When College of Charleston basketball fans first saw this season's schedule, they probably chuckled at what they thought was an obvious misprint.
Morehead State on Tuesday at 8 a.m.? No way!
But it was not a typographical error. Cougars coach Bobby Cremins had agreed to an offer from ESPN to play before a national audience as part of the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, 24 straight hours of hardwood coverage.
"We are calling it 'Breakfast with Bobby,' " College of Charleston director of athletics Joe Hull said.
Concession stands will offer more breakfast foods and less hamburgers and Italian sausages, Hull said. And in an effort to entice students to set their alarm clocks early, coffee and doughnuts will be served to students while they wait for the doors to open at TD Arena.
"Beyond that, it's just another game," Hull said. "We're going to try to the best of our ability to run a game at 8 o'clock in the morning essentially the same way we would at 7 o'clock on a Thursday night."
Morehead State (0-1), behind No. 22 NBA draft pick Kenneth Faried, beat the Cougars and No. 46 NBA pick Andrew Goudelock, 69-49, last year in Morehead, Ky. The Cougars opened this season Friday with a 78-69 win over Holy Cross, and the Eagles opened Sunday with a 91-61 loss to N.C. State.
"I hate to do this to our fans, but this was too good of an opportunity to be on national TV," Cremins said.
If Charleston fans think the early morning start is tough, it could be a lot worse. Consider poor Rider, which hosts Drexel at 6 a.m. in Lawrenceville, N.J. The event begins at midnight (all times EST) at Gonzaga, in Spokane, Wash., and is followed by a 2 a.m. game in California and a 4 a.m. game in Hawaii before moving to the East Coast.
You can also feel sorry for the players, none of whom have 8 o'clock classes. They have to awaken in time for a 5:45 a.m. pregame meal.
"It's going to be early, really early," said sophomore forward Trent Wiedeman. "I'm not a morning person, but we'll be ready. We've had some early practices. It kind of hurts (5:45 a.m.), but we're playing on ESPN so you can't complain."
"Since I've been here," said Cremins, now in his sixth season, "we've done so many wild things, so many wild trips. I thought, 'Why not?' Put this in the mix and see where it goes."