Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announce nationally televised basketball schedule

New Orleans (SBC) - The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announced today the national television schedule for the 2010-11 league basketball schedule.

Headlining the announcement is the Sun Belt Conference's "Wild Card" game that is set for January 22 at 12 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.   The wild card concept will allow ESPN to select the most competitive match-up among the scheduled men's basketball games that day.  Scheduled games for that day are: FIU at South Alabama, UALR at Florida Atlantic, Troy at Western Kentucky University, Denver at Middle Tennessee, Arkansas State at North Texas and Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana-Lafayette.  The participants for the wild card game will be announced in early January 2011.

Additionally, defending Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champion North Texas will take on perennial Sun Belt Conference power Western Kentucky University at 3 p.m. (CT) on February 12.  The match-up between the Mean Green and Hilltoppers will air on either ESPN or ESPN2.

Game times and networks for the Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championship games were also released.  For the second consecutive year, the Women's Championship game will air on ESPNU and is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (CT) tip-off on Tuesday, March 8.  The men's basketball championship game will follow on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. on March 8.  Both the men's and women's basketball championships will take place in Hot Springs, Arkansas March 5th through March 8th.

The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN have had a long, well established relationship which traces back to the infancy of both the league and the network.  In fact, the Sun Belt Conference was one of ESPN's first partners as the league began televising men's basketball games on ESPN during the 1979-80 season.  ESPN would broadcast the Sun Belt Conference's men's basketball championship game in 1980 and has continued to air every single Men's Basketball Championship game on the ESPN family of networks over the past three decades.  The 2010 Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Championship game marked the 30th consecutive year that ESPN has aired the annual event.

In addition to the games release today, ESPN Regional Television maintains the right to produce, distribute and syndicate up to eight Sun Belt men's basketball games annually.

The Sun Belt Conference will also produce a men's and women's basketball game of the week on the Sun Belt Network for the 2010-11 season.  The Sun Belt Network is a partnership between regional sport network partners Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST).  The Sun Belt Network men's and women's basketball schedules will be released in late October.