By Joy Landry
Both Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati have made the “Big Dance” again this year. So if you live in the Queen City, it’s hard to avoid college hoops in March. For some unfathomable reason (read: corporate greed), CBS decided to extend its NCAA Tournament Selection Show to a two-hour program this year.
Die-hard college basketball fans already agonized in years past with 30 minutes of anticipation, especially if their team was “on the bubble.” So a movie’s length worth of predictions, expert opinions and commercials was nearly unbearable. Compounding the fans’ discontent were the dubious insights of CBS commentator Charles Barkley, whose grasp on the college game is weaker than his ability to work a touchscreen.
Twitter came to the rescue when a “leaked” bracket was released on the social media platform sometime during the first hour of CBS’s ill-fated broadcast. Savvy fans were able to quickly discern that the leaked bracket was the real deal as it matched perfectly with the first two regions that had already, albeit slowly, been revealed on television.
Of course, the NCAA and CBS were both outraged, promising an investigation into how the supposed safely guarded NCAA tournament bracket found its way onto social media before their Selection Show even concluded.
Frankly, CBS and the NCAA only have themselves to blame for placing advertising sales above the game of college basketball and its fan base. Not only were they widely ridiculed by frustrated coaches, players, and fans alike, the show suffered its worst ratings in 20 years.
Hopefully, CBS and the NCAA learned a lesson and will return to the traditional 30-minute selection show next year. In the meantime, have you completed your bracket yet? Let the Madness begin!