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The torture that last year's NCAA Tournament Selection Show turned into is supposed to be avoided this year.

Hopefully that will be the case, especially for the sake of Illinois State basketball fans who've waited 19 years to return to the NCAA tourney. 

CBS has promised a more efficient production when the long-awaited NCAA pairings are unveiled at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Last year's two-hour affair was so boring many fans turned it off, especially when the bracket leaked on social media while Charles Barkley was fumbling his way through the broadcast.

This year, the program has been cut to 90 minutes (an hour seemed to work well in the past, didn't it?). CBS also said all the pairings would be released in the first part of the show, followed by discussion from analysts, coaches, etc.

The best news for ISU would be seeing its name called in the first bracket revealed. That would alleviate any concerns, anxiety, migraine headaches that inevitably will come with every bracket that doesn't have the Redbirds' name on it.

One thing you will not see on CBS is the ISU players and coaches gathered around a big-screen TV. Redbird coach Dan Muller said earlier this week he would "absolutely not" let cameras in to watch his team's reaction.

The reason is simple. There might be a wild celebration ... or a bunch of blank stares when the final bracket has come and gone. Seeing reactions from teams that don't make the field is excruciating.

No one wants to remember their favorite team that way in years to come.

If ISU doesn't make the NCAA, Redbird followers need to tune into the NIT Selection Special at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU. ISU fans know the drill, having been NIT bound in five of the last nine years.

Thankfully, the NIT show lasts only a half-hour. 

NBA: Warriors at Spurs (ABC, 7:30 p.m. Saturday): Kevin Durant's injury has given San Antonio more hope in the wild, wild Western Conference as teams start jockeying for playoff positions.

IndyCar: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (ABC, 11 a.m. Sunday): Roger Penske drivers figure to dominate again as the season's first race is here. One of those, Helio Castroneves, would like to win his first season championship in his 20th year.

MLB exhibition: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks (Comcast, 9 p.m. Wednesday): Before going on NCAA hoops overload, just sit back and relax and watch the world champions get ready for the long, hot summer ahead. 

Contact Jim Benson at



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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