Anyone who’s ever been excited to watch the 9 PM college basketball game knows the mounting frustration of a 7 PM game that clearly isn’t going to finish within the allotted broadcast window.
The pain is somewhat lessened now as most networks find a way to stream the later game online or air it on another network to avoid angering fans, but one thing they don’t normally do is cut away early from the preceding game, even if it’s a blowout. ESPN bucked that trend today in a high-visibility spot, cutting away from Louisville’s dominant showing in Chapel Hill to make sure the entirety of Duke-Florida State was seen on the main channel.
It wasn’t just cutting away while Louisville dribbled things out, either. There were more than two minutes left in the game, though the result was clearly not in doubt.
North Carolina fans dedicated enough to stick to the end of the worst home loss in the Roy Williams era being rewarded by the broadcast cutting to a Duke game is objectively funny, but that’s not to say it was the wrong call. Louisville only expanded their lead from there (they ended up winning 83-62) and the opening minutes of Duke-Florida State were fairly entertaining.
If the early game was closer, things probably would have worked out differently.