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How did CBS decide Final Four order?

Head coach Bill Self (C) of the Kansas

Head coach Bill Self (C) of the Kansas Jayhawks celebrates with the Midwest regional championship trophy with players Tyshawn Taylor #10 (R of self) and Thomas Robinson #0 (2nd R of Self) after Kansas won 80-67 against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final. (March 25, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

CBS is blessed with a pair of juicy Final Four matchups, but many fans were surprised by its decision to go with the Ohio State-Kansas game in the traditionally more high profile late slot rather then the Kentucky-Louisville showdown.

I asked CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus what went into that decision. Here is what he said:

"It was a really, really close call, and we talked about it a lot on Sunday. I don't think there was any right or wrong answer on this one. There normally is a marquee matchup that makes our decision pretty easy."

McManus said that subjectively, "The Ohio State game on paper looked like it might be a closer game. That is not to say we think the Kentucky game is not going to be close. And we thought the geographical spread was a little better. Let's face it, the Midwest brings an enormous amount of viewers to the television set. The Big Ten always attracts a ton of viewers.

"It was a very close call. There was not any wrong or right answer this year. It was really a tossup this year. We just went with our gut and thought the viewership might be a bit higher for the second game. Any choice you made would be the right one."

Play-by-play man Jim Nantz called this one of the best Final Four quartets he could remember. He also noted that the four previous Final Fours on CBS that were held in New Orleans had memorable finishes to their championship games: 1982, '87, '93 and '03.


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