This isn't just a college basketball problem but it's the sport I love the most so I'm going to talk about it. They've spent the last 5-10 years tinkering with opening night. It used to be on a Friday and then they realized no one gave a shit about Friday night games, they got lost in the shuffle with football starting 12 hours later and everyone only caring about that. Then they gave us Champions Classic on opening night but pushed it to week 2 because of election nights. Fine. Whatever, they can wait for week 2 if and only if we get decent games to get us going early.
So this is where my complaint comes in. Look at this schedule for tonight! We get:
Arizona at Duke (7pm, ESPN2)
Tennessee at Wisconsin (9pm, Peacock)
San Diego State at BYU (9pm, ESPN Plus)
Texas A&M at Ohio State (7pm, Peacock)
Virginia vs Florida (7pm, ACC Network)
Memphis at Missouri (9pm, SEC Network)
Virginia Tech vs South Carolina (9:30, ACC Network)
Dayton at Northwestern (8:30pm, Big 10 Network)
This is how it's supposed to be! Major teams playing each other, obviously highlighted with Arizona at Duke. We get teams who are trying to prove they are tournament teams playing each other. We get sneaky games like Virginia Tech/South Carolina, Yale/Gonzaga, UCF/Miami. The problem? Why the fuck are they on Friday?
It makes no sense. It's the same problem we had a few years back. The moment these games end, everyone is going to be talking about football. I know football runs this world in terms of sports. I know college football didn't have some awesome week 1, but guess what? It was still football. Why bury these games on a Friday instead of playing them on Tuesday? Does it really matter if Tennessee plays Wisconsin in game 1 or 2? No, of course not. We were saved with JMU/Michigan State the opening night but it's not like there was some oh I gotta watch that game if you're a casual college basketball fan just looking for a big game.
Night 2 we had Auburn/Baylor and that game fucking rules. It was opening night for them, their coaches weren't scared to play game 1 against a tournament or ranked team. I don't even care about games being on Peacock. Welcome to 2023. Yeah it's annoying because it's not easy to flip from game to game if you have to, you gotta dedicate TVs to certain channels. Fine. We should all be living in a world where you have multiple TVs or screens at your disposal.
This is how I'd ideally want the early schedule to look:
Night 1/2 - a combo of these games with the Baylor/Auburn game
Night 3 - standalone Barstool Invitaitonal
Week 2 - Champions Classic and early tournaments
Week 3 - Feast week
This is how it should be. Get everyone invested who typically waits only for big games later on. You don't have NFL or major college football to worry about night 1 and 2. You can draw more interest with these sort of games right off the bat instead of burying it on a Friday.