Charles Barkley has it right: Watching the first couple rounds of the NCAA tournament before the switch to a new format wasn’t great.
"We all take it for granted now but the tournament used to suck [on TV]," Barkley told SI. "It used to be: Why the hell do we gotta watch Duke play? I lived in Alabama and I didn't want to watch Duke or North Carolina play."
But the CBS/Turner partnership, now in Year 3, reformatted the schedule so every single tournament game airs on four networks (CBS, TBS, TNT, TruTV) at staggered times—meaning what once was a four-course meal of college basketball viewing now has become a smorgasboard of wall-to-wall hoops action.
So, I plan to celebrate the greatest two days in televised sports by watching all of Thursday’s games for 12 straight hours and live blogging it for RedEye. I’ve prepared myself with a big-screen plasma TV, an iPhone with a March Madness app, and an emergency supply of Red Bull. Will my bracket go bust on Day 1? Will my eyes melt from too much basketball? Stay tuned.
10:25 p.m. I'm fading. My team Missouri is down 12 late to Colorado St. Meanwhile, Akron should be kicked out of Division 1 if they end up losing to VCU by 50. Montana has scored one basket in like two hours. This close New Mexico-Harvard game isn't enough to keep me going. Someone hold me.
10:17 p.m. Look at the bright side, Akron. You may be down 42 points to VCU but...crap, I can't think of a bright side. Meanwhile, Montana has only scored 11 points against Syracuse with only 5 minutes left in the first half. Can we just end these games now? 10:05 p.m. I just wondered aloud if the Syracuse Orangemen were playing the Montana Mountainmen. I'm getting a little delirious at this point, probably because I'm about to hit the 12 hour mark on this diary. My deadline has passed but tonight's basketball is not over, so I cannot stop. #IHaveAMarchMadnessProblem 9:39 p.m. The only way Akron is going to come back against VCU is if LeBron James decides he suddenly wants to go to college after all and suits up for his hometown Zips in the second half. 9:25 p.m. I've officially moved from the comforts of home to Lincoln Square bar Copper House to switch from Red Bull to beer. Call me crazy, but I need to switch it up since I still have a couple hours to go in my NCAA viewing marathon. I'm going to go down in an alcohol-fueled blaze of glory.
9:12 p.m. The Runnin' Rebels almost ran away from the upset but they couldn't turn the Golden Bears into uhh...living room rugs? They couldn't make the Bears hibernate, maybe? OK, I give up. Meanwhile, the wordsmiths of Harvard are about to take on New Mexico.
8:52 p.m. The flagrant 1 foul called against California could be a huge. This has been a very physical game between the Golden Bears and UNLV. Mixed Martial Arts-lite.
8:36 p.m. I'll admit it, I'm nervous about my alma mater Missouri against Colorado St. They have been frustratingly inconsistent all year. Still, I had to pick them or I'd never be allowed in Columbia again. Akron vs. VCU? I honestly have no idea about this game. Let me ask my Magic 8 Ball. 8:23 p.m. California looks like it's good shape to pull off the classic 12-5 upset. Belmont? Not so much. But credit Arizona for taking care of business against the little Christian music school. #UnAmazingGrace 8 p.m. I'm not sure if the everyone in the arena in Lexington gets free tacos if Louisville scores 100 points tonight, but they're sure playing like they want tacos. 7:53 p.m. It's not surprising that Michigan is up 13 on North Dakota St. considering the mascot battle. A wolverine would beat a jackrabbit every time. #RunRabbitRun
7:40 p.m. Jesse Jackson was just interviewed on TV while watching his alma mater, NC A&T get buried by Louisville. No word yet if Jesse Jackson Jr. stole some of the Aggies' points before the game.
6:55 p.m. truTV is promoting a show called “Lizard Lick Towing.” OK, you guys had me at “Lick.” Seriously, though, we’ve totally run out of ideas for reality shows. Can “The Secret Lives of High School Janitors” be far behind?
6:45 p.m. Anddddd...we're back to a full slate of games. My dilemma now is what to put on my main TV. Right now, I'm going with a tight South Dakota State-Michigan game but I have a feeling California-UNLV will be worth watching too.
6:30 p.m. I can't decide if it's more impressive that South Dakota St. is beating Michigan right now, or that South Dakota has more than one college. #MountSmackTalkMore
6:15 p.m. Louisville 14, NC A&T 4. I give the Aggies about a .0074 chance of winning this game against the top seed. I did the math and everything. Also, I'm mildly scared of Rick Pitino.