Selection Sunday Tweaks


Tomorrow afternoon, CBS will continue its yearly tradition of announcing the teams that will play in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Anxious fans of the 10 or so bubble teams will be nervously watching, ready to exhale with relief…or smash the remote.

The show does a pretty good job of building the drama. They only show a few matchups at a time, and they take plenty of commercial breaks. If you’re a fan of a bubble team, you may not know either way until the last four teams are unveiled.

After that, they go to a talking head who moans about a snub or two, or how a seed line was off. Lately, they’ve had the head of the selection committee on as well; he is tasked with defending the committee’s choices.

I usually head over to The World Wide Bully at this point, to watch Dicky V pop some blood vessels while he emotionally blasts the committee for omitting a team or two. That and I like to see how long it takes Doug Gottleib to rule out Syracuse going to the Final Four (O/U is 13 minutes.)

I’m one of those jerks that doesn’t like to wait half an hour for the bracket to be posted online; I have my blank one, and I scribble in the teams as they are announced. Wouldn’t want to rob myself of 30 minutes of analysis before the first game at 12:18 on Thursday 6:30 on Tuesday.

It’s an enjoyable hour or so, but if CBS really wanted to make it even better, there are some improvements that need to be made.

They have camera crews set up to catch the reactions of some of the bubble teams when they make (or don’t make) the tourney. That I like. But do we really need to see a top-seed celebrating with some of the coaches’ brats? They already know they are in the tourney. They’ve known since Christmas. It looks forced, and its played out.

Get rid of any of those silly moments, and just put the cameras on Joe Lunardi’s last 4 in & last 4 out. Joey Brackets notoriously has a solid handle on the selections, and we will get true, unscripted reactions every time instead of guys dancing like they’ve never been on TV before.

The other improvement is related, but probably harder to correct. After it’s revealed that a bubble team has made it, we are shown that team a few moments later. But inevitably, there are two to three seconds that elapse before we see them go nuts. It’s a little awkward.

I understand that what we are seeing is on delay. But it’s 2012. They don’t have the tech to sync that up better? How hard is it to eliminate those clumsy few seconds and show an immediate reaction?

They do a decent job of showing the dejected bubble teams. But how about interviewing their head coaches right afterwards? We are bound to get some good sound bites – those guys will undoubtedly have a couple of undeserving teams teed up, and won’t hesitate to blast them.

Selection Sunday and the selection show is a pretty good time; it just needs to be adjusted slightly to make it great.

UPDATE: Greg Gumbel is usually solid. But leading into a commercial break, while we were being shown the Creighton team, he said that they were waiting to see if they made it. They got in a week ago when they won the MVC tourney.

Apparently two minutes wasn’t enough time for someone at CBS to tell him that. After the break, the Creighton matchup was shown and the silly celebration ensued. Gumbel then mentioned how relieved they were. That’s a bad job right there.


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