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CBS Not Rooting for USC-UCLA

March 22, 2001|LARRY STEWART

There are half as many NCAA tournament games over the next two days than there were last Thursday and Friday, but CBS is still faced with a logjam.

Tonight's East Regional games will be shown in their entirety, but the West Regional games at the Arrowhead Pond will not.

The plan is for Los Angeles viewers to get all of the USC-Kentucky and UCLA-Duke games from the East Regional. As for the Maryland-Georgetown and Stanford-Cincinnati games in the West Regional, L.A. viewers will get updates and the finishes.

Tipoff times are 4:30 and 7 p.m. for the East games at Philadelphia, and 4:45 and 7:15 p.m. for the West games at Anaheim.

DirecTV subscribers wishing to see all of either West Regional game can do so for a cost of $19.95 per game.

CBS will face the same situation Friday night, and DirecTV will again offer the out-of-market games.

Tipoff times for this weekend's regional finals have not been set.

CBS, which paid $6 billion for the rights to the tournament, persuaded the tournament committee to let the network determine tipoff times for the regional finals.

They won't be determined until after tonight's games. One final will be at 1:40 p.m. Saturday, the other at 4 p.m.

Sunday's tipoff times will be determined after Friday's games. The idea is to allow CBS to put the more attractive matchup in the later slot.

Sean McManus, CBS Sports president, was asked Wednesday to name the most attractive matchup for the East final.

"I don't like to get into specifics because it might appear as though we are rooting for one team over the other," he said, "but I will say a Duke-Kentucky matchup or a UCLA-Kentucky match would be more attractive nationally than a UCLA-USC matchup.

"The problem with a UCLA-USC matchup is it would be too regionalized, just as last year's New York World Series was."

McManus did confess he is a 1977 graduate of Duke.

"But not even for $6 billion will the committee allow us to decide who wins," he quipped.

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