Pac-12 Basketball Media Deal Split Between ESPN & FOX Right Down The Middle

With Derrick Williams departing for the NBA, the Pac-12 is wide-open for anyone to take in 2011-2012. Can Cal make a move without much size, or will UW, Arizona and UCLA rise to the top once again?

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Pac-12 Basketball Media Deal: TV Rights Split Between ESPN & Fox Sports Net

Obviously, when it came to negotiating the new Pac-12 TV contract, the primary impetus was going to be on the new football rights. And they seemed to do very well--more nationally televised games on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, ABC, FOX, and FX, plus the potential of a Pac-12 network covering up all avenues to distribute all the games and make sure they're all televised in some capacity somewhere.

But what about college basketball? Well, the changes are even more drastic. (HT mattsarz)

  • Originally zero games were guaranteed for ESPN under the old Pac-10 contracts. That'll be upgraded to an incredible 46, with perhaps up to 28 on ESPNU. ESPNU isn't as well-established and might mean Pac-12 fans have to upgrade their cable/satellite packages, but it does promise more national coverage as opposed to FSN regional telecasts.
  • Fox Sports Net will see its allottment of games halved. I would guess there would be a focus on more national games and less regional telecasts.
  • The Thursday/Saturday schedule is going to be expanded to more of a Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday schedule. That'll ensure more available national TV slots.
  • The Pac-12 Tournament will be split up, with ESPNESPN2 airing one half of the bracket, FOX/FX the other half, and the two networks alternating the final on a yearly basis.
  • The Pac-12 TV and digital network will be broadcasting the remaining games. All of them!

While the contract isn't as freakishly awesome as the Pac-12 football TV deal, it's pretty close. Every game being broadcast, with at least half the games gaining a national audience is a big step up from the archaic way FSN handles their business. Pac-12 basketball will finally have a place of its own.


WSU Basketball: Klay Thompson Declares For NBA Draft, But Leaves Door Open For Return

Klay Thompson of the Washington St. Cougars had to do a lot last season. With most of the rest of his team struggling to be consistent on offense, Thompson had to carry the brunt of the scoring duties and take a majority of the shots. His individual numbers suffered, but he was able to lead Wazzu to the NIT tournament semifinals after a disappointing season.

Well, it looks like Thompson is ready to try out his talents at the next stage, as he declared for the NBA Draft. It's not set in stone that he'll be leaving, because he still hasn't hired an agent. But if he likes what he sees, he will most certainly depart.

Cal and Stanford fans will probably be happy with the news. Thompson nearly single-handedly beat the Bears in Berkeley last spring, and put up 21 points two days later against the Cardinal in Palo Alto. While he doesn't really have much to improve on, imagine a Cougar team that was much improved next year and didn't have to rely as much on Thompson. That would be a scary prospect for any Pac-12 team to deal with.

For more reaction on the Thompson news, head over to Coug Center to hear what Washington State fans have to say.


Derrick Williams Enters The NBA Draft, Opening Up Pac-12 Title Chances For Cal

For those who are excited about conference regular season basketball, the departure of one star player means everything. This is precisely what's happened in the Pac-12, as Derrick Williams makes his inevitable move to the pros. Williams was almost certainly going to be a lottery pick this season, and his performance in the NCAA tournament (including a mighty first half performance in the upset of Duke in the Sweet 16) went a long way toward ensuring that status will remain where it is.

He certainly won't be missed by Bay Area teams. Williams averaged 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game against the Stanford Cardinal in an Arizona series sweep. Williams was even more potent against the California Golden Bears. He put up 31 points and 12 rebounds in their first matchup, shooting an incredible 22 free throws to guide the Wildcats to a narrow victory in Tucson, then pulled down 18 boards before fouling out in their triple overtime thriller in Berkeley. The man was not to be trifled with in Pac-10 play.

With Cal's biggest issue being size down low due to the youth of Richard Solomon, Williams's departure is a welcome relief, and gives them one less big body to worry about in the conference. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News believes it makes the conference title a two team race between Cal and UCLA, which might not be too far off from reality. Dwight Powell at Stanford could also benefit.

For more perspective on Williams from Arizona fans, head to Arizona Desert Swarm.

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