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The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map. This week’s blog is from Eric Posman, a producer/writer on college sports for ESPN and ABC who lives in downtown Savannah with his two children. When not eating/living/breathing college sports, Eric is an All Star member of The Creative Coast’s TEDx team. Read on for Eric’s ponderings on green beer and basketball….
So let’s fast forward: you’ve spent the wee hours of the morning setting up camp in your favorite square or you’ve been on your feet all day trudging through downtown to take in as much of the scene as possible. Now it’s mid-day, and you’re overspent.
What better way to recharge or relax but with 10 hours of live college basketball right in the heart of the sport’s biggest spectacle? I guess if Notre Dame were on in an Irish pub in Savannah that would be the nexus of March Madness indeed.
So here are some things to keep you focused while you’re clearing out the cobwebs:
1) Your Bracket
Saturday begins a frantic weekend stretch when the field gets whittled down to the Sweet 16. Chances are a couple of the traditional early-round upsets have already taken place and the Titans have already beaten up on the Also-rans.
Your bracket is looking just as solid as Dick Vitale’s or President Obama’s. But now anybody can beat anybody. You didn’t have Northern Iowa over Kansas or Butler over Pitt, but nobody else did either so there’s no reason to throw in the towel in your office pool just yet.
2) The TV Coverage
Before 2011, CBS was the sole rights holder of The Tournament. The greatest complaint from the viewers over the years was that they couldn’t see every game. Four games would be broadcast regionally, filtered through the CBS broadcast center, think of “Houston” in Apollo 13 minus the cigarette smoke and crew cuts.
There, the head suit would decide when to give the viewers in each region a glimpse of another game, combine regions, or take you to the best finish. At times this was handled with great dexterity, at times it was clumsy, and sometimes it was just logistically impossible.
But starting last season, CBS partnered with Turner Sports on an $11 billion (not a misprint, the “B” is correct) deal to broadcast all the games at once using Turner’s multiple cable platforms. Now if you miss a great finish it’s on you. Hopefully your St. Patrick’s hangover hasn’t affected your trigger finger on the remote.
3) The Commercials
As previously mentioned, this is a multi-billion dollar project, and many advertisers will use this platform, a la the Super Bowl, to get their funniest spots on the air.
The problem is the ads repeat over and over. The Super Bowl only lasts 3+ hours. On an all-day event, what is outrageous at 2 PM only sparks outrage at 10 PM. Buffalo Wild Wings will be the biggest culprit. At least you have another game to flip to.
4) The Lingo
There are many clichés and buzzwords to be aware of even if you’re not playing the March Madness Drinking Game.
“Chalk” means all the favorites are winning. From the phrase “chalk it up.”
“Parity” is a term the talking heads will use to explain the buzzer-beaters and mild upsets.
“Sleeper” will usually refer to a team from a small conference with a lot of seniors, white guys, and a veteran coach (think Davidson or Creighton).
“Cinderella” is the most overused of the terms. It belongs to the team that has no business being in the position they’re in, and we’re all just waiting for them to return to their place in reality.
In some more nuanced societies, they’ll be a little more subjective and simply take a drink whenever Charles Barkley (inherited by CBS when Turner came on board) says something inane.
So there are some things to watch for on a hazy March 17th. And if you just happen to be stumbling in from Broughton Street around midnight and your TV is talking about how the chalk has been erased or if Cinderella’s slipper still fits, you might want to drink. Water.