The Maryland men's basketball team was one of the lucky ones. The Terps learned their seed and placement in the NCAA Tournament about 21 minutes into a bloated, two-hour NCAA Tournament Selection Show special on CBS Sunday night, while some teams had to wait an hour and 15 minutes just to learn critical information about where they'd go – or if they'd make the tournament at all.
CBS decided this year to stretch the show into a two-hour extravaganza starting at 5:30 p.m. ET, in an especially brazen and transparent attempt to stretch out TV ratings at the expense of the viewing public. It was a total Hindenburg of a show, and the official bracket leaked online before the NCAA and CBS formally finished up their announcement.
It's unreasonable, not just for fans but more importantly for the teams themselves. Some of them only have one day to prepare before traveling for First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, and CBS took valuable preparation time away from them.
In an interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Monday (hat tip, CBS DC), Maryland coach Mark Turgeon ripped into this clearly manipulative approach on the part of the network:
"I hated the two-hour show. I think it's ridiculous. I think it should have been a one-hour show like it always was, and let's just get to it. We sit around all year, this is what it's about, it's not fair."
Turgeon and Maryland were at least able to take matters into their own hands:
"The leaked bracket helped a lot of people," Turgeon said. "I hate that that happened. But the show's too long. It should just be an hour like it was, and it's more entertaining, and get it out there."
With Maryland aware of their No. 5 seed so early, Turgeon was able to get a lot done Sunday night. "We got on the phone to try to get our plane set up to go and we were able to talk to the team about our bracket, about what lies ahead this weekend, when we're leaving, what the schedule is for the week." before the show's conclusion.
"And then we were able to watch the rest of the show," he added. "So we got a lot done and then we met with media."
CBS got terrible ratings, so hopefully this disaster is never repeated.