A Change for the Better, or a Plan for the Worst

Turner Broadcasting is just pulling the rug out from everyone.  First it was the surprise deal that Coco had not signed with Fox, but with TBS.  Now, the NCAA is on the verge of opting out of their TV contract and signing with CBS and not ESPN, but TBS/TNT/TruTV.  And the more surprising part?  Instead of 96 teams, it looks like it will be 68 teams, which is manageable for us March Madness bracket folks.

It looks like, for the time being, that even though they are only going to just 68 teams, the number of live broadcasts that could be shown in their entirety will go from around 27 to all 67 games.  If you had four TVs, you could watch all 4 simultaneous games on that first day (okay, technically, second, but who counts the Play-In Games as a real day?) without having to pay extra (i.e., DirecTV).  Overkill?  I think it’ll enhance interest because you have a choice of watching which game instead of CBS telling you you have to watch the Duke game and then just show the last 10 seconds of a great game.

But, starting in 2016, TNT will get the Final Four every other week.  I like the major events on a free broadcast network.  Who watches the NBA All-Star game now that it’s on TNT?  Who watches hockey now that it’s on Versus (or VS. or whatever)?  Except for Monday Night Football, ratings and availability seem to go down when moving from broadcast to cable.  But that’s reality.  On the flip side, it may be even easier to catch games on planes with TVs since they usually have TNT/TBS (but probably not TruTV) whereas they don’t have local CBS stations.

The other unknown is what will happen with teams 66-68.  It seems the simplest would be to have four Opening Round games (whether it be 61 v 68 etc. or 61 v 62 etc.) and the winners play the #1 seed in each Region.  But in recent years, they have made it a point to have the Tuesday Opening Round winner play the next game on Friday (which is why the #1 overall seed doesn’t always play the Opening Round winner).  So are we going to have games on Monday & Tuesday now?  Going this route also further diminishes the lower rung conferences by relegating them to these not-really-a-part-of-the-tournament Opening Round games.  Meaning four teams, some who may have made their first NCAA tournament, will not see the 1st Round where the fun really starts.  It seems like the extra 3 teams will be at-large bids but maybe the NCAA will give these out to some mid-major or lower conference regular season winners who didn’t win their tournament… nah.

What I’m worried about, like with Health Care Reform, this is just a baby step just to get a foot in the door, and the horrible aspects will come out later.  Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim even hints at this in that he hopes this leads to further expansion (e.g., 96) of the bracket.

What does this mean to our pool?  If the four opening round games are playing #1 seeds, they we just have four “PLAY-IN” winners instead of one.  Everything else remains the same.  But until the deal is finalized, we aren’t sure yet.  We should know soon!

This Would Be an Upset…

…if UConn women’s team wins by less than 10 points tonight, which they haven’t done in 77 games. Or possibly even lose? Couldn’t find the line for the game, but I suspect it’s less than double digits. I will still be at work, but I’ll definitely try to follow this game just in case the miracle happens.

UPDATE: At the half, Stanford 20-12. Can’t wait for the pundits to call this the greatest game ever! OK, they are shooting a horribly combined 21.7% from the field and have committed 13 turnovers. Sounds ugly to me.

Duke University Wins!

I never thought I’d write this, and you may need to note this, but for once, I was not sick of the pro-Duke telecast… I was sick of the pro-Butler telecast.  Butler played a great game?  They once again had an embarrassing field goal drought late in the game, every shot seemed to be blocked, and they couldn’t hit free throws.  But they did make a good story. And boy, that last second shot almost banked in.

Executive decision! There is now a 6th place prize. Okay, just kidding. I guess there’s nothing wrong with 6th place. Congrats to the winners:

2010 HWCI NCAA Final Report           04/05/10
 # Correct --by Round-- Final

Rank            Name   1 2 3 4 5 6 Score   Prize  Tie Dif
--- ---------------------- -- -- - - - - -----  -------- --- ---
 1 Blue Devil Blues       24 10 4 2 1 1   126    500.00 169  49
 2 You're My Boy Blue     26 10 5 1 1 0   116    255.00 137  17
 3 Eros                   23  9 4 1 1 1   115    175.00 129   9
 4 Hummeless              26 10 3 2 1 0   114    120.00 145  25
 5 FOMI                   18  9 4 2 1 1   111     80.00 140  20

And the $40 Bonus Winner:  Has No Idea (Van P) who was the only one who got the total points of 120 exactly.

Three Are In, Three To Go

Well, no internet at the in-laws and we were eating at a Chinese-Vietnamese fusion restaurant (so no bar) during the Duke-West Virginia game, but I did have a backup just in case it was a close game, thanks to getting good reception in the car for the CBS HD feed on my laptop.

Congrats to Joe D (You’re My Boy Blue, 1st or 2nd), Kevin J (Hummeless, 2nd-4th), and Kim B (Blue Devil Blues, 1st-3rd) for being guaranteed money, and all for the first time!  Six are vying for the remaining two money spots and 47-48 are vying for the $40 Bonus.

Mid-Major Break-In

Well, this game didn’t matter in the standings or bonus, just who you thought would be a better team to either beat Duke/WV or lose to Duke/WV. After watching the second half, blech. Butler went almost 11 minutes (until 1:35 left in the game) without a field goal and in that span committed four turnovers, missed ten field goals, and missed three free throws (including a front end of a one-and-one), and still WON the game. This is the mid-major we should aspire to?  But even playing in their home city, that huge arena didn’t seem to feel like a home game.

And we wait…

A few more days until the Final Four starts so hopefully everyone has gotten a good break from games. Don’t forget, 44-48 entries now have a chance to win the $40 bonus, so all hope is not lost. In the meantime, congrats to UNC for making the NIT final, which means they actually cared to play. And sorry for Oregon St. for not defending their CBI title.