Friday, July 30, 1999

Xavier may play Fresno State on national TV

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        “The Shark” may be coming to town. Maybe.

        Xavier is close to finishing its non-conference schedule with a nationally televised game against Jerry Tarkanian and his Fresno State men's basketball team.

        The game is tentatively set for Dec. 27 at the Cincinnati Gardens on ESPN2.

  The Musketeers' tentative non-conference schedule:
  Maryland-Eastern Shore (Nov. 20)
  East Tennessee State (Dec. 4)
  Cincinnati (Dec. 18)
  St. Mary's, Calif. (Dec. 21)
  Fresno State (Dec. 27)
  Toledo (Dec. 30).
  Miami (Dec. 8)
  Central Michigan (Dec. 11)
  Marquette (Jan. 2)
  Canisius (TBD)
  Great Alaska Shootout (first game vs. Louisville, Nov. 25).
        “That's the plan right now,” ESPN spokesman Dean Diltz said Thursday. “We're trying to make it happen. It's just not a done deal yet. But it's likely.”

        Xavier Athletic Director Mike Bobinski is out of town and could not be reached for comment. Neither XU coach Skip Prosser nor Tarkanian could be reached Thursday.

        Jack Fertig, director of basketball operations at Fresno State, is responsible for putting together the Bulldogs' schedule. He said the school's administration must approve an away game.

        “We had our schedule done in April,” Fertig said. “Then Georgia had to postpone a re turn game that they owe us to Fresno State, so they put us off a year.”

        Because the Western Athletic Conference, of which Fresno State is a member, has an exclusive television contract with Fox Sports, ESPN can't televise a Fresno State home game.

        That's why the home-and-home series must start at Xavier. The Musketeers would return the game during the 2000-2001 season, Fertig said.

        “Xavier's at a point now where it means more for us to have Xavier on the schedule than for Xavier to have Fresno State on their schedule,” Fertig said. “Xavier's risen to that high major level.

        “I hope it gets done. We're probably going to need 'til the middle of next week.”

        If the deal is finished, it would give Xavier at least three home games on ESPN or ESPN2. The Musketeers play Cincinnati (Dec.18, ESPN) and Massachusetts (tentatively Feb.12, ESPN) in nationally televised home games.

        Tarkanian, a former coach at Nevada-Las Vegas, guided the Runnin' Rebels to the 1990 national championship.

        Tark's teams are 84-48 in four years at Fresno State. Last season's Fresno State squad finished 21-12 and went to the National Invitation Tournament.



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