Originally created 01/30/05

ACC Sunday night games have following



ATLANTA - For Robert Allen, a Texas high school basketball coach, Sunday is his one day off a week.

He broke down Friday's game tape already. And next week's scouting report is done. So is Monday's practice plan.

His Sunday is free to ... watch basketball.

Specifically, Atlantic Coast Conference basketball. At least one ACC game is televised nationally every Sunday during hoops season on Fox Sports Net.

Most weeks, there's a doubleheader. Today, Georgia Tech plays Maryland at 5:30 p.m., followed by Virginia Tech at Duke at 8.

That's a double-dose of heaven for Allen and high school coaches and players across the country.

"I look forward to the Sunday night hoops -when it's not on, it's a void in my life," Allen said. "High school coaches are pretty busy during the week. We're either practicing or playing or scouting or watching the JV or freshman teams."

ACC Sunday Night Hoops, now in its fourth year, may be expanding the already long recruiting reach of ACC teams.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has recruited three players out of Texas and one each from Louisiana and California in his five years.

"I can't tell you how many coaches I talk to on Mondays and they say, 'Yeah, I saw that game last night,' " Hewitt said. "I'll go recruiting and they all tell me they make it a point to get all their stuff done so they can sit down and watch that game on Sunday night.

"It's become like a Monday Night Football deal for basketball fans."

Sundays are unlikely to become synonymous with college basketball anytime soon. It's tough to compete with church, brunch and lawn work.

FSN did hope Sunday Night Hoops would become "appointment television" for basketball fans, said Bob Thompson, the president of the regional cable outlets. That's why they signed a long-term contract - 10 years - with the ACC.

"When we acquired the rights, we did it to create a Sunday night franchise," Thompson said. "There's not a lot of other college basketball on Sunday night. We thought this would be a showcase time slot for the ACC as opposed to just another college basketball game on FSN."