ESPN Live from NRG Stadium in Houston for Men’s Final Four Starting Friday

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ESPN Live from NRG Stadium in Houston for Men’s Final Four Starting Friday

Two Pregame Editions of College GameDay on Saturday and Monday
Play-by-Play Veteran Sean McDonough added to ESPN International Telecast Coverage

ESPN’s extensive on-site coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four will include multiplatform studio content from a set outside NRG Stadium in Houston – the site of the semifinals and championship – and live game telecasts across ESPN’s International networks. ESPN will offer multiple, two-hour pregame editions of College GameDay Covered by State Farm for the semifinals and championship: National Semifinal preview on ESPN Saturday, April 2, at 4 p.m. ET and a Championship preview on ESPN2 Monday, April 4, at 7 p.m.

Live from Houston… College GameDay, SportsCenter, Mike & Mike and more

ESPN’s on-site presence from Houston will include daily analysis, news, reports, and interviews across multiple platforms from Friday, April 2 to Tuesday, April 5. Highlights:

  • Anchors, analysts and reporters: Rece Davis will serve as the lead host for SportsCenter and College GameDay segments from Houston.
  • College GameDay content: Both College GameDay shows will showcase feature segments.
    • Houston defensive end J.J. Watt voiced the opening segment for the College GameDay shows
    • On Phi Slama Jama – an exclusive first-look from the upcoming ESPN Films: 30 for 30 – will air during Saturday’s show
    • Former Texas Western star David Lattin, who played on the historic 1966 team and whose grandson Khadeem plays for Oklahoma, will be live on set Saturday
    • Kentucky head coach John Calipari joins the show on Saturday
    • Free Throw feature – about the importance/pressure of late game situations in the tournament, told by those who have experienced the best and worst of those moments – will during Monday’s show


  • Davis will host live segments from the set beginning Friday and running through Tuesday morning.
  • Katz will also interview the head coaches of the teams in the championship game for SportsCenter on Sunday, April 3.
  • Lindsay Czarniak will host the 6 p.m. edition on Monday, from courtside.
  • ESPN college basketball analyst Sean Farnham will be in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios on Monday and Tuesday
  • Reporters Marty Smith and Kaylee Hartung will be live from the campuses of the final two remaining teams during the title game.

ESPN Radio

  • ESPN Radio’s Dickerson & Hood co-host Jeff Dickerson will be in Houston for the show’s Saturday, April 2 (8-11 p.m.), broadcast, with co-host Jonathan Hood in Chicago.
  • Mike & Mike will air live from the House of Blues on Monday, April 4 (6-10 a.m., simulcast on ESPN2).

Final Four Games around the World
ESPN International will televise the semifinals and championship to fans in 179 countries and territories across 26 networks outside the United States.

  • New this year is Sean McDonough on play-by-play, alongside analyst Jay Bilas on the second semifinal and Dick Vitale for the first semifinal and championship.
  • Coverage in Latin America (Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America), Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, and via TSN in Canada.
  • Additionally, worldwide, ESPN Syndication has completed deals to distribute the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship to local television clients reaching tens of millions of homes in South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
  • ESPN broadband services around the world – under the ESPN Player, WatchESPN, ESPN Play and ESPN3 brands – are also providing live and on-demand coverage of some, or all, of the tournament in more than 148 countries in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Australia.

ESPNU Lineup
ESPNU will provide extensive coverage in advance of the title game on Monday, April 4:

  • The Experts show at 1 p.m. will include a panel of ESPN analysts reviewing the National Semifinals and previewing the National Championship.
  • Back-to-back 30-minute editions of Tournament Countdown: Road to the Championship will highlight the journey of the teams to the National Championship at 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
  • A special Katz Korner at 4:30 p.m. on Monday and a show following the men’s title game on Monday at 1 p.m.
  • College Basketball Live from ESPN’s Charlotte studios will air at 5:30 p.m. on Monday and 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

ESPNU Men’s Final Four Programming

Date Time (ET) Show
Mon, Apr 4 1 p.m. The Experts
Andy Katz, Jim Calhoun, Seth Greenberg, Jay Williams
  1:30 p.m. The Road to the Championship (Team 1)
Anish Shroff, Dino Gaudio
  2 p.m. The Road to the Championship (Team 2)
Anish Shroff, Dino Gaudio
  2:30 p.m. The Experts (re-air)
  3 p.m. Katz Korner
Andy Katz, Dino Gaudio
  4:30 p.m. The Road to the Championship (re-air)
  5:30 p.m. College Basketball Live
Matt Schick, Dino Gaudio
Tue, Apr 5 1 p.m. College Basketball Live
Brendan Fitzgerald, Dino Gaudio, Brooke Weisbrod’s Men’s Tournament Challenge
Several statistics highlight’s Men’s Tournament Challenge and the teams that advanced to the Final Four

  • Only 1140 entries, or .009 percent of Men’s Tournament Challenge brackets had a Final Four of UNC, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Villanova.
  • Only 2.1 percent of brackets feature three out of the four teams (UNC, Villanova and Oklahoma) in their Final Fours.
  • President Obama’s bracket currently sits in the 60th A UNC win over Syracuse is his last opportunity to gain points, as his three other Final Four selections have been eliminated.
  • Percent of brackets picking the national champion:
    • UNC: 14.6 percent; Syracuse: 0.2 percent; Oklahoma: 6.1 percent and Villanova: 2.6 percent
  • Percent of brackets picking each team to reach the national title game:
    • UNC: 26.0 percent; Syracuse: 0.4 percent; Oklahoma: 15.83 percent and Villanova: 6.54 percent

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Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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