MARCH 27 HOME STRETCH COLUMN — PETE TEMPLE, SPORTS EDITOR
Some early observations about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament:
Taking the early lead
As we head around the clubhouse turn and into the backstretch, it seems my method of picking winners in the tournament - using actual horse races to determine regional champions - has found its stride.
Through Sunday, all of my Final Four picks were still alive, as were six of my Elite Eight selections and 10 of my Sweet Sixteen.
Naturally, this comes in a year when I am in just one pool, with a whopping six competitors. So I can’t get rich on this one, but it would be nice to be able to say I won an NCAA pool, no matter how small.
I can only hope I have enough “horse” left to come down the stretch, draw away and win by daylight.
Wish I could have seen it
I found myself frustrated in the round of 64, when the Marquette-Davidson game was winding down. I was watching CBS, when that network was between games and offering commentary on what had happened in other games.
Meanwhile, in those little tiny boxes at the top of the screen, it indicated that Davidson led Marquette by one point with 5.0 seconds to play.
You might think the prudent thing to do would be to switch over and see the end of the game. Unfortunately, that game was on the fourth network of the tournament, TruTV, which is not part of our Dish Network satellite package.
So I kept hoping CBS would do the smart thing, realizing that perhaps not everyone in their scope gets TruTV, and switch over for the dramatic finish of what could have been a huge upset. Instead, it wasn’t until the game was over that CBS finally showed a highlight of Marquette’s game-winning lay-up.
A better cable/dish system
This brings me to a recurring gripe of mine, which is the way cable and dish packages are offered.
I’m sure there’s a reason you pay a set amount to get a whole bunch of channels, 80 percent of which you may never watch, rather than being able to put together your own lineup of channels.
Why couldn’t there be a system of picking a certain number of channels for a certain price? I understand some are much more valuable than others, but maybe there could be a system in which you can pick so many “Tier 1″ channels, so many “Tier 2,” and so on, and let you decide which ones you want.
But enough whining. Here are the things in this tournament that have brought me joy:
• Iowa State and Minnesota both winning first round games at about the same time Friday (and Iowa getting its second NIT win that night too).
• There is no Dick Vitale (unless you watch highlights on ESPN).
• The upset wins of Florida Gulf Coast, and the anticipation of its Friday night matchup with Florida.
• That game will follow Kansas-Michigan, which to my mind makes the South Regional bracket far and away the most appealing of the remaining four.
Enjoy the rest of the show!