With the final seconds winding down and Miami punching the fourth and final ticket to the Final Four, CBS top broadcast team for college basketball was trying to find the words to hype the sport's biggest event.
Jim Nantz, Bill Rafferty and Grant Hill were all telling us "this is great for the game...and with the transfer portal get ready for more like this....should be exciting."
You can't blame them for the positive words but CBS executives can't be thrilled. FAU-San Diego State and Miami and UCONN are not about to deliver record breaking viewing audiences for the network. In fact, the host city might be having the same Monday morning blues. Within hours after Miami's win tickets for the Final Four in Houston continued to plummet.
UCONN has been a major brand in the sport and won multiple national titles. The Huskies have been off the radar recently but might be the best team of the quartet left standing. It's not that there are not passionate fans for the Owls, Canes and Aztecs but the reason these Final Fours are held inside dome stadiums is to accommodate the tens of thousands of fans who flood into the host city. That flood might be more of a ripple this weekend.
But that is not the fault or problem of the four schools that are still playing.
FAU has been legit all year as Dusty May has a deep roster that doesn't rely on any one player and plays within its system that has shown it can play with anyone. They benefited by playing a 16th seed in Fairleigh Dickinson but they also beat one of the most physical teams in the field in Kansas State.
UCONN just bullied their four opponents to get to Houston and Dan Hurley, never a dull moment on the sideline, has a tough Big East team that enters the weekend as the favorite.
San Diego State may have been aided by a questionable foul call with 1.2 seconds left to beat Creighton. But the question becomes if it's a foul with 18:00 left in the game is it a foul with 1.2 seconds left in the game? I get it. There were many plays where contact looked more obvious with no whistle throughout the game so why was a foul called then? Was there contact? Yes. Can you call a foul there? Yes. Would Creighton have won if no foul was called, we don't know. Credit Creighton coach Doug McDermott, who was furious after the foul was called, for not using it as an excuse after the game during his press conference.
Miami was labeled the best team money could buy, isn't that right Jim Boeheim? Who cares? The Canes did nothing wrong using NIL to attract Nigel Pack and keeping Isaiah Wong and other players on the roster who signed NIL deals. In fact, if you think Miami is the highest paid program in the country, you are wrong. There are many "bluebloods" who are paying far more than Miami to their roster. The Canes just happened to ruffle the feathers from some of those heritage programs because they didn't "earn" the respect over a period of years. Too bad, it's 2023 and the portal and "pay-for-play" is here and Miami happens to have a person who loves the spotlight when it comes to paying athletes, something every program wants to have.
I don't expect ratings to be big but they may not be the worst ever. Gambling's growing audience will keep an interested crowd for this event, but there may be a few more- or thousands of more- empty seats in Houston this weekend...
Nuggets: The Guardians are 0-6. I got nothing else...Sam Burns beat Cameron Young 6&5 to win the Match Play PGA event this weekend. Rory McIlroy beat Scottie Scheffler for third place, 2&1. NBC did everything they could hype a third place match it could since many tuning in thought the Burns and Young match was for the US Amatuer...After beating the Nets on Sunday, the Orlando Magic have 32 wins with seven games left. If the team wins three more games and gets to 35 wins it marks just the third time in the last decade the team would win 35 games. As of this morning the franchise all-time record is 1266-1448...Solid first episode of "Succession" on HBO as the series begins its final season. Not sure if the kids will be able to close the purchase of Pierce and Logan will make the process miserable and I don't think Tom and Shiv are done either and Greg might be the greatest person ever...LIV Golf comes to town this week playing at Orange County National. It is interesting because it will serve as a tuneup for the Masters for several players on the LIV Tour who will be at Augusta National next week such as former winners Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson. Not sure what crowds will be like for the weekend and I am curious of the media coverage of a tour that might be showing some cracks after recent stories of struggles within the company...I did it and it proved my point. I watched episodes of "Friends" and the laugh track used to tell you when something funny happened and then watched episodes of "The Office", "Parks and Recreation" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm"- who don't use laugh tracks- and it reconfirmed my believe that "Friends" was not funny...
Final note: Friends did use a live audience, but also added the laugh track after taping. I do give credit to "Big Bang Theory '' who used a live audience and occasionally added a laugh track. "I Love Lucy" used a live audience....and nothing else.