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Eight Preseason Top 25-Ranked Teams on Schedule
ESPN’s 2016 Big Monday men’s college basketball schedule – a weekly doubleheader featuring teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Big 12 – will begin January 4 and conclude on February 29. The Monday night games showcase the ACC in the 7 p.m. ET window, followed by the Big 12 at 9 p.m. This season marks the 20th year the Big 12 has had a presence on Big Monday, dating back to the league’s inception in 1996-97. The 2016 schedule is the third straight year the ACC is part of the series.
The schedule includes three of the top 10 classes in ESPN’s RecruitingNation Class Rankings: No. 1 Duke; No. 7 Kansas, No. 8 Syracuse, No. 11 Florida State, No. 13 Louisville and No. 15 Texas.
The Big Monday doubleheader schedule features eight ranked teams, and at least one team in each game, from the ESPN.com’s revised too-early top 25. Highlights:
- North Carolina enters the season ranked No. 2 and has three appearances on Big Monday: at Florida State on January 4, at Louisville on February 1 and home against Syracuse on February 29.
- Duke – fresh off its national title and ranked preseason No. 6 – is on the schedule three times: at home vs. Syracuse on January 18, on the road vs. Miami on January 25 and at home against Louisville on February 8.
- The Blue Devils add the ESPN 100 No. 3 incoming recruit in small forward Brandon Ingram, in addition to top 30 recruits in No. 11 Chase Jeter (center), No. 17 Derryck Thornton (point guard) and No. 24 Luke Kennard (shooting guard).
- Virginia is also scheduled twice – at home against NC State on February 15 and the following week at Miami.
- Florida State has two incoming recruits on the ESPN 100 top 30 list in No. 14 Dwayne Bacon (shooting guard) and No. 28 Malik Beasley (shooting guard), while Syracuse has No. 23 Malachi Richardson (shooting guard).
- Schedule opens with three straight matchups among teams in the top 10 of the ESPN.com preseason poll – No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 5 Kansas (Jan. 4), Oklahoma at No. 7 Iowa State (Jan. 18) and Kansas at Iowa State (Jan. 25).
- Another potential top-25 matchup features Iowa State at No. 20 West Virginia on February 27.
- The Big Monday schedule includes four appearances by Kansas, and three each by Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas.
- Texas – led by first-year head coach Shaka Smart – is on the road in consecutive weeks facing No. 17 Baylor on February 1 and at Oklahoma on February 8.
- Additional matchups for Kansas include against Oklahoma State on February 15 and at Texas on February 29.
- Kansas adds the No. 7 incoming recruit in the ESPN 100 in power forward Cheick Diallo, as well as No. 21 Carlton Bragg (power forward).
Big Monday takes a one week hiatus when ESPN showcases the College Football National Championship game on January 11.
Overall, ESPN networks will offer more than 125 games from each conference during the 2015-16 season. Full conference schedules will be announced at a later date. ESPN’s 36th season – in 2014-15 – was its’ second most-viewed to date.
All telecasts will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
ESPN’s Big Monday Schedule (subject to change)
|January 4||7 p.m.||No. 2 North Carolina at Florida State||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 5 Kansas||ESPN|
|January 18||7 p.m.||Syracuse at No. 6 Duke||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 7 Iowa State||ESPN|
|January 25||7 p.m.||No. 6 Duke at Miami||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 5 Kansas at No. 7 Iowa State||ESPN|
|February 1||7 p.m.||No. 2 North Carolina at Louisville||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||Texas at No. 17 Baylor||ESPN|
|February 8||7 p.m.||Louisville at No. 6 Duke||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||Texas at No. 8 Oklahoma||ESPN|
|February 15||7 p.m.||NC State at No. 4 Virginia||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||Oklahoma State at No. 5 Kansas||ESPN|
|February 22||7 p.m.||No. 4 Virginia at Miami||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 7 Iowa State at No. 20 West Virginia||ESPN|
|February 29||7 p.m.||Syracuse at No. 2 North Carolina||ESPN|
|9 p.m.||No. 5 Kansas at Texas||ESPN|