A lot was going on when Kentucky played Georgia the other night on ESPN. First, ESPN was going full force with their Twitter push, something that was made quite obvious with their “#AskBilas” session, which, during the game, was one of the more popular Twitter trends going.
ESPN even had Jay Bilas set up on his own special nook in Rupp Arena, answering the nation’s burning questions about college basketball’s player of the year and Kentucky’s ability to shoot. Look! Screenshots:
ESPN’s (best) college basketball analyst kept himself busy while Kentucky dispatched the Bulldogs with a scalding-hot outside shooting display, something that didn’t escape Bilas’ eye, either:
#askbilas Who said that UK couldn’t shoot it? This is an outstanding team. Defensively, this team is truly special.
3-point shooting prowess aside, perhaps the most surprising aspect of ESPN’s coverage was them showing the Twitter handles of players as they shot free throws. Again, we have the appropriate screenshot demonstrating ESPN’s commitment to all things Twitter:
Yes, @MikeGillie14 is, in fact, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s Twitter handle, but how do we feel about ESPN telling the world? How do we feel about them using it in their player graphics? Another publication–the FieldHouseMedia.com blog–noticed, and wondered the same:
**UPDATE: I connected with Tim Hix, Associate Director of Communications for Georgia Basketball. Georgia did provide players’ Twitter handles to ESPN – it had to do with ESPN’s Jay Bilas/Twitter promotion. This was, in fact, the first time this had been done during a college basketball game. Though there was some initial uneasiness about the decision, ultimately Coach Fox was comfortable with it.
If Georgia was comfortable with, it stands to reason pretty much the same conversation happened over at Kentucky’s athletic department. Even if the coaches approve, is it appropriate for ESPN to do so or is this just a sign of the times.
It should be noted, the Twitter fun was not the only thing going on during the Kentucky/Georgia game. One of the referees became a minor viral hit after taking a basketball to the face: