ncaa tournament selection show

Turner Sports has heard your complaints over the years about the NCAA Tournament selection show moving too slowly, and the show’s new home has decided to… commit to a half measure.

Turner announced Tuesday that in the first year of the selection show airing on TBS, the full 68-team tournament field will be announced at the top of the broadcast, with the seedings, regions and bracket drawn out over the next half hour or so. In the past, the field has been announced along with the full bracket.

The idea here, presumably, is to save fans of bubble teams from an excruciating wait while preserving some drama for everyone else. And although that may seem like a fair enough intention, reaction to the change has been almost universally negative.

The NCAA Tournament selection show has long been criticized for dragging on longer than necessary and withholding the information most fans tuned in to see. After the 2016 show took 76 minutes to unveil the full field, CBS sped things up last year, while TBS has reportedly vowed to announce the full bracket within the first half of its two-hour show this year.

In a way, TBS is giving fans (some of) what they want by spitting out the field right at the start of the show. They will no longer need to wait an hour to find out which bubble teams made the dance. But in another way, the network could be simply adding a layer of torture to the drawn-out reveal by teasing the teams without announcing their seedings. The system risks calling attention to how long fans must wait before getting what they really crave: the bracket.

Revealing the field before the bracket is not the only alteration to this year’s selection show. Turner also announced Tuesday that for the first time the program will feature a live studio audience. It’s unclear what impact, if any, that will have on the broadcast.

The selection show will air Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, with hosts Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel joined by analysts Clark Kellogg, Seth Davis, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.