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For the eighth-straight regular season, the No. 1 vs. No. 2 teams in the nation will square off – this season top-ranked UConn visits No. 2 South Carolina in a Big Monday matchup on February 8, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Dave O’Brien, analyst Doris Burke and reporter Maria Taylor will have the call of the game.
Last season, South Carolina was the No. 1-ranked team when the Gamecocks visited No. 2 UConn in a February 9 Big Monday tilt, resulting in the Huskies regaining the top ranking with a 87-62 victory.
Monday’s game marks the 56th meeting between the Associated Press No. 1 vs. 2 with the top-ranked team owning a 34-21 all-time record vs. No. 2. A No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup has taken place at least once every regular season since 2008-09.
- Pending wins in games before Monday, elements highlighting UConn’s 58-game win streak and South Carolina’s 45-game home win streak.
- Explore the Olympic connection between head coaches Geno Auriemma (UConn) and Dawn Staley (South Carolina).
- SportsCenter anchor Zubin Mehenti will be live onsite providing segments during the 6 p.m. edition, anchored by Lindsay Czarniak in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios.
- Rebecca Lobo visits the UConn campus and spends time with UConn senior Breanna Stewart to discuss this landmark season for her and the Huskies, with the featured segment running during the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter.
- Also from the Bristol studios, anchor Doug Kezirian, along with analysts Kara Lawson and Lobo, will provide game analysis and breakdown.
- SEC Network’s The Paul Finebaum Show (3-7 p.m.) will be live from the floor of Colonial Life Arena prior to the game; in-person guests include several South Carolina head coaches in Staley (women’s), Frank Martin (men’s), Will Muschamp (football) and Steve Spurrier (former football).
- Following the game live from the arena floor, Taylor will anchor SEC Network’s SEC Now (9-10 p.m.) with former coaches and current analysts Andy Landers and Nell Fortner.
- Columnist Mechelle Voepel will be onsite from Columbia, S.C., providing live coverage and postgame content.
- Voepel will profile South Carolina seniors Tiffany Mitchell and Khadijah Sessions and how they are preparing for the biggest home game of their careers.
- Bracketologist Charlie Creme will profile Stewart, who late last year revisited her childhood home, the place she learned to dribble between her legs, developed her ball-handling skills and really fell in love with the game. “Growing Up Stewie” also features original video from espnW.
- Voepel will look back at the longstanding history between Staley and Auriemma, who first faced each other in the 1990s, when Staley’s Virginia Cavs met the Huskies in the Final Four. The piece will also feature a video segment of the two coaches – who work side-by-side on the USA Basketball staff.
- Once the game tips, WNBA player and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwumike will be answering questions in an hour-long Twitter Q&A. Follow along at #HoopsWithChiney.