- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2007

When two NCAA Tournament games are going on at the same time, CBS is forced to make tough choices about which game to show in which market. And those choices are made tougher when the passions of local fans are involved. CBS had a particularly tough choice to make Saturday, when Xavier and Ohio State were in a tight overtime battle while the Maryland-Butler game was just getting under way. In this area, CBS tried to balance the local desire to see the Terps while also showing as much of the ending of the Xavier-OSU as possible.

I am close with someone who works for a local CBS affiliate, and she is often in a position to receive e-mail from viewers. Based on the notes she receives, CBS is in a no-win situation. Some of the viewers were irate that CBS would break away from a competitive game to see the beginning of another. But others insisted that any game involving a local team should be shown in its entirety, no exceptions.

I believe that CBS should show as much of local-interest games as possible, but they need to consider breaking away from those game if they are blowouts. I find it hard to believe that Georgetown fans needed to see all 40 minutes of the Hoyas trouncing of Belmont on Thursday, and we surely did not have to see all of George Washington’s drubbing at the hands of Vanderbilt.

Overall, though, CBS does a pretty decent job balancing a tricky situation, and its offering of all games free on its Web site is a terrific service.

The only people who should have a real gripe here are the people who paid extra for the out-of-market satellite package on DirecTV. Because the Maryland game Saturday was considered the “home” game, those customers were unable to switch over to see the Terps when CBS flipped over to Xavier-OSU locally. Seems to me that if you paid extra for a satellite package, you should be able to see any game at any time.

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