Because daylight saving time kicks in over the weekend, some of us will lose three hours on Sunday.
Two hours, beginning at 5 p.m. And to think, people complain baseball games go on too long?
You simply can’t have one shining moment when you’re trying to fill 120 minutes completing a chart with 68 teams and 34 opening games.
Setting aside commercial time and pauses for a studio audience in Atlanta applauding on cue, that still leaves an awful lot of time to say things like:
“The Kansas Jayhawks, top seed in the West, will face Radford on Thursday in Wichita. For the Big South champion Highlanders of Virginia, it will be their third-ever NCAA appearance and first since losing to eventual 2009 champion North Carolina.”
One almost feels sorry for hosts Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel and analysts Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley, Seth Davis and Kenny Smith.
This two-hour March Maddening thing is something no viewer sought and yet enough tolerate to make it plausible.
Part of the stall this year is to name all 68 tournament teams in the first 10 minutes before getting into the business of brackets.
That keeps a few schools and their fans on the fringe of inclusion from going berserk.
The brackets, however, are what the bulk of those watching — whether on TV or streaming — care about. TBS has promised to complete the matchups by the end of the first hour rather than string everyone as frustratingly as CBS did two years ago.
While this too is mildly reassuring, it factors into why the casual fan no longer is compelled to watch with pencil in hand. That, in concert with the factors driving TV viewership down generally, has greased slipping ratings and made it easier for CBS to bid adieu to the telecast while co-producing it with Turner.
The casual fan may follow a school and care if they’re in or not and, if they’re in, when, where and whom they play.
The real lure is for The Office Pool, which is one of the few phrases associated with the tournament the NCAA has not trademarked the way it has March Madness, The Big Dance, Elite Eight, First Four and Final Four and The Road to San Antonio.
The whole second hour of the TBS show is supposed to be analysis, interviews and guessing who advances and why. But this threatens to be overkill.
What else have college basketball analysts been talking about since Groundhog Day?
Recall last weekend. No sooner had Chicago’s Loyola Ramblers earned their first tournament berth since 1985 than TV people were speculating as to whether they would be an 11th seed or No. 12 and predicting they would give some opponent trouble.
Whatever surprises the actual tournament field holds – and, please, refrain from the misuse of the word “snub,” which implies disdain — it will have been anticipated and discussed ad nauseam long before the actual brackets are released.
Never mind that Turner and CBS also are collaborating on a four-hour pre-selection show streaming via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, NCAA.com and Bleacher Report beginning at 1 p.m.
Then there’s the coverage throughout the day elsewhere, such as on ESPN’s various outlets.
Frankly, the most intriguing unanswered question about this year’s tournament is expected to remain speculative even after the champ cuts down the nets on April 2.
It concerns the implications of the ongoing federal probe into the use of shoe-company money for bribes and kickbacks to influence top recruits.
Assistant coaches for USC, Arizona, Auburn and Oklahoma State were among those arrested in September, and there have been jokes ever since about how much of the tournament field ultimately will be exposed to the scandal.
It’s always fun to watch Barkley reacquaint himself with college basketball on live TV as he studies the brackets. But the corruption angle is one on which he could come out at full speed if he and his colleagues opt to give it more than lip service.
No one can say there isn’t time to discuss it.
But this is what it is and what it seems determined to be. To watch is to endorse it. Kind of like watching “The Bachelor.” So long as it’s endured by viewers, it will endure.