Behind the Broadcast: BracketBuster lineup not an exact science

Creating a BracketBuster lineup is no easy task for ESPN.

Categories: Sports

If you’re a Siena men’s basketball fan and were hoping to watch tonight’s ESPNU BracketBusters game against Boise State on television, you will be sorely disappointed. The 10 p.m. game is only available on the Internet at

A total of 14 games will be tel­evised by either ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic or The Siena-Boise State game is one of two on The other is Wisconsin-Milwaukee against Bradley at 9 p.m.

So, how does ESPN decide which games it will televise, and where they will be placed? I posed that question to Ilan Ben-Hana, director of programming for ESPN, during a telephone interview on Thursday.

“There were a hundred teams in the pool eligible for selection,” Ben-Hana said. “As the season is going along, we keep an eye on teams, in terms of won-loss

record, chances of getting into the [NCAA] tourn­ament, chances of being an at-large selection, teams who deserve a little more exposure based on their play.”

On Feb. 3, ESPN officials decided what 14 games will be televised.

“After we do that, we wait another week just to see if anything else happens to separate anyone else, or elevate anyone else,” Ben-Hana said. “From there, we make our final decision about allocating the games.”

ESPN2 had six slots open to tel­evise games, while ESPNU, ESPN Classic and combined for eight slots.

“The most visible games are the ones that we select for ESPN2. Those would be the ones that go to our largest audience,” Ben-Hana said. “We did our best in looking at the matchups that we selected, in terms of what we felt were those top six.

“[With] the remaining games, there’s no real pecking order. There’s eight games to go around. This year, it happens we have five on ESPNU, two on and one on Classic. Those games were placed where they made sense, in terms of start times, putting teams from the West Coast in later windows and things of that nature. There was nothing specific to one team ending up on ESPNU versus They’re both growing networks and growing services that we hope will be as widely distributed as all of our other [networks] down the line.”

Siena fans should be happy that the game will be televised, even if it’s on the computer. The Univer­sity at Albany’s BracketBuster game at Canisius tonight isn’t on TV.

Game on at TU Center

If you don’t want to sit in front of your computer and watch the game by yourself, you can join fellow Siena fans at the Times Union Center.

The TUC will simulcast’s coverage. Admission is free, and people will be allowed in starting at 9 p.m., unless fans are already there for the

Albany River Rats’ game against the Lowell Devils.

Frank Giardina and Bart Bellairs will call the game.

Knights on Web

Another area college will have its basketball games on the Web today.

The College of Saint Rose men’s and women’s Northeast-10 Conference home games against Southern Connecticut will be available on the CSTV/Division II Web site. The link is

divii/. The women tip off at

1:30 p.m., and the men’s game begins at 3:30 p.m.

Rowe aware

Don’t think for a second that area coaches aren’t aware how many media members are there for postgame interviews.

In colleague Phil Janack’s blog following the Rats game against the Philadelphia Phantoms last Saturday at the TUC, Rats coach Tom Rowe surveyed the media contingent. There were three beat writers and WNYT (Ch. 13) videographer Laura Rivenburg, who was the only TV person there to interview Rowe.

Rowe had seen a bigger TV presence at the TUC earlier in the day, when Siena played Loyola.

Rowe told Rivenburg, “At least you’re here. Siena’s here, and the only ones who weren’t here for that was CNN.”

I loved that.

daytona 500 rating

Last Sunday’s 50th running of the Daytona 500 was the second highest-rated, and second most-watched, 500 shown on Fox.

Daytona earned a 10.2 rating and a 20, and averaged 17.8 million viewers. Last year’s numbers were 10.1/20 and 17.5 million.

The 2005 Daytona 500 on Fox earned a 10.9 rating and 23 percent share, the highest ever for Fox.

Nielsen said 33.5 million Amer­icans watched at least part of the Daytona 500, a 2 percent improvement over 2007’s 33.0 million.

parting shots

Time Warner Cable channel 3 will televise the St. Lawrence-Union men’s hockey game tonight at 7. . . .

WENT-AM (1340) will broadcast a Section II boys’ basketball tourn­ament Class B double-header today. At 3 p.m., it will be Broadalbin-Perth against Schuylerville. That will be followed at 4:30 by Fonda-Fultonville against Cohoes. . . .

WXXA (Ch. 23) will have a

special edition of its “High School Sports Show” at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

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