2015 March Madness Begins Tuesday on TSN

TSN will make full use of their five feeds during NCAA March Madness beginning this Tuesday — all but one game will be shown on TSN with the sole game available on TSN GO and possibly CBS. Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim will host alongside analysts Jack Armstrong, Leo Rautins, and Morris Peterson. Former TSN’er Dan Shulman will also join the panel with analysis.

ESPN’s College Gamenight: Bracketology will air tonight at 7pm ET on TSN2 with a preview of all the announced matchups. CBS and CBSSports.com have the Sunday Selection announcement from 6pm ET. CBS will also cover plenty of the action over the next couple weeks for those without cable.

Broadcast schedule below. All times Eastern and information subject to change. Continue reading

2014 NCAA March Madness on TSN

TSN-NCAAbegins300x250thurA little late in posting this (that said, who really watches the (stupidly-named) first round anyway?), but here are all the details you need for the 2014 edition of March Madness on TSN, TSN2 and RDS.

TSN platforms deliver exclusive, live, and complete coverage of NCAA March Madness, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. TSN’s exclusive coverage showcases the numerous top Canadian players competing in NCAA March Madness, including Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis, Melvin Ejim, Kevin Pangos, and more.

TSN platforms give Canadians access to every single game from the tournament, with all rounds available on TSN and TSN2 (see complete broadcast schedule below). New this year, TSN subscribers can live stream the network’s NCAA March Madness coverage on their smartphones, tablets, and computers at no additional charge through TSN GO.

TSN GO will deliver live coverage from all four First Round games as well bonus live streams from all four venues during the Second Round – giving subscribers live streaming access to every game in its entirety.

Multi-platform Coverage

From March 20-21, TSN platforms combine to deliver every game from the Second Round for TSN subscribers:

TSN’s coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on March 20 and at 12 noon ET on March 21
TSN2’s coverage begins at 11 a.m. ET on both days
TSN GO offers TSN subscribers bonus online coverage, with live streams of all four venues delivering all 32 Second Round games in their entirety. Coverage begins at 12 noon ET on both days.
From March 22 to April 5, fans can follow all the action from the Third Round to the Final Four on TSN, TSN2, and TSN GO. The madness culminates with the championship game on Monday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET live on TSN and TSN GO.

French-language coverage of the tournament is available on RDS from the Second Round to the championship game.

Broadcast Team

New this year, Gurdeep Ahluwalia hosts TSN’s NCAA March Madness coverage from the TSN Studio alongside analysts Jack Armstrong, Sam Mitchell, and Leo Rautins. The original studio show features pre- and post-game analysis of the day’s action and live look-ins to various games.

SPORTSCENTRE

Canada’s most-watched sports news and information show covers all angles of the tournament with daily features and reports from NCAA March Madness starting today. Reporters on location for the opening weekend of the tournament include Jermain Franklin in St. Louis to follow Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan, Ont., and Matthew Scianitti in Buffalo to follow Tyler Ennis of Brampton, Ont. As well, SPORTSCENTRE features breaking news, daily highlights, technical breakdowns, bracket updates, and more, all-tournament long.

TSN Original Features

TSN showcases some of the top Canadian players competing in NCAA March Madness with TSN Original features on:

Thornhill, Ont.’s Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), a projected top pick in this year’s NBA Draft
Toronto’s Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), who was just named the Big 12 Conference player of the year
Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), who hails from Brampton, Ont. and is considered the most clutch freshman in NCAA basketball
Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga) of Newmarket, Ont., who led the Bulldogs to another West Coast Conference title
These TSN Original features air throughout the tournament, and will also be available on demand on TSN.ca and TSN GO.

TSN Radio

Live coverage of NCAA March Madness will be available throughout the tournament on TSN Radio stations across the country: TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto, TSN Radio 690 in Montreal, TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg, TSN Radio 1200 in Ottawa,TSN Radio 1260 in Edmonton, and TEAM 1040 in Vancouver. Fans can tune in for select live game action and expert analysis from the Second Round through to the championship game (please visit each station’s dedicated website for broadcast details). Continue reading

2012 March Madness: Last 16 TV Schedule

Sorry I left this to so late, but it has been a busy week. Here is the schedule for the last 16 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. CBS will show 4 of the 8 games. The other four are on TBS in America. Here is the complete schedule.

Thursday March 22
7:15pm, Syracuse vs. Wisconsin – CBS/TSN
7:45pm, Michigan State vs. Louisville – TSN2
9:45pm, Ohio State vs. Cincinnati – CBS
10:15pm, Marquette vs. Florida – TSN2

TSN2 will most likely court surf during the late games (TSN has curling at 9pm ET); however, I’d be shocked if the Marquette game, with star Canadian Junior Cadougan, isn’t the feature game.

Friday March 23
7:15pm, Baylor vs. Xavier – CBS/TSN
7:45pm, North Carolina vs. Ohio – TSN2
9:45pm, Kentucky vs. Indiana – CBS
10:15pm, Kansas vs. NC State

Again, TSN2 will court surf in the late time slot as TSN as curling.

Analyzing 2012 March Madness Coverage

Right then, after a crazy opening round that saw two 15 seeds move on, the NCAA basketball tournament settled down a bit over the weekend. Ohio, a 13 seed, are the lowest seed remaining. One could say the same about TSN’s television coverage in Canada. It started off a bit shaky, but seemed to fall into place over the weekend. There are always those who are dissatisfied with television coverage of a sports event, especially here in Canada where Canadian networks have to live up to the high standards of their US counterparts. However, based on the reaction I received, many viewers think TSN’s coverage has improved significantly from last year.

As a couple of readers said, you can’t beat CBS’s coverage. I couldn’t agree more with this. CBS, especially with TNT’s NBA personalities included, does a spectacular job with the tournament. Let’s not kid ourselves, TSN’s coverage could probably never be as good as CBS’s. But neither could any other Canadian network’s IMO. There just aren’t any basketball studio hosts the calibre of Ernie Johnson or Greg Gumble in Canada. And while Jack Armstrong, Leo Rautins and Sherman Hamilton are knowledgeable, they aren’t Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Seth Davis.

So what has TSN improved from last year? A lot in my opinion. Kate Beirness is more knowledgeable about college hoops than James Cybulski. Not to mention she is a better studio host. Cybulski stumbled over his words and often made mistakes last year. It seems many agree that Beirness looks like did her research before the tournament. She looks prepared.

The rest of TSN’s studio coverage is just about the same as last year. Although Hamilton, Armstrong and Rautins seem more prepared this year than last. Of course all three have a full-time job covering the Toronto Raptors, so much like Barkley and Smith on American TV, they don’t spend most of their time from November until March watching college hoops.

The formula for TSN’s game selection is quite simple. They have usually selected games with a Canadian playing in them. Which is the right move. They have shown some games that are also on CBS, but I don’t see a problem with this when there is a Canadian angle. TSN is a Canadian network, the easiest storyline to draw in the average sports fan (and non-sports fan alike) is when a Canadian is playing. When there are no Canadians, the best game seems to take precedence. TSN also seems to shy away from using CBS coverage when only TSN or TSN2 are showing coverage (and there are others game on). Again, this is the right move. If I had one complaint about TSN’s game selection it is they stay with games that are over a bit too long.

One major way TSN could improve their coverage is online streaming. Many people are at work on Thursday and Friday afternoon. TSN could probably do reasonably well with online streaming. The NCAA’s service is no longer available to Canadians as of this year.

I received one comment saying theScore’s coverage was better. One reason for this (from the same person) was that TSN doesn’t show the whole tournament. This is where I think it is worth pointing out that TSN had 24 (it was actually closer to 25) hours on coverage on Thursday and Friday. Equal to what theScore had in the past. TSN2 supplemented coverage with about 20 hours. There is no possible argument that TSN showed less on Thursday and Friday than theScore.

TSN inevitably had scheduling issues on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday it was MLS and curling. On Sunday, more curling and NASCAR. When the MLS and NASCAR aired there was only one game taking place. That game was on CBS and TSN2, so again, there is no reasonable complaint. As for the curling, the World Women’s Championship is of national interest (remember what I said about storylines for the average sports fan). It is in TSN’s contract that they have to broadcast those games. And why wouldn’t they? Curling is one of the five most watched sports in Canada.

In total, there were games taking place between 8:30pm ET and midnight on Saturday when TSN wasn’t broadcasting coverage (and CBS was on until 10:30). On Sunday from the time CBS went off the air at 7:30pm, TSN came on from 7:30-9:30pm. There was no coverage on Canadian basic cable from 9:30pm until midnight on Sunday.

So, those with basic cable missed out on about 3 hours of the first 48 hours of coverage. Not too bad. Perfect? I suppose not. Certainly better than last year.

As I said, I like TSN’s coverage. I liked theScore’s coverage too, but I didn’t like when I taken from a game I was interested in. At least TSN shows close to full coverage of games. I know not everyone prefers this, but I do. Sure, like many others, I’ll probably move on to CBS next weekend, but I think TSN did a fine job of keeping viewers up-to-date when there was up to four games on this weekend.

Hockey ratings… Basketball fans can bring on the jokes about everything in Canada having to refer to hockey, but I have some hockey ratings from last week. 664, 000 watched Senators @ Canadiens on TSN Wednesday night. That’s less than the Leafs and Canucks draw when they play an American team on Wednesday Night Hockey. Of course Habs ratings have fallen steadily as the playoffs get closer (not for them of course). I hope to have HNIC’s weekend ratings on Monday or Tuesday.

Senators on Saturday… CBC still hasn’t announced the distribution for Hockey Night in Canada this coming weekend. I think Penguins-Senators will go to Ottawa and Atlantic Canada for sure. The Leafs and Habs are both out of the playoff picture, while the Senators and Penguins are fighting for home ice. I think it will also go to British Columbia. Many Canadians receive CBC HD on cable from Toronto and Vancouver. By putting a different game on CBC Vancouver, more Canadians will have access to multiple games in HD. CBC experimented with this earlier this season. I think the Leafs game will air in Alberta though, but I could be wrong. CBC will officially release details early this week.

Formula 1… Ben Edwards, BBC’s new Formula 1 commentator, can get a bit excited, can’t he? Having said that, I think he did a fine job in his first Formula 1 on BBC assignment. It didn’t hurt that he had a thrilling race to call. Him and analyst David Coulthard need to work on their chemistry a bit though. They seemed to talk over each other a bit too much. That will come as they do more races together. Gary Anderson, BBC’s technical analyst in the pits, is a nice addition, but I think he was used too much.

Less McKenzie… BBC seemed to use pit reporter Lee McKenzie sparingly on Sunday. Which was surprising considering popular drivers like Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa didn’t finish. One reason for this could be because the BBC didn’t show the race live. As a result, they may have just shown all of their interviews at the end of their highlights package.

Fabrice Muamba… Let me finish this by asking everyone to keep Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba in your thoughts. Muamba collapsed during Bolton’s FA Cup game against Spurs on Saturday. He is in critical condition. Dan O’Hagan, who commentates on FA Cup matches (he wasn’t working the Bolton vs. Spurs game) said on Twitter, “…would hate to be broadcasting there.” Jon Champion, who was commentating on ESPN in Britain, spoke for the masses when he said “Secretly, we fear the worst, but hope for the best”.

March Madness 3rd Round TV Schedule

The number of major upsets in the NCAA basketball tournament yesterday was simply amazing. Norfolk State beat Missouri (who I had in the Final Four), Lehigh beat perennial favourites Duke, Ohio (not State) beat Michigan. Even South Florida beat Temple, which means a 12 or 13 seed is guaranteed a spot in the Sweet 16. There are a total of 16 second  round games over the next two days. CBS will show 7 of them. Here is the complete schedule.

Saturday March 17
12:15pm – (1) Syracuse vs. (8) Kansas State – CBS/TSN2
2:45pm – (2) Ohio State vs. (7) Gonzaga – CBS/TSN2
5:15pm – (3) Marquette vs. (6) Murray State – CBS
6:10pm – (4) Vanderbilt vs. (5) Wisconsin
7:10pm – (4) Indiana vs. (12) VCU
7:45pm – (1) Kentucky vs. (8) Iowa State – CBS
8:40pm – (3) Baylor vs. (11) Colorado
9:40pm – (4) Louisville vs. (5) New Mexico

TSN has coverage from 5 until 8:30pm ET. TSN2 has coverage from noon until the conclusion of play.

If I had to guess, I think TSN will show Vanderbilt vs. Wisconsin. I think TSN2 will show Marquette vs. Murray State, then most of Indiana vs. VCU and then court surf around the remaining games after that.

Sunday March 18
12:15pm – (3) Georgetown vs. (11) NC State – CBS/TSN2
2:45pm – (1) Michigan State vs. (9) Saint Louis – CBS/TSN2
5:15pm – (1) North Carolina vs. (8) Creighton – CBS
6:10pm – (7) Florida vs. (15) Norfolk State
7:10pm – (12) South Florida vs. (13) Ohio
7:45pm – (10) Xavier vs. (15) Lehigh
8:40pm – (2) Kansas vs. (10) Purdue
9:40pm – (3) Florida State vs. (6) Cincinnati

TSN has coverage from 7:30 until 9:30pm ET. TSN2 again has coverage from noon until the conclusion of play.

If I had to guess, TSN will show South Florida vs. Ohio. That would leave TSN2 to court surf between the other games. The only really attractive games after North Carolina vs. Creighton (from a TV perspective at least) are Kansas vs. Purdue and FSU vs. Cincinnati.

March Madness Starts Tomorrow

The 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament, commonly known and branded as March Madness, begins tomorrow with first second round games. TSN and TSN2 return as Canadian broadcasters, with increased coverage this year. CBS will also broadcast 26 games, including every game from the regional finals until the final.

Now a shameless plug asking everyone to join my March Madness bracket on Yahoo!. The Group ID is 76558 and the password is undfinal4 (even I, an Irish fan, don’t see them getting by the round of 32 though). I think I’m the defending champion (can’t remember if it was that bracket I won last year or another), so I need challengers to beat me.

Here is TSN’s press release.

Canada’s Sports Leader gives hoops fans all the slam-dunkin’, fist-pumpin’ and bracket-bustin’ action they can handle this month as TSN and TSN2 team up to deliver complete live coverage of one of the most anticipated tournaments of the year – the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, otherwise known as NCAA® MARCH MADNESS®.

Coverage tips off in Canada on Thursday, March 15 with Second Round match-ups beginning at 11 a.m. ET on TSN2 and 12 noon ET on TSN (see broadcast schedule below). The tournament culminates with the championship game on Monday, April 2 at 9 p.m. ET live on TSN.

Fans can also catch live game action on TSN Mobile TV throughout the tournament. In addition, French-language coverage of NCAA March Madness is available on RDS.

Leading up to the Round of 64, TSN.ca has live streaming of the First Four round match-ups on March 13 and 14 beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET each night.

Complementing TSN’s coverage, Bell offers its Bell Fibe TV, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Mobile TV customers complete and uninterrupted coverage of all games in the first four rounds of the tournament with the NCAA March Madness Package, which includes the First Four match-ups that are not broadcast on television in Canada. For more information and to subscribe visit Bell.ca/MarchMadness.

Kate Beirness will anchor TSN’s coverage with analysts Dan Shulman, Jack Armstrong, Leo Rautins and Sherman Hamilton joining her in studio. Greg Gumble and Ernie Johnson will anchor coverage on CBS along with analysts Seth Davis, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

Continue reading

Looking Ahead to March Madness

The 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, is only about a week away. TSN and TSN2 have released their skeleton schedule. The question many Canadians have is how many games will air on Canadian TV this year. I can only guess until the second round schedule is released Sunday. So, here are my guesses.

The second round (or round of 64) takes place next Thursday and Friday. TSN2 will begin coverage at 11am ET with TruTV’s pregame show both days. TSN will begin coverage at 12pm ET with the first game of the day (from CBS). Due to the large number of games (there are 3-4 on at any one time), it is hard to predict what TSN will show. Teams that have Canadian players will take precedence.

TSN will have a window from noon through 6:30pm and 7pm until the end of play. TSN2 will have coverage from 12:30pm until the conclusion of play. This should allow for TSN to show all or most of 5 games and TSN2 to show all or most of 5-6 games. There are 16 games on each Thursday and Friday, so more than half of those will be available on TSN or TSN2.

The third round (or round of 32) is a lot easier to predict. The schedule should look something like this on Saturday.

TSN2 – Games at 12pm ET (CBS), 2:30pm ET (CBS), 5pm ET (CBS), 7pm ET (TBS), 8:30pm ET (TNT) and 9:30pm ET (TBS)
TSN – One game at 6pm ET (TNT)

And on Sunday

TSN2 – 12pm ET (CBS), 2:30pm ET (CBS), 5pm ET (CBS), 6pm ET (TNT), 8:30pm ET (TNT), 9:30pm ET (TBS)
TSN – One game at 7:30pm ET (TBS)

Most of the round of 32 games will get at least some coverage on TSN or TSN2.

TSN and TSN2 will each show four Sweet 16 games, as every game from that round-on is on Canadian TV (CBS will also show four games). TSN2 will show all four Elite 8 games (these are also on CBS), while TSN will show the Final Four and the Championship game (again, these are also on CBS).

Coverage of the tournament has certainly improved over last year, when TSN scooped up rights after scheduling NHL games during the first few rounds of the tournament.

A Busy Final Few Weeks in College Basketball

The college basketball regular season is winding down, which means March Madness is just around the corner. There is lots of college basketball on Canadian TV over the next few weeks, including over the final week of the regular season. Here is the complete schedule.

Saturday 2/25
12:00pm, Vanderbilt @ 1 Kentucky – CBS
2:00pm, Villanova @ 8 Georgetown – CBS*
2:00pm, UCLA @ Arizona – CBS*
4:00pm, 3 Missouri @ 5 Kansas – CBS
4:00pm, 7 North Carolina @ Virginia – TSN2
6:00pm, Mississippi St @ Alabama – TSN2

Sunday 2/26
2:00pm, Pittsburgh @ 17 Louisville – CBS
4:00pm, 15 Wisconsin @ 9 Ohio St – CBS

Tuesday 2/28
7:00pm, 6 Michigan St @ 24 Indiana – theScore

Wednesday 2/29
7:00pm, 10 Marquette @ Cincinnati – theScore
9:00pm, Oklahoma @ Texas – theScore

Saturday 3/3
12:00pm, Pittsburgh @ Connecticut – TSN2
12:00pm, Memphis @ Tulsa – CBS
2:00pm, Washington @ UCLA – CBS
4:00pm, 17 Louisville @ 2 Cincinnati – CBS

Sunday 3/4
12:00pm, 1 Kentucky @ 11 Florida – CBS
4:00pm, 9 Ohio St @ 6 Michigan St – CBS

*Regional coverage

Continue reading

theScore Signs New NCAA Deal with Fox Sports

theScore has signed a new US college sports rights agreement with Fox Sports International to show FOX’s (including FSN, FX and FOX itself) broadcasts of college football, college basketball and college hockey beginning this winter. This package is similar to the package of college football and basketball games that Sportsnet showed last year. Here is the press release from theScore.

Score Media Inc. today announces that it has entered into a long-term programming agreement with FOX International Sports Channels that includes at least 250 hours per year of live collegiate content and other FOX Sports and FUEL TV programming. Featuring top college football, basketball and hockey games, the deal includes some of America’s top college conferences including the Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

“We are thrilled to have concluded this deal with FOX,” says Benjie Levy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Score Media Inc. “Score viewers are huge fans of college sports, and as part of this deal, they can now look forward to more coverage than ever before, including games featuring powerhouse schools like Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC, Stanford and Memphis.”

Given the Canadian sports fans’ love for quality ice hockey, the deal features live coverage of top-flight programs including the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of Denver and the University of North Dakota. These schools have produced NHL stars including Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, and feature numerous Canadian players on their current rosters.

“FOX Sports Media Group is home to some of the best collegiate sports action in the U.S., and we’re excited to make much of it available to Canadian fans through this agreement with Score Media,” said Sean Riley, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Fox Networks. “Whether its hockey, football or basketball, this package includes great matchups nearly every week of the academic year.”

More information to come…

Week in Review

I probably won’t have a lot of time to write this week, so I instead of writing a few different pieces, I will probably only have this one. That is unless something big comes up.

  • I received my fair share of criticism for saying I liked the way TSN covers NCAA March Madness. Let me be clear, their coverage wasn’t perfect. Some major gaffes I noticed including TSN2 cutting coverage short for tape delayed curling last Saturday and Sunday even though there were still two games going on. Thank goodness, they fixed this on Thursday when TSN2 stayed on until the completion of their game. Also on Thursday TSN made the choice to show UConn-San Diego State (which was available on CBS) over  a better matchup between Florida and BYU.  This was quite simply the wrong decision, especially considering Florida-BYU was the better matchup. They did make the switch at halftime though. On Friday TSN actually made the right choices showing both TBS games. TSN2 also stayed on the air a full 35 minutes longer than they were supposed to until the NHL on TSN broadcast concluded. I think they might actually get how to broadcast the tournament now. I say give them another chance next year and the coverage will improve significantly. Unless you like Court Surfing that is, because they probably won’t bring that back.
  • Another problem with TSN’s coverage was the studio show. I thought the analysts were good, but they all seemed to lack a little. The addition of Dan Shulman on Thursday night helped a lot. James Cybulski is quite simply a terrible host. This confuses me because he is an excellent reporter. While I like all of Sherman Hamilton, Leo Rautins and Jack Armstrong, they just don’t have enough time to follow college basketball because they work NBA games the rest of the year. For next year I’d like to see TSN bring in Rod Black to host, as well as a coach of a US college team as a guest analyst. Of course it would make sense if this person was Canadian. Another option would be to bring in an ESPN analyst. I’d like to see Hamilton, Rautins and Armstrong remain involved though. By the way, Dan Shulman will be back on TSN2’s coverage of the National Championship game next Monday night.
  • I think that the CBS/Turner combination has worked out great. Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith add a lot to CBS’s studio show. It is also great to hear Marv Albert calling college basketball, especially for someone like me who doesn’t really watch the NBA. There were people in the US who complained about some games being on cable, but now every game is available nationally. That isn’t as big of an issue as half the games being online only, like happened in the first and second round during the CBS regional days.
  • I was pleasantly surprised about how good TSN’s MLS coverage is. It didn’t surprise me at all that Luke Wileman and Jason deVos are one of the best broadcast teams in MLS, but the presentation of the games was better than I expected. Usually Canada is only better than the US at broadcasting hockey, but TSN’s MLS broadcast team is better than ESPN’s crew of the dreadfully boring Adrian Healey and John Harkes, who talks too much without really saying a lot.
  • Formula One make its high definition debut this morning on TSN. I won’t go on an annual spiel about TSN’s coverage, but I think we all agree it has gone downhill since they began forcing blackouts on Speed’s coverage a few years back. There was a point where I loved TSN’s coverage, now I almost long for Speed. BBC’s new commentary team of Martin Brundle and David Clouthard didn’t really impress me. Brundle is far better than Jonathan Legard was, but I still prefer ITV’s James Allen. As I did last year, I listened to BBC Radio 5 Live’s commentary with David Croft this morning. Amazingly, it syncs up perfectly with the TSN video feed. I still think Croft should have been promoted to the BBC TV job this year.

The Fab Five Premieres Monday on TSN

ESPN’s critically acclaimed documentary The Fab Five premieres on Monday March 28 at 8:00pm ET. The Fab Five details the history of the early ’90s Michigan Wolverines basketball team. Jalen Rose, a member of the team is also part of the production crew as an executive producer. The special revolves around the Michigan starting lineup from the early 1992 and 1993, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Chris Webber. This is generally regarded as one of the best starting lineups in college basketball history and they have become known as the Fab Five. They made it to back-to-back National Championship games.

Here is a quote from Rose

I hated Duke, and I hated everything Duke stood for. Schools like Duke don’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.

A Response to NCAA Hoops Fans

Okay I really need to get this off my chest because I feel like some people don’t understand why I say I like the way TSN covers the NCAA tournament. Others don’t understand why I’m so pissed that everyone complains. It all came to a head this evening for me when one reader accused me of being a TSN employee. So let me state for the fact, I do not work for TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, The Score, CBC or any other Canadian media organization. I have no ties to them whatsoever and I’ve never even met anyone who works for a Canadian sports network. As a writer I take great pride in being impartial and giving every broadcast on every network its fair shot. Any time someone questions my impartiality it bothers me more than anything else someone could say to me.

First I have to say that you, the Canadian basketball fans, have made me really jaded about watching March Madness this year. I find it isn’t even worth the effort because all I see is people complaining. I have never been this put off about watching a sports broadcast by that sport’s fans before in my life. I would consider myself a casual basketball fan. I watch a few regular season (mostly Big East and Big 12) college games, and March Madness. I don’t watch NBA much at all.

Now, I have to philosophies that I use in life that apply to this in someway

1) I really don’t like complainers. In fact complaining is my biggest pet peeve. If you don’t like something, do something about it. Don’t just whine. I much prefer to appreciate what I have, not complain about what I don’t have.

2) When I watch a sports event, I like watching it from start to finish. For basketball, from when the clock reads 20:00 1st until it reads triple zeros in the 2nd.

So, you may ask, how does this apply to college basketball. Well the first one explains why I hate it when people complain. It isn’t necessarily because I disagree with you and it certainly isn’t because I don’t respect your right to your opinion (although I feel some people don’t respect my right to my opinion), it is because it is my biggest pet peeve, by a long shot. Not a lot of things tick me off, but people complaining about every little thing does. The second tells you why I like TSN’s way of presenting coverage. I don’t care what network the coverage is on, if Sportsnet or The Score presented it in the same way, I’d like it just as much. The thing that gives TSN an advantage over The Score is having two channels. Sportsnet also has an advantage over TSN because they have 5 channels.  NCAA would work perfect on Sportsnet, I’ve said that ever since they lost it.

If you really don’t like TSN’s coverage, then don’t watch it. Watch CBS only. Don’t buy from TSN’s advertisers. Don’t ever buy chocolate milk again. Never watch TSN again in your life. These are actions you can take to show TSN that you don’t like their coverage. Don’t just complain. It annoys the hell out of the rest of us.

Lastly, of course I have a bias when I write an opinion piece. An opinion and a bias are the same thing. If you find me an opinion piece that is completely unbiased, I’ll write a long rant about how bad TSN’s March Madness coverage is. I challenge you basketball fans of Canada. Yesterday’s piece was just that, an opinion piece. It was my opinion. I don’t really care if any of you agree with it. My longtime readers (you guys know who you are) have never lashed out at me for being a TSN employee. Those are the guys who I care what they think. Any first time readers who are just coming here to complain, I honestly couldn’t care less what you think of me. I couldn’t care less if you think I work for TSN. If you don’t like what I write, go start your own sports media blog and comeback when you get 1000 page views a day. Hell, even better start you own blog on how biased my blog is. I don’t give a shit.

March Madness Schedule: March 19 & 20

Here is what you can expect to see on CBS, TSN and TSN2 this weekend. As usual, TSN games are just a solid guess

Saturday
12:00pm, West Virginia vs. Kentucky – CBS, TSN
2:30pm, Florida vs. UCLA – CBS, TSN
5:00pm, Morehead State vs. Richmond – CBS, TSN2
7:00pm, Butler vs. Pittsburgh – TSN2
7:30pm, Brigham Young vs. Gonzaga – CBS
8:30pm, Wisconsin vs. Kansas State – TSN2 (JIP)
10:00pm, Connecticut vs. Cincinnati – TSN

Sunday
12:00pm, North Carolina vs. Washington – CBS
2:30pm, Duke vs. Michigan – CBS, TSN2
5:00pm, Ohio State vs. George Mason – CBS
6:00pm, Texas vs. Arizona – TSN2
8:30pm, Kansas vs. Illinois – TSN2
9:30pm, Notre Dame vs. Florida State – TSN

It would be nice if TSN didn’t have to air the Raptors game on Sunday. They already traded one set of games with Sportsnet to avoid a TSN2 conflict on Friday night. If TSN didn’t have to show NBA, the Sunday evening schedule could work like this
5:00pm, Ohio State vs. George Mason – TSN2
6:00pm, Texas vs. Arizona – TSN
7:30pm, Syracuse vs. Marquette – TSN2
8:30pm, Kansas vs. Illinois – TSN
9:30pm, Notre Dame vs. Florida State – TSN2

Then we’d only be missing out on one game on Sunday. As it stands now, we will probably miss one on Saturday and two Sunday games.

Analyzing NCAA March Madness on TSN

There seem to be a lot of people complaining about TSN’s March Madness coverage so far. Personally, I haven’t noticed too many problems. First off, I love that TSN actually airs full games. This was the one spot where I strongly disliked The Score’s coverage. If I’m going to sit down and watch a basketball game, I want to watch it from start to finish. The only exception would be if the game becomes a blowout and a more competitive game is available. I also haven’t noticed any major problems with TSN’s studio presentation. James Cybulski can be a bit annoying at times, but he has better today. I also really like Jack Armstrong, Sherman Hamilton and Leo Rautins. These are the three best basketball analysts in Canada.

Okay, so now that we have the fact that I prefer full games to The Score’s courtsurfing style, let’s move on to some major issues. One thing a lot of people have complained about is TSN2’s role. I love being able to flip back and forth between TSN and TSN2 to see two different games. That is something else that The Score can’t do. If you don’t get TSN2, then that’s too bad for you. You have to pay to get more and those of us who do pay enjoy it. And let’s face it, TSN2 has been on the air for a while now. Every major cable and satellite provider carries it. If you are a fan of college hoops it is already a must have because it has ESPN games all season long, with 2 or even 3 on most weeks in January and February. Remember, not everyone gets The Score either. I didn’t when I had Rogers Cable.

Another issue a lot of people have had is TSN’s choice of games. Some people are complaining about TSN airing the same games as CBS. First, overlap has been minimal. Make no mistake, TSN airs programming to make money. Making money is the point of running a business. It is no different than Walmart, McDonalds or any other business. Is customer satisfaction important, of course. If you aren’t satisfied with TSN’s coverage, then simply don’t watch TSN. If TSN thinks more people will watch a Gonzaga-St. John’s game, even if it is on CBS, then they will show it. And why shouldn’t they? Gonzaga is loaded with Canadians and that is the best way to appeal to Canadians who don’t follow college basketball 11 months a year. Also, don’t think TSN is the only network in it to make money. Trust me when I say CBS and Turner are doing everything they can to make as much money as possible.

Now on to the NHL game TSN had scheduled tonight between the Canadiens and Rangers. First, it is key to remember that the Canadiens can bring in 10 times the ratings that college basketball can. Second, TSN drew up their NHL schedule in August. Canadian March Madness rights weren’t sold until February. Because of contractual obligations, there is no way TSN could get out of airing that game. If they tried to (which they would be stupid to do) they would probably get sued by the Canadiens, NHL and all of their advertisers. Also their contract with the NHL may be voided, and the NHL certainly would hold it against them in the future. All of that to air a basketball game with 10 times less the ratings. That obviously doesn’t make sense. I think that next year TSN will schedule NHL games around their March Madness coverage. For example, scheduling a bunch of games on Tuesday/Wednesday and none on Thursday/Friday. They already do this for things like the Brier and Scotties.

Also remember, as in any new broadcast, there will be growing pains. Is there anyway that TSN’s studio can compete with the likes of Greg Gumble, Ernie Johnson Jr., Charles Barkey, Greg Anthony and Kenny Smith over at CBS? No. But they could have taken the best non-CBS/Turner basketball commentators and still not be able to compete with those networks. I do like to hear how Canadians are doing on TSN’s studio show though. Has TSN’s coverage been perfect? Nope. For example this afternoon TSN and TSN2 (as well as CBS) were all airing the same game at one point. I suppose they were trying to fix what people complained about on Thursday, not being able to see the end of close games on TSN. Then the same people complained about TSN and TSN2 airing the same game. You just can’t win with some people.

When people complain, I just want you to remember a couple things:
1) TSN is a business, their goal is to make money
2) Some people like seeing full games

I’ve basically had people tell me I’m crazy because I like watching full games these past couple days. If there is one word I’d use to describe Canadian sports fans, it is honestly complainers. That isn’t meant to be a slight, but I’ve never seen any other country complain about their sports broadcasts the way we do. I think some people have spent more time complaining than watching the spectacular basketball the past couple days. Trust me when I say you will enjoy it a hell of a lot more if you just sit back and accept that you can’t control how the coverage works anyway. Let’s just enjoy the great basketball coverage. And with that, I’m off to watch Georgetown (hopefully) lose to Virginia Commonwealth on TSN2. A game I wouldn’t have been able to watch all when The Score had rights. Have a good weekend everyone.

One final thought, I’d prefer if Sportsnet had the coverage. They are the only network in Canada that could air almost every game.