Consider the sheer power ESPN has, not just in college hoops, but all sports: the NFL allots Monday night games just for them. Baseball throws them a big game on Sundays. So many events are made-for-TV, and that TV channel happens to be headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut.
For conferences like the MAC, if they want anyone outside of the Midwest to glance at their teams anytime past when Ohio State is done picking their teeth with them, they'll have to play on a weeknight. This is why they'll never be a true sports journalism entity; not that it's a bad thing, but everyone should consider the hand they dealt themselves when people talk about its credibility and objectivity. When sports make money, they make money.
But they won't be profiting too, too much from basketball games during the graveyard shift. It's merely a gimmick so they can say they broadcasted 24 straight hours of college basketball. As in, games from midnight to the next midnight.
This is where the MAC comes in; on November 16, CMU will play at Hawaii at 4 a.m. Kent State will host the Golden Flashes Crullers & Orange Juice Classic (not the real name) at 8 a.m. against Robert Morris. And I do feel sorry for the gumps who'll participate in the Stony Brook-Monmouth game at 6 a.m. But that doesn't concern usBut for those who work white collar hours, they'll at least get to watch one entire hoops game. Of course, Miami will play at Duke in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Sacrificial Lamb Showdown. The Redhawks have as much a chance in that game as Charlie Coles' red sweater does drowning out the Cameron Crazies' blue. Although, admittedly, MU did come ohsoclose to upsetting & The Kentucky NBA Travel Team last year.
Then you've got CMU in Hawaii for a red-eye game, although in the islands it'll be 10 p.m. At that time, all the restaurants in Mount Pleasant will be closed (although select drive-thrus will remain open). I just don't know how you prepare for that game. It has to be rough. Not only are you playing the roadiest of road game, but even your fans back home aren't even watching/listening in support. (Unless "zzzzzzzzzz" is your fight song.)
And then there's Kent State. Perhaps one of the top mid-major programs of the last 10 years. They've been suckered into the manic morning shift. The only other things that start at 8 a.m. on campus are classes that students were late in enrolling, or had their schedule put together by a grown-up. Perhaps Kent State was also lax in filling out their request to take part in this 24-hour party, and they were stuck with this time slot. Dollars to donuts all the students who attend that game will stay up all night, rather than get up early. Those same students will subsequently drop any classes that begin at 8:30 by at least October.
But also consider the conversation between you and a casual fan of either school's athletics:
Them: "Why are they playing the game so early?"
You: "Oh, so a sports network can say they showed 24 straight hours of basketball games."
Them: [stares blankly]
You: "It's good exposure for the team!"
Them: [has already walked away while you were in mid-sentence]