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The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have announced the men's basketball league schedule for the Commodores' 2009-10 season, a slate that includes five home Saturday games and an unprecedented number of games on the ESPN family of networks.
Vanderbilt will be featured on ESPN four times, ESPN2 twice, ESPNU three times, the SEC Network four times, CSS twice, and FSN once this year. The Commodores will also play each of their three games on either ESPN or ESPN2 at the 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational November 23-25, and will play Missouri at home on Wednesday, December 2, in an ESPNU telecast.
Other non-conference game times and television arrangements will be announced at a later date.
As for the SEC slate, the Commodores begin the SEC season on Saturday, January 9, when Florida visits Memorial Gym for an 11 a.m. Central time tip-off in a game that will be shown by ESPN2.
Vanderbilt will then hit the road for four out of their next five games, with road tilts at Alabama (8 p.m., CSS) on January 13, at South Carolina (5 p.m., CSS) on January 16, at Tennessee on January 27 (ESPNU, 6 p.m.), and at Kentucky on January 30 (ESPN, 3 p.m.). A home game with Auburn is sandwiched in between the four road games on Saturday, January 23 in a 12:30 p.m. game that will be televised by the SEC Network.
The Commodores return home after the match up with Kentucky in Lexington with a home game against Mississippi State on Wednesday, February 3, at Memorial Gym. The game will tip at 7 p.m. Central time and will be televised by the SEC Network. After a trip to Athens, Ga., to play Georgia on February 6 (FSN, 7 p.m.), the Commodores return to Memorial for two straight - against Tennessee on February 9 and LSU on February 13. The Tennessee game is part of ESPN's Super Tuesday package and will air on ESPN at 6 p.m., and Vanderbilt's showdown with the Tigers will air at 12:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
The Commodores will then travel to Oxford, Miss., to play Ole Miss on Thursday, February 18, in an ESPNU telecast at 6 p.m. Vanderbilt then returns to Memorial Gym on the following Saturday for an ESPN game against Kentucky. The game with the Wildcats tips at 5 p.m. Central time. VU stays at home for their next game and takes on Georgia on Thursday, February 25 (ESPNU, 6 p.m.).
Vanderbilt hits the road for the final two times in their next two games, with a trip to Arkansas set for a Saturday afternoon tip-off on February 27 (SEC Network, 12:30 p.m.), the Commodores' second Super Tuesday game of the season at Florida on March 2. The game will begin at 6 p.m. Central time and will be televised on ESPN.
The Commodores wrap up their regular season at home against South Carolina on Saturday, March 6, at Memorial Gym. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN2.
"We are really excited about the upcoming season," said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. "Obviously, the beginning of our conference schedule is extremely difficult. We look forward to a season of unprecedented exposure, not only for our conference, but for our university as well."
Some other interesting tidbits about this year's television package with ESPN and CBS.
- Each of the 96 conference games will be televised live as part of the SEC's historic 15-year agreements with CBS Sports and ESPN that begin this year. In 2008-09, 69 conference games were televised live. Some other tidbits on this year's television contract for Vanderbilt and the SEC.
- Almost half of the SEC's league games will be distributed nationally with ESPN or ESPN2 televising 27 contests, ESPNU showing eight and CBS Sports five.
- ESPN and ESPN2 will offer 27 conference matchups, more than double last year's 13 telecasts - The SEC's games on the ESPN family of networks will be exclusively branded as the "SEC on ESPN."
- Regionally-syndicated games will be televised on the SEC Network as part of ESPN Regional Television (ERT). - The SEC Network will televise 37 intra-conference games while Fox Sports Net will show 10 contests and CSS nine.
- The majority of games not televised nationally will be available as a part of ESPN Full Court, the pay subscription college basketball out-of-market service, and on ESPN360.com.
- ESPN Regional Television (ERT) will produce and distribute a studio show each Saturday afternoon during conference play and at the SEC Tournament.
- National coverage of the SEC Basketball Tournament has been expanded with the semifinals and championship game broadcast on ESPN on ABC. The SEC Network will televise the first two rounds of the tournament, which this year will be played March 11-14 in Nashville.
- SEC games will be televised nationally now on Tuesday (ESPN Super Tuesday), Thursday and Saturday
- ESPNU will also be televising games on Thursday night