Sunday, March 06, 2011

2011 NCAA Tournament TV schedule: a mix of CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV

Once upon a time (such as last year), almost all the NCAA tournament coverage (except for the opening round game and a couple of Pacific-time lunch time games) was through CBS. The plus was you didn't have to remember which channel to watch. The minus was that you only got one game at a time. The internets however saved the day in recent years, as the NCAA made those games available online for free!

Things change in 2011
But starting with the 2011 NCAA Tournament things are changing! On the plus side, every single game is going to be on TV, live and in its entirety. No more screaming at the CBS monkey for showing the wrong game. The negative with this is that the games are going to be on four different channels, CBS, and three cable channels, TBS, TNT and TruTV, which is the artist formerly known as CourtTV. Make sure you find those on your cable or satellite system and check to see if they have HD (high-definition) versions available.

The schedule of the games is also slightly getting adjusted so as to prevent multiple games ending at the same time. This of course is not easy to do, because some games take longer than others, and that's before we consider overtimes.

Changes in announcer teams and studio coverage
Another interesting development is that the announcement and studio teams are merging into a giant "dream team" of basketball broadcasters. On the plus side, we are getting the one and only Charles Barkley in the studio, so we finally have someone who speaks his mind :)

TBS/TNT will also contribute one of the eight announcement teams, with Steve Kerr and Marv "I was wearing ex-girlfriend clothes before it was trendy" Albert. This means one of the eight traditional CBS duos is going to be left out. With Dick Enberg retiring, and Jay Bilas already having a gig at ESPN, Jay Bilas is indeed the odd man out.

Reggie Miller will also be joining in the Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner duo, which is a big plus. The Ferengi ambassador to Earth was very pleased!

Sadly, still no Marques Johnson, so we have to suffer through games with idiots like Bob Wenzel and the more boring than watching-paint-dry boring duo of Ion Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.

Internet still free
The other good news is that the games will continue to be available for free online, and with computers and broadband getting cheaper infrastructure-wise, we should expect/hope that each year things will be better than previous online years.

TV schedule information around the net
* with nice graphics showing the blocks of time with games
* Wikipedia

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