Well, it seems like CBS has learned its lesson.
A year after an anonymous folk hero shocked and delighted college basketball fans across the country by leaking the entire NCAA men’s basketball bracket midway through CBS’s two-hour-long announcement show, the network powered through all 68 teams in just 38 minutes Sunday evening.
The speed with which CBS host Greg Gumbel and his analysts whipped through the bracket’s traditional unveiling was widely expected after last year’s leak, which many, frustrated by the drawn-out pace of the program, saw as a godsend. The Washington Post reported Sunday afternoon that CBS planned on revealing “the vast majority” of the bracket within the show’s first 30 minutes, before moving on to the analysis and reactions that have typically been mixed throughout the show in years past.
“I think we underestimated the viewers’ impatience (last year),” David Levy, president of Turner, CBS’s parent company, told the New York Times.
And while the pace of this year’s show was still not quick enough for some fans desperate to see where their team would go, it was fast enough to avoid another leak, something CBS, who sees the the bracket’s reveal as a key part of its tournament coverage, was determined to prevent, per the Times. That fact was noted and enjoyed by some on social media.
A few brackets purporting to be leaked briefly circulated on Twitter roughly midway through the selection show, but they were quickly debunked as false. If you’re curious, the full bracket is available below.