Time & Place: 8:30 PM ET, Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois
TV: FS1 (Joe Davis, Len Elmore)
Radio: WEEI 103.7 FM (Providence; John Rooke, Joe Hassett), WSCR 670 AM (DePaul; Zach Zaidman, Jeff Blanzy)
Streaming: Fox Sports GO (video), Friars.com (Providence audio), BlueTube (DePaul audio)
Gambling (via OddsShark): The line opened with DePaul as 1-point favorites. The Blue Demons are 9-6-1 against the spread, while Providence is 4-12.
For the first time in the history of NCAA men’s basketball, this game will be presented commercial-free and both coaches will be mic’d up. FS1 has tried this with women’s games, but this is the first attempt on a men’s game. Fox outlined some of the things viewers can expect below.
Both coaches mic’d up live (five second delay).
Most of the game will be live coaches’ audio. Joe Davis and Len Elmore will provide play-by-play and commentary where necessary/appropriate.
Live locker room speeches at halftime and possibly postgame.
Huddles/timeouts will be treated like corners between the rounds of a title fight.
Most of the game will be in “triple-box” form – boxes one each of the coaches, and one box on game action.
In addition to the game stream, FOX Sports GO will also offer two additional streams – one dedicated to each coach for the full duration of the game.
Minimal replays, highlights and/or features packages – the goal is to show as much of the game as possible raw and unfiltered.
No on-air promos/in-game reads
The game is produced by lead FOX Sports college basketball producer Steve Scheer and directed by Matt Gangl, who also directed the World Series on FOX.
The goal is to show the viewer how the coach can dictate the flow of the game since. The coach is closer to the players in basketball than in any other sport. We’re going to show them discussing strategy on each possession, yelling offensive/defensive sets, adjusting alignments, influencing officials and everything in between, giving viewers an experience only participants and front-row fans usually get.
About the Friars
The Providence Friars (11-6, 2-2 Big East) have been pummeled by injuries all year. However, they’ve taken a “next man up” mentality and worked their way to a .500 record early in the conference schedule.
Their last game was their biggest win of the season. The Friars prevailed over then-No. 5 Xavier 81-72 on Jan. 6 at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Naturally, they will look to bring that momentum to Chicago.
But that will be an interesting challenge in itself. Providence has done well at home, standing 8-2 on the season. However, they are 1-3 in other schools’ gyms. Their last road game was an 83-64 loss to No. 25 Creighton on New Year’s Eve.
About the Blue Demons
Despite their middling record, the DePaul Blue Demons (8-8, 1-3 Big East) are already having their best season in years. A win on Friday would give them their ninth win, matching their overall win total from each of the last two seasons. DePaul went 9-23 last year and 9-22 in 2015-16. A win will also give them their first back-to-back conference victories since January 2015.
The Blue Demons looked great their last time out, pulling off a huge road win over St. John’s 91-74. In a microcosm of their season, it was Marin Maric and Max Strus leading the way to victory. They each had 20-point double-doubles: Maric finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Strus had 22 points and 10 rebounds. These two transfers will definitely need to deliver again to give DePaul their second conference win of the year.