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UPDATED: Severe weather in South prompts ESPN to change its production plans for college basketball games tonight

Some weather patterns can provide a perfect example of the “butterfly effect” on a grand scale. Regardless of the epicenter, the ripple effect can be felt across hundreds of miles and dozens of states. The current system in the South is no different.

This storm has led ESPN to change its production plans for two of tonight’s Georgia-based college basketball games. Due to the dangerous conditions and crew availability, ESPN will no longer be able to produce North Carolina at Georgia Tech for ESPN2. Thanks to assistance from Georgia Tech, the matchup will now be a limited production on ESPN3 with a simulcast of the Georgia Tech radio call serving as the audio. Due to unforeseen technical issues, ESPN3 will not be able to carry the school produced Vanderbilt-Georgia game tonight as previously reported.

“The majority of our crew has been unable to get to Atlanta and I had concerns about the available employees being able to safely reach the arena and unload and repack the broadcast equipment from our production truck in the icy conditions,” said Jay Levy, ESPN senior coordinating producer for men’s college basketball.

The weather has also caused travel delays for many of the ESPN crew members and on-air personalities who are trying to either get to their next assignment or to their home.

The Ole Miss at Tennessee SEC-TV telecast will still include “a Dave” on play-by-play, but it will be Dave Baker and not Dave Neal — who is stuck in Atlanta — describing the action. In addition to a crew switch, the original production truck scheduled for the game is unable to make it to the site, so ESPN producers have secured a local replacement in order to still televise the game. However, the matchup will receive additional coverage, reaching the affiliates that were scheduled to televise the now-cancelled Alabama at Auburn matchup.

While some are getting an unplanned night off from their scheduled assignment, other ESPN employees are trying to get home from their game last night, working through more than their fair share of flight changes. That would include people who worked the Super Tuesday game in Baton Rouge, La.

The current schedule for tonight at 7 p.m. ET: Memphis at the University of Central Florida on ESPN2 and Rutgers at Temple on ESPNU.

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