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Basketball on TV – Games of the Week

It’s Monday and that means our new weekly feature on TCC is back! We take a look at the TV planner for the next seven days and break down your essential viewing. There has never been a better time to be a UK/Ireland based basketball fan with coverage on ESPN, ESPN America, Setanta and Sky allowing you to keep track of your favourite basketball, check out our picks of the week!

Game of the Week

Miami @ Duke

Saturday 11.00pm – ESPN America

With only two weeks left in the regular season this battle of two potential number one seeds was always going to be high on the list of games to watch this week. This game will go a long way to deciding who finishes the year top of the ACC standings and thanks to a revenge factor Miamis trip to Cameron has became the “must watch” game of the week. Earlier in the season Miami upset Duke when the blue devils had just achieved a number one ranking however it was the nature of the defeat that will have left a sour taste in the Dukies mouths and sets us up for an electric atmosphere in Cameron indoor stadium. Miami ran all over Duke in the game that really showcased them as a serious contender for post season honours this year. The Hurricanes went on a huge 25-1 run during the first half and led by more than 30 points at one stage to hand Duke their worst loss in five years. Further fuel was added to the fire when Miami players slapped the floor on defense late in the game, a move that the Duke players took as a sign of total disrespect.  Duke are still missing Ryan Kelly who they hope will be back for the ACC tournament but will be confident they can get the win after Miami’s 14 game unbeaten streak was ended by Wake Forest last week.

Highlights from Duke at Miami earlier this season:

Notable Highlights

Florida @ Tennessee

Tuesday Night / Wednesday Morning 2:00am – ESPN America

Tennessee are on a tear of late after reeling off five straight wins which included a 30 point demolishing of Kentucky but they will need to be at their best to beat the SEC leading Florida Gators on Tuesday night. Home court will help the volunteers but Florida are a well balanced team with aspirations of a number one seed and will be favoured here. Florida are led by Mike Rosario (with whom anyone that has watched the excellent Bobby Hurley documentary ‘The Street Stops Here’ will be familiar with –  trailer below) and the NBA prospect needs to take on more of a leadership role late in the season if the Gators are to make an impact in the post season.

OKC @ Denver Nuggets

Friday Night / Saturday Morning 3,30am – ESPN

OKC are in contention for finishing the year with the best regular season record but the Nuggets have one of the best home records in the league (23-3) and always try and make their advantage in the mile high city count. A high scoring and close game is expected here – don’t miss it!

Heat @ Knicks / OKC @ LA Clippers

Sunday 6.00pm – SKY Sports 2

Is SKY’s Sunday double header giving us a preview of the potential conference finals? OKC and Miami are both heavily favoured to lift their conference championship trophies and the Knicks and Clippers will both have aspirations of proving the bookies wrong. Both games have plenty of star appeal with the likes of LeBron, Carmelo, Durant and Chris Paul on show and should prove and entertaining nights viewing to end the week.

Star Power: Chris Paul and Kevin Durant

Star Power: Chris Paul and Kevin Durant


Basketball TV Watch – Games of the week

Welcome to a new weekly feature on TCC where we take a look at the TV planner for the next seven days and break down your essential viewing. There has never been a better time to be a UK/Ireland based basketball fan with coverage on ESPN, ESPN America, Setanta and Sky allowing you to keep track of your favourite basketball whether that is the NBA, NCAA Basketball, Euroleague or even the local leagues.

Game of the Week

San Antonio Spurs @ LA Clippers

Thursday Night / Friday Morning – 3.30am – ESPN

This is one to set the DVR for with a late west coast tip time meaning the game won’t start here until 3.30am. Part of the Thursday night double header (Heat @ Bulls tips off at 1am also on ESPN) the Spurs travel to LA sitting atop of the NBA standings. Gregg Popovich is working his magic and has the team running his offensive system like only his teams can. A perfect illustration of this was last week with Parker, Ginobli, Duncan and Jackson all sitting out the Spurs still managed to roll to a 103-89 victory over the Bulls behind great team basketball and 26 points from the ever improving Kawhi Leonard. Any fan of pure basketball will love the spurs, they move the ball better than any team in the league evidenced by the fact that they lead the NBA in Assist ratio.

The Clippers had a hot start to the season but have had a recent poor run of form when they were missing 5/6 different players but as Grant Hill told us last week they are now back to full health. The clips are one of the most entertaining teams in the league to watch with one of the NBA’s leading point guards in Chris Paul and the high flying Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. What makes the Clippers most fun however is their bench, Eric Bledsoe plays the game at a ferocious pace making spectacular plays on both ends and Jamal Crawford is in the running for the sixth man of the year award while challenging Kyrie Irving as the most entertaining player to watch handle the ball. (check out the video above!)

Notable Highlights

There is over 20 games on TV this week and we think these are the pick of the bunch:

Indiana @ Michigan State

Tuesday Night / Wednesday Morning 12:00am – ESPN America

Two of the top teams in the best conference in Men’s college basketball, The Big Ten, go at it in what promises to be a great NCAA match up. Two defensive orientated teams but when two of the top 10 ranked teams in the nation go at it in a conference game there is always a good chance of excitement and an electric atmosphere.

Boston Celtics @ LA Lakers

Wednesday Night /Thursday Morning 3.30am – ESPN

A classic NBA match-up between the two most successful franchises in league history. The Celtics are proving the Ewing Theory true and have went on a tear since losing elite point guard Rajon Rondo and the LA Lakers are desperate for wins as they chase the last playoff spot in the west.

With Nerlens Noel out, how will Kentucky fare for the rest of the season?

With Nerlens Noel out, how will Kentucky fare for the rest of the season?

Missouri @ Kentucky

Saturday Night / Sunday Morning 2.00am – ESPN America

The headline game from College Gameday, after improving in recent weeks how will Kentucky perform in the absence of Nerlens Noel who is ruled out for the season with a torn ACL?

Golden State Warriors @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Sunday 8.30pm – SKY Sports 3

Two of my favourite teams to watch go head to head in this Western conference showdown. Kevin Love is still injured but with Ricky Rubio and Steph Curry on the floor, what’s not to like?

Ricky Rubio is just all sorts of awesome, check it out:

Bracket banter: win an exclusive t-shirt from TCC

It’s that time of the year again – March Madness! This year The Courtside Collective, in association with ESPN, has created a tournament challenge. The process is simple [Editor: easy-peesey). Join our tournament group online at, fill in your bracket and follow all the coverage of the ‘big dance’ online at It’s a lot of fun and anyone can get involved. The teams are ranked 1-16 within their regions. You simply select which team you think will win throughout each round until you have a Final Four (See Obama’s selections below), National Finals selection (two teams), and finally an overall winner [Editor: My heart is with Syracuse but my head says Ohio State].

The winner of our group will take home an ESPN Goodie Bag as well as an exclusive TCC t-shirt.

Want more? Join the ESPN America tournament challenge for the chance to win a brand new portable basketball hoop! Click here to find out more.

Please note: The deadline is Thursday 15h March, 3pm! Get your bracket in now for a chance to win!


President Obama Fills Out Men’s & Women’s Brackets in ESPN Exclusive

President Barack Obama filled out his bracket predictions for the 2012 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments today exclusively with

The President is predicting a Men’s Final Four of Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri and North Carolina, and a Women’s Final Four of Baylor, St. John’s, UConn and Notre Dame. ESPN will present all 63 games from the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship for the 10th consecutive year from March 17-April 3.

President Obama’s Final Four Selections:

Men’s: Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri and North Carolina
Women’s: Baylor, St. John’s, UConn and Notre Dame


Tournament Challenge History

In 2011, the Men’s Tournament Challenge game was the most popular bracket game in the USA with more than 5.9 million brackets, breaking the previous record high of 4.8 million brackets set in 2010 by 24 percent.  President Obama’s 2011 men’s bracket ranked 746,086 overall, placing him in the 87.4th percentile.  While he didn’t predict any of the Final Four teams in the previous two years, he correctly picked North Carolina to win the National Championship in 2009.  President Obama placed in the 77.09th percentile of his women’s bracket entry last year.

Both the Men’s Tournament Challenge and Women’s Tournament Challenge games return for their 15th seasons and are free for fans to submit up to ten entries on Participants complete and submit a bracket of forecasted tournament game outcomes and points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the tournaments progress.

Outside of the U.S., ESPN International has exclusive multimedia and syndication rights to the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments.  ESPN television networks and broadband services are the home for live television and streaming coverage of tournaments, bringing the passion and pageantry of U.S. college sports to hundreds of millions of homes in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Source: ESPN