I am a resident of Ohio. Every four years Ohioans find themselves the center of the political universe. It starts out as flattering and ends up just being annoying. This year we find ourselves at the heart of the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament more commonly known as March Madness. Ohio has placed four schools in the Sweet Sixteen: Ohio State University, Xavier University, University of Cincinnati, and Ohio University. The Ohio River Valley has a total of seven teams – the four teams from Ohio plus the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Indiana University. Other small clusters of power include Tobacco Road (North Carolina and North Carolina State) and Southern Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin and Marquette University). See Map Here!
I don’t think there is any powerful basketball inference you can make regarding the location of these schools. However, nobody is more concerned about the location of these schools than CBS Sports because this could be a ratings black hole. Baylor (Waco, TX) and Kansas (Lawrence, KS) are the westernmost schools in the Sweet Sixteen. Syracuse is the closest school to the largest media market in the U.S. – New York City.
History has shown that the higher seeds bring in higher ratings. Therefore, we can assume that CBS is rooting against the likes of Ohio University, NC State, Xavier and UC. So while it may be exciting for us Ohioans to have four teams represented in this year’s Sweet Sixteen, CBS wants the madness to end no later than Friday evening. One thing is for sure, there will be at least one less Ohio team after the next round – Ohio State plays Cincinnati in the East Region Semifinal in Boston on Thursday night.