CBS earned a 4.0 overnight Nielsen rating for the NCAA men’s basketball selection show yesterday from 6:00-7:00pm ET, down 9% from a 4.4 rating last year. That figure is also down from a 4.8 overnight in both ’10 and ’09. ESPN also earned a 1.4 overnight for its "Bracketology" show from 7:00-9:00pm, down 22% from a 1.8 rating last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes CBS' selection show is "good for one thing: revealing the bracket." Expecting "anything more has become unrealistic." CBS "drags out the announcements so long that there is very little time left in the hour show to really dive into the brackets." The "Infiniti NCAA Hardcourt Brackets" show on truTV after the CBS show was "much better at delving into questions." Jones writes give credit to Division I Men’s Basketball Committee Chair Jeff Hathaway and Vice Chair and Xavier AD Mike Bobinski for "not ducking any of those questions" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/12). ESPN’s John Gasaway wrote on his Twitter account, "Jeff Hathaway's body language screams: I'm so glad none of you is Billy Packer." The Newport News Daily Press’ Dave Fairbank wrote, "Greg Gumbel to the Hardcore Brackets panel, once Hathaway stopped explaining: "That help?" Greg Anthony: "No." About sums it up. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg wrote, "I like Seth Davis, he's good. Said committee sent a message about non conference scheduling with Iona in and Michigan State over Missouri." Univ. of Kentucky Athletics New Media Assistant Ryan Suckow wrote, "Seth Davis just sounded really excited when he said, 'Since we're on Tru TV, I'm allowed to say Sex Appeal.' What?"
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: CBS Sports and Turner Sports will combine for a live interview with President Obama and U.K. PM David Cameron on truTV tomorrow during halftime of the first game of this year's First Four. CBS Sports' Clark Kellogg will conduct the interview, which will be the only joint interview the two will give during Cameron's visit to the U.S. (Turner). CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Steve Karasik said, "We were talking with the White House about potentially doing something with the president sometime during March Madness. It came up they were planning on going to Dayton. And the president has a relationship with Clark Kellogg" (USA TODAY, 3/12).
MISSED SHOT: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes with 37 seconds left in Saturday's Kentucky-Florida SEC tournament semifinal game on ABC, Kentucky, "up one, was inbounding from under the basket at which it was shooting ... and ABC/ESPN missed the inbounds pass because it was stuck in some meaningless, full-screen stats billboard." Mushnick also asks, "If the shot from the Goodyear Blimp of the New Orleans Arena shown during ABC/ESPN's Saturday coverage of the SEC semifinals was supposed to be live, why were the parking lots empty?" (N.Y. POST, 3/12). Meanwhile, Mushnick wrote you would think that ESPN's Bobby Knight, given that the net "has purged his preeminent presence from its Coaches Gone Berserk reel since Knight joined ESPN, would show a little network loyalty." But during Friday’s Baylor-Kansas State telecast on ESPN2, he "ridiculed ESPN 'bracketologist' Joe Lunardi as a know-nothing." Mushnick: "Judging from Knight’s ESPN work this season, Lunardi paid far more attention to college hoops than did Knight" (N.Y. POST, 3/11).
THREE'S A CROWD: The TAMPA BAY TIMES' Jones writes he likes ESPN's Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery as college basketball analysts, but he "didn't like them working together with top-flight announcer Sean McDonough during last week's Big East Tournament." Jones: "The Bilas-Raftery pairing just didn't work. ... Three-man booths generally don't work in college basketball no matter how good the announcers are" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 3/12).
SCHEDULING ERRORS: In Charlotte, Giglio & Green Jr. note none of the scheduled 2:00pm ET or 9:00pm games during the ACC tournament "started when the ACC, ESPN and Raycom have claimed they would start." The N.C. State-Virginia game on Friday "didn't tip until 2:31 p.m." The ACC and its TV partners "need to start being honest about the start times" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/12).