Sweet Sixteen field compete and are narrowed to the Elite Eight and a coveted spot in the celebrated Final Four.
- 5 April – The Final Four National Semifinals: Live from the AT&T Stadium in Texas the final four teams in the tournament compete for a spot in the Championship Game.
- 7 April – NCAA National Championship Game: The final two teams in the country play for a place in history.
This year’s NCAA Tournament follows on from a thrilling regular season which has seen impressive performances from teams such as first-ranked Florida, second-ranked Witchita State (undefeated at 31-0) and Arizona, as well as traditional powerhouse schools Duke, Syracuse, Kansas and Villanova. Each year highly seeded colleges are under pressure to avoid a surprise defeat to low-ranked teams hoping to make a “Cinderella” run. Last year, Wichita State (a low-ranked and ninth-seeded team in the 2013 tournament) made it all the way to the Final Four, becoming the first team seeded so low to progress so far in more than 30 years. They were beaten by Louisville, who went on to become champions for the third time in their history.
The 2013/14 season has been dubbed ‘The Year of the Freshman’ due to a group of highly talented players all in their first year in the NCAA. The likes of Kansas stars Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, and Duke’s Jabari Parker are all expected to be top-five picks in this year’s NBA Draft after just one season in college.