The best conference in college basketball this season? It's hard to argue with the ACC, which will provide much fodder for the debate during the next few days. Consider:
ABC airs its first college basketball games of the season Saturday, kicking off with No. 4 Wake Forest at No. 2 Duke (Brent Musburger and Dick Vitale on the 1 p.m. call).
CBS also is going with an ACC team at 3:30, featuring No. 1 Connecticut at No. 9 North Carolina.
And Tuesday, Sunshine Network airs Virginia-Clemson at 7 p.m. followed by No. 142 Georgia vs. Wake Forest at 9. CBS analyst Billy Packer said the ACC deserves to be called the best, hands down.
"What really jumps out is the way the ACC controlled the Big Ten-ACC matchups this year with a 7-2 margin," Packer said. "The Big 12 is surprisingly down compared to what was expected because of the likes of Oklahoma and Missouri not playing up to par. The Big Ten really is groping right now because their power team, Michigan State, because of scheduling and lack of seasoned guard play, is struggling. So the Big Ten is down a little."Gator hunting
Sunshine Network will air the Florida-Vanderbilt game live at 8 p.m. Saturday only in south Florida (read: not here) because of a previously scheduled Lightning game.
Sunshine, however, offered the game to Bright House to air live on an alternate channel. Digital viewers can view it on Ch. 540.
DirecTV viewers in all areas of Florida can see the game live on Ch. 633 and DISH Network on Ch. 446.Monopoly
The share of national gross ratings points for sports programming aired by ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 rose in 2003 to nearly 52 percent, up from 46 in 2002, according to ESPN Research.
The analysis of Nielsen data by ESPN Research is based on ratings of national networks reported daily by Nielsen Media Research and includes all programs coded as sports except pro wrestling and Olympics.
ESPN led all networks with 27.9 percent of sports viewing followed by Fox (14.8), ABC (14.5), CBS (14) and ESPN2 (9.2). ABC and the ESPN networks combined to deliver 51.6 percent of national sports gross ratings points.You can't be serious
John McEnroe will join CNBC to host a one-hour prime-time program to debut in the spring. McEnroe will serve as the lead host of an ensemble that will "provide an unpredictable and spontaneous look at the stories making headlines."
The show is expected to air at 10 p.m.Beyond the gory
Fox Sports Net airs an updated episode of its highly regarded Beyond the Glory featuring Pete Rose at 9 p.m. Sunday.
The episode originally aired July 8, 2001, but has been updated to include discussion on Rose's new book, My Prison Without Bars, and his revelations about gambling.