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Late night for Spartan fans

March 28, 2008 - Steve Murch
Sometimes common sense is lacking when it comes to big-time sports and scheduling. Case in point, tonight’s Michigan State-Memphis game, which tips off at 9:57 p.m. — at the earliest. God forbid the first game, Texas-Stanford, goes into overtime like last night’s West Virginia-Xavier thriller.

Forget the nearly 10 p.m. start time. The first game begins at 7:27, and there is a need to keep it at a relatively decent start time for the west coast. After all, Stanford is in California and it would be nearly 4:30, a bit early for those who work all day.

Here’s where the common sense comes in. Why schedule the actual games and pairings at the time of the brackets release? Instead of saying Texas-Stanford is 7:27 and MSU-Memphis is 30 minutes after the completion, why not just say game 1 is this time and game 2 is that time.

There is no telling who the teams will be at that point, so leave some wiggle room. Michigan and western Tennessee are in the Eastern and Central time zones. There will be fans of those teams who will go to bed by halftime because of the late start. A 10 p.m. start for the fans of Stanford would be 7 p.m. in California. Everyone would see game at decent times.

It’s not like the NFL and Monday Night Football. Remember the one season a few years ago when the league moved the start time up an hour to 8 p.m. The number of fans gained in the eastern part of the country was smaller than the number of fans lost in the western part of the country because of the early time.

This is nothing like that situation. The games are already scheduled, it’s just the teams that aren’t. The tickets have been sold, so the fans are going anyway. How about making it convenient for the fans at home to see the games, too.


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