DAVID BIANCULLI

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Nights of the Round(ball) Table: TV Coverage to Please Lance a Lot
March 20, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
If March Madness is an annual illness, TV, satellite and computer technology have combined to make it a pop-culture pandemic. There are 64 games in the NCAA men's basketball brackets -- and if you subscribe to the right cable or satellite system, purchase the right package, or have signed up for a free VIP pass to watch streaming video on your computer at home or (gasp!) at work, it's all available.

On some systems, you can watch four games at the same time, split into quadrants so you don't get upset by missing an upset. (You can listen to only one game at a time, but, hey, that's show biz.)

ncaa-mar-20.jpg

And if your local CBS affiliate isn't showing the regional game you want to see -- in the first round today and tomorrow, up to four games are played simultaneously) -- you can switch to your cable or satellite sports package, or head straight to ncaasports.com and watch the game on your computer. There's a name for this service, MMOD, which stands for March Madness On Demand.

It may as well be called WNSB. As in, Who Needs Sports Bars?

My daughter, Kristin, has a boyfriend -- let's call him Lance, because that's his name -- whose default TV setting is ESPN, and who lives for the kind of concentrated, unpredictable sports event that is March Madness.

Lance probably knows, for example, that Xavier has a 27-6 record, and is heavily favored to beat Georgia (17-16) when the two teams square off in one of today's four simultaneous opening contests. Me, I just know that Xavier was the full name of Professor X, who ran the X-Men. And that's from the original 12-cent comic book, not the recent movies.

But I love watching March Madness, just as I enjoy watching the Olympics -- although, the rest of the year, I ignore college basketball just as fervently as I ignore televised skating and skiing. Curling, that's another matter... but I digress.

March Madness, for me, is all about the upsets, about watching a Villanova turn into a Cinderella. Today, for example, two of the bottom-seeded teams, ranked No. 16 in their divisions, face No. 1 teams. Portland State, with a 23-9 record, goes up against top-ranked Kansas (21-3) at 12:25 p.m. ET. Later, in prime time, the 16th-ranked Mississippi Valley State players (17-15) have to face No. 1 UCLA (31-3) at 9:55 p.m. ET. Both games should be routs, but there's always the chance they won't be... and that's why they're my favorite games to watch.

I have 12 TVs in my basement office, hooked up to enough different satellite, cable and over-the-air broadcast sources that I usually can find most games I want to catch. Lance, a few years ago, I'm guessing, would have planted himself in a sports bar. But now, thanks to technology, all he needs is a broadband cable hookup, and to have paid the cable bill, and he's set.

Technology marches on... and, in this case, March Madness is on.

 

2 Comments

 

Floppy said:

TV Worth Watching, aka The Lance-a-lot Link! (Oh, what a horribly bad -- a.k.a. wonderfully good -- pun. Chimpy marvelous. -- David B)

Comment posted on March 20, 2008 8:43 AM


Lance said:

David,

Unfortunately, my beloved Kent State Golden Flashes laid an egg in today's first round match-up! You are truly the "King" of all TV critics, and I am a regular when it comes to reading your witty blog, analysis and articles from all types of media! Keep up the great work! The excitement of an intense Final Four could only be surpassed by the Democratic Convention and Hillary's SUPER DELEGATES!!! (Lance -- Glad you liked the shout-out, and sorry your Hot Flashes, or whatever, didn't play to your expectations. Speaking of hot flashes... lay off the Hillary jokes. But keep listening to the Beatles -- David B)

Comment posted on March 20, 2008 6:46 PM

 
 
 
 
 
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