Prepare For A Basketball Onslaught

Pac-12 Networks basketball analyst Ernie Kent coached in the Pac-12 for 13 years, and frankly he's a bit jealous.

Kent is a part of the new networks as a broadcaster, but he wishes they would have been around when he was coaching at Oregon.

"If I were a coach in this confernece, I'd be extremely excited about the Pac-12 Network," Kent said. "It's taking it to a whole new level now. If I were a coach outside the conference, I'd be jealous. The energy, the opportunity, the growth potential the Pac-12 Network gives every program in the conference is huge."

A menu of a staggering 150 men's basketball games that will air on the Pac-12 Networks commences Friday night with five games on tap. A triple header is on the slate for the Pac-12's national network with Wofford at Colorado at 4 p.m., Niagara at Oregon State at 6 p.m. and Stanford at San Francisco at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, Utah hosts Willamette on Pac-12 Mountain at 6 p.m. and Coppin State visits USC on Pac-12 Los Angeles at 8 p.m.

Then it will be basketball virtually every day, and a lot of it. It will culminate with eight Pac-12 Tournaments games on the Pac-12 Networks in March.

Like most sports, one of the many virtues of the networks is what it will do for recruiting. Between the Pac-12 Network's schedule of games and conference partners ESPN and Fox, every home game involving a conference team will be televised this season.

"I can't tell you how many times I had to tell parents I could send them a DVD of their son's game," Kent said. "Now every single game will be on TV. That's a huge selling point. Other schools can't negatively recruit that against you now."

As far as the conference race goes, Kent acknowledges that Arizona and UCLA -- who were picked 1-2 in the preseason Pac-12 media poll and are ranked No. 12 and 13 respectively in the Associated Press preseason top 25 -- are the most talented teams in the conference. But Kent says other formidable teams such as Stanford, Oregon State, Cal and Colorado all have pieces to challenge for conference supremacy.

"You look around the conference, there is going to be five or six teams that are good enough to beat anyone else, maybe even seven teams in that mix," Kent said.  "It's going to be who has the ability to go out on the road and win. Everybody is going to be pretty good at home. There are a lot of tough places to play in the conference. It's going to be who can get some wins in those buildings."



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