Sidelines with John Clay

College basketball: Joe Tessitore on play-by-play for Kentucky-Arkansas

Joe Tessitore, left, shown here as host of SEC Nation, will handle the play-by-play duties for Kentucky-Arkansas on Thursday night.
Joe Tessitore, left, shown here as host of SEC Nation, will handle the play-by-play duties for Kentucky-Arkansas on Thursday night. The State

Joe Tessitore is the play-by-play man with Sean Farnham providing the color for ESPN’s 7 p.m. broadcast of Kentucky at Arkansas, which is the local highlight of the Thursday television schedule.

In fact, this isn’t the greatest night for college hoops on the tube. Memphis at Cincinnati at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 is mildly interesting. You can say the thing about Ohio State’s visit to Purdue at 9 p.m. on ESPN, following UK-Arkansas. Ohio State is coming off a 35-point beatdown at the hands of Maryland.

So let’s talk Tessitore, the 44-year-old New York native who graduated from Boston College but has become something of an SEC staple. In 2013, Tessitore was announced as the “new face of the SEC Network.”

Kentucky basketball individual game-by-game stats

He is the host of SEC Nation, the college football pre-game show that travels around the conference. He’s also the play-by-play man for ESPN’s Thursday night national college football telecasts.

Tessitore’s “distinct play-by-play work” (ESPN description) has made him a love-him-or-hate-him type announcer. You either like his style or you don’t. He’s done boxing, horse racing and, of course, college hoops along with college football.

Back in 2012, Stewart Mandel, then working for Sports Illustrated, profiled Tessitore.

Afer the UK men are finished, you can switch over to the SEC Network and see the Kentucky women take on Ole Miss in Oxford.

Here’s the list of college basketball games on television for Thursday:

Thursday, Jan. 21

▪ 7:00 - Kentucky at Arkansas (ESPN)

▪ 7:00 - Memphis at Cincinnati (ESPN2)

▪ 7:00 - Iowa at Rutgers (ESPNU)

▪ 7:00 - Mount St. Mary’s at Sacred Heart (CBS Sports)

▪ 8:00 - Wisconsin at Penn State (Big 10)

▪ 9:00 - Kentucky at Ole Miss women (SEC)

▪ 9:00 - Rice at UAB (CBS Sports)

▪ 9:00 - Ohio State at Purdue (ESPN)

▪ 9:00 - Belmont at UT-Martin (ESPNU)

▪ 9:00 - Arizona State at California (Fox Sports 1)

▪ 11:00 - Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s (ESPNU)

▪ 11:00 - Utah at Washington State (Fox Sports 1)

How Top 25 fared Wednesday

  • No. 2 North Carolina beat Wake Forest 83-68
  • No. 4 Villanova beat Seton Hall 72-71
  • No. 6 West Virginia lost to Texas 56-49
  • No. 11 Michigan State lost to Nebraska 72-71
  • No. 13 Baylor beat Kansas State 79-72 in overtime
  • No. 15 Miami beat Boston College 67-53
  • No. 17 Louisville beat Florida State 84-65
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