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ESPNU features lax showdown

When people used to ask me when Cablevision would begin carrying ESPNU, I'd tell them to tell me when Disney's contract with the cable provider - which owns Newsday - was up, and I'd tell them when ESPNU would appear.

Disney loves to use its contract leverage to support channels it wants distributed more widely. (Actually, every major programming provider does the same thing.)

Well, it has been just shy of a year now since that precise thing played out, and the channel has proven itself a useful addition to the lineup.

That will be illustrated again Friday night when it televises a game between the teams tied for No. 1 in men's college lacrosse: Virginia and Syracuse.

I'm guessing some Long Islanders will play in the game.

ESPNU also has offered some pretty good matchups in the big revenue-producing sports, even though ESPN, ESPN2 and broadcast channels still get the bulk of the really big games.

"I feel like where we are is we're the child who’s now walking on their own and we can truly say we’re becoming a destination place for quality, quality college and high school inventory," senior coordinating producer Dan Steir said.

"We’ve established ourselves in our footprint of delivering, I’m not going to say the best college football and college basketball week in and week out, but week in and week out it’s quality."

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