NEW YORK -- You know how kids love that Justin Bieber?
That's how much I love March Madness on Demand.
I love it like Bob Huggins loves windbreakers, like Jarvis Varnado loves blocking shots, like Herb Pope loves cracking opponents in their private parts, and, well, you get the point. It's heaven for hoopheads (not to mention degenerate gamblers). So you can imagine my excitement when I was told that rather than go to a site to cover the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, I would be a part of March Madness on Demand coverage from the studios in New York. In fact, the conversation went something like this:
Me: So rather than go to Buffalo and watch games that may or may not develop into a story, I'll hang in Manhattan, stare at four TVs, and watch every game from a comfortable chair?
Me: Thank you.
Yes, CBSSports.com will still have writers at every site. And yes, I'll still be blogging, Tweeting and filing wrap-up columns each night. But for the first time in a long time, I'll get to see what you see when you use March Madness on Demand to watch the NCAA tournament, and when the games go to halftime you'll get to see ... me! I'll be with Jason Horowitz, Lauren Shehadi and a parade of coaches and former coaches talking about what we just saw, what we think we're about to see, and anything else that happens to pop up.
I can't wait.
But decisions must still be made.
March Madness on Demand provides you with access to every game, but it doesn't tell you what you ought to watch. That's my job. I am to NCAA tournament games what Oprah is to books. She tells you what to read, and you read it. I tell you what to watch, and you watch it.
So here's your guide to the first two days of the NCAA tournament:
All times ET
12:20 p.m.: Things get under way with Florida-BYU, so you should start with Florida-BYU. It'll be the first time you've seen Billy Donovan coach in the NCAA tournament since 2007. Welcome him back. Tell him you've missed him. See if BYU's Jimmer Fredette gets going early, then prepare to switch to Notre Dame-Old Dominion so that you can see a guy who averages 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds come off the bench.
12:25 p.m.: Seriously, what's wilder than Luke Harangody in a reserve role? If somebody would've told you in November that North Carolina and UCLA would be in the NIT while Notre Dame was in the NCAA tournament using Harangody off the bench, what would you have done? How this happened is a bigger mystery than why Richard never ages on Lost.
12:35 p.m.: You're switching back to Florida-BYU because I just think this game will be more fun to watch, if only for the Fredette factor. It could end with Chandler Parsons sinking a third game winner for Florida, or with Fredette sinking free throws to eclipse the 40-point barrier for the third time. So stay here, monitor Notre Dame-Old Dominion, and completely ignore Villanova-Robert Morris unless Robert Morris is within one possession with less than eight minutes remaining. Don't get excited by a halftime score; anybody can play with anybody for a half. Under eight minutes is when it's time to send out an upset alert, and you don't even have to worry about it. Just follow me on Twitter, and I'll be in charge of the upset alerts all day and all night. I'm happy to help.
2:30 p.m.: The second wave of games starts with Vanderbilt-Murray State, which is where you should start, too. The selection committee thinks there's a wide gap between the teams based on seeding, but Sportsbook.com only has the Commodores favored by three points. In other words, oddsmakers realize this Vandy team once lost to Western Kentucky and just lost to South Carolina. Murray State can, and likely will, push the Commodores.
2:50 p.m.: It's not often we get to enjoy a WCC tournament champion not named Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament, so it's important to gather the kids and let them witness the tip between St. Mary's and Richmond. As Omar Samhan walks onto the court, you should look at any young people around you and explain how this shows anything in life is possible, that the only thing holding them back is their own imaginations. And Mark Few. Meantime, Baylor-Sam Houston State will be under way. If you haven't seen Ekpe Udoh, switch for a minute. If this develops into a tight game -- and it could, I guess, because Sam Houston State's Bob Marlin is an underrated coach with a pretty solid team -- stick with it.
4:15 p.m.: Should have three games winding down about now. Kansas State-North Texas could be a double-digit spread, which leaves you with Vanderbilt-Murray State or Baylor-Sam Houston State. My guess is Vanderbilt-Murray State will be closer. Assuming that's true, that's where you should be because you should always watch when a 13 seed is in a close game.
4:45 p.m.: My favorite game of the day, by far, tips here. It's Butler-UTEP. I've got UTEP. But it does bother me a little that everybody is picking UTEP, because what that means is that everybody, myself included, is picking a team that just lost to Houston to beat a team that hasn't lost since Dec. 22. When put that way, I'm not nearly as confident.
7:10 p.m.: The night games start with UNLV-Northern Iowa, which is fine. But you're only staying here five minutes.
7:15 p.m.: Kentucky-East Tennessee State should be a blowout, but Kentucky blowouts are fun because they usually include lots of fast breaks, and nobody is better in transition than Kentucky. The over-under on alley-oops is five. Take the over.
7:25 p.m.: Georgetown-Ohio might be as lopsided as Kentucky-ETSU, so you're probably watching Washington-Marquette. The Huskies are the 11 seed, Marquette the six. That's a testament to Buzz Williams as a coach, because the 11 seed has a much better roster than his Golden Eagles.
9:30 p.m.: All I've heard for three days is how Kansas, the overall No. 1 seed, got a raw deal because the Jayhawks are in an impossible regional. But what about Lehigh? Does anybody feel sorry for the Mountain Hawks? They're the ones who have to open with Kansas. It's about to tip.
9:32 p.m.: KU should be well out in front by now, which gives you three minutes to hit the bathroom, grab a drink and settle in for Texas-Wake Forest, a game between two teams that should be better but aren't.
9:35 p.m.: You can catch the beginning of Texas-Wake Forest and stick with it if you want. But Darington Hobson (New Mexico) and Anthony Johnson (Montana) are on display in five minutes, and the best late game -- Tennessee vs. San Diego State -- starts in 10. So with all due respect to Damion James and Al-Farouq Aminu, you probably shouldn't stay with them too long.
11:40 p.m.: By now, Kansas has destroyed Lehigh, Texas and Wake Forest have decided who gets to lose Saturday to Kentucky, and Hobson has put a double-double on Montana in an easy victory. That leaves you with the end of Tennessee-San Diego State. I imagine it'll be a close and a perfect way to end Day 1. When the buzzer sounds, hit the sack. You've got another long day coming up.
7:25 p.m. ET: Duke vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
12:15 p.m.: The day starts with West Virginia-Morgan State, and this is probably a good time to tell you that, on the surface, Friday's games don't seem to be as intriguing as Thursday's. On the other hand, things rarely develop as planned in the NCAA tournament. So this will probably be the best second day in the history of the event.
12:30 p.m.: Cornell is a lot of people's most likely double-digit seed to advance to the Sweet 16, and it's possible. But the Big Red's best win is over St. John's; that concerns me. So I'll take Temple because the Owls at least have quality wins (Villanova, Xavier, Richmond, Siena).
2:25 p.m.: Temple-Cornell and Xavier-Minnesota should be finishing up. Both could be close games, so that should be fun. Meantime, Siena-Purdue is about to start. If Robbie Hummel were playing, the Boilermakers would roll. But he's not, so they won't.
2:35 p.m.: It's time to switch to Clemson-Missouri because it's going to happen this year, I just know it. Somehow, someway, Clemson coach Oliver Purnell will get his first NCAA tournament victory. He enters with a 0-5 record. Trevor Booker will move it to 1-5, I'm certain.
4:20 p.m.: Is Siena about to upset Purdue? It's time to check if you're not watching that game, then get ready for Utah State-Texas A&M.
4:45 p.m.: Utah State-Texas A&M tips off. It's the only game on. Watch it.
7:10 p.m.: The night schedule gets under way with Florida State-Gonzaga, and it could go either way. Likewise, Georgia Tech-Oklahoma State tips in five minutes with the winner earning the right to try to contain Evan Turner on Sunday. Good luck with that.
9:30 p.m.: Arinze Onuaku's bad quadriceps will be on Syracuse's bench. The Orange will prove you don't need your center to have good quadriceps to beat Vermont (even if they once proved the opposite in this same tournament).
9:35 p.m.: You watch Ohio State-UC Santa Barbara not because it'll be competitive, but because Turner could post a triple-double, hit a 37-footer, dunk on people, whatever. He's awesome and not to be missed. That's the point.
9:40 p.m.: I can't imagine Houston beating Maryland, but I can easily imagine Aubrey Coleman and Greivis Vasquez getting into a shootout to end all shootouts. The possibility alone makes it worth monitoring. My guess is that Coleman gets 30 points in a 15-point loss.
9:45 p.m.: The final game of the night is Louisville-California; it's also the best game of the night. So keep an eye on Turner, close tabs on Coleman and Vasquez, but settle in for the Cardinals and Bears. It could come down to the final seconds, which would be the perfect way to end the first two days, a proper way to prepare for the weekend's Round of 32.