For those not in the live viewing audience for Saturday's game between Iowa State and West Virginia in Hilton Coliseum, chances are you were subjected to missing live game action as ESPN2 opted to show the ending of the tilt between Wake Forest and #2 Virginia, which the Cavaliers ended up winning.
Actually, chances is not the correct word to use because you absolutely were forced to deliberately miss a portion of the Iowa State game as the producers at the "world wide leader" saw fit to show this riveting ending, which included a timeout and a Demon Deacon turnover in the closing seconds as Danny Manning's upstart Wake Forest outfit was unable to pull off the upset. This live cut-in just so happened to coincide with a live play going on in Ames, featuring a Jameel McKay block.
It's hard to argue with ESPN's logic. I mean, after all, we are talking about the #2 Virginia freaking Cavaliers here, who are chasing a second straight ACC crown. We may be simple country folk here in the Midwest, but I'll be damned if we don't appreciate the merits and rigors of basketball from Tobacco Road and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
So while we at WRNL saw no problem whatsoever with the producer's decision, we can't say the same for the loyal sons on Cyclone Nation, who were not as fond of being given this tremendous opportunity to see Cavalier basketball.
Trey Davidson, a 19-year-old sophomore who's considering a switch from construction engineering to accounting as his primary course of study, particularly was dismayed by ESPN2's decision to pull away from live Cyclone action.
"It was bullshit dude," said Davidson, who was unable to attend the game as he was "hung over as balls" from a "5-kegger party" the night before. Davidson also added that he lost his wallet and his phone was "totally fucked" from the prior night's events, so making it out was simply not in the cards.
"I mean, are we in Iowa or are we in Iowa?" said an incensed Davidson. "I don't give a shit about Virginia or Drake Morris (sic) or whoever they were playing. Just show the damn game."
Young Cyclone fans weren't the only ones perplexed by ESPN2's decision to cut away from the game. Wendell "Gip" Crawford of Eagle Grove was equally frustrated by the fact that he missed portions of the Cyclone game.
"I don't know what I'm paying $69.99 a month for if I can't watch my Cyclones play. Why I got so mad I even sent a letter to The Des Moines Register to complain about it. I don't know if it'll make The Big Peach, but if anyone can make this right, it's (Chuck) Offenburger and the boys."
(Editor's note: Crawford was not informed that The Big Peach is no longer printed by the Register and that Offenburger no longer writes for the publication)
As enraged as Cyclone fans are, unfortunately, there could be more live look-ins interrupting Iowa State broadcasts going forward. WRNL has learned from an ESPN producer, who asked to remain anonymous, that the cut-ins could become a regular feature of broadcasts for the rest of the season.
"We at ESPN feel like we have a firm grasp on the wants and needs of college basketball fans and it's our responsibility to show the best possible product, regardless of location."
"We also realize that these live look-ins may disrupt local interests on occasion, but much like the nation yearns for constant SEC football coverage, our viewers have a similar desire to watch ACC basketball. In the case of Saturday's look-in, we had the ending of a great college basketball game. The ending of the Wake Forest-Virginia game is going to be the talk of the proverbial water cooler conversations all over the nation on Monday morning."
The producer went on to add the these groundbreaking features won't simply apply to game action. Other vignettes will feature North Carolina coach, Roy Williams, going through his selection process when picking out the right tie for that night's game. Other spotlights will bring viewers unmatched access into Clemson's renowned cheer routines during TV timeouts and Pittsburgh sophomore forward Jamel Artis' chase to hit 80% of his free throws on the year, to name a few. Artis is currently fifth in the ACC in free throw shooting percentage at 80.6%.
"This is what our audiences want to see and it's our duty to give them these viewing opportunities."
Crawford doesn't quite share in ESPN's line of thinking, however.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me."
Iowa State returns to action on Wednesday night, traveling to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State at 8 PM on ESPNU. A high-powered ACC affair will run concurrently, featuring Boston College (9-14, 1-10) taking on Florida State (14-12, 6-7). The ESPN producer declined to mention if there would be any live cut-ins interrupting the Cyclones and Cowboys game.
"Stay tuned and we'll see."