Channel 10 WBNS-TV's alley oops

Aaron Marshall

If you were one of the unlucky souls responsible for what WBNS-TV aired in the final seconds of the March 26 Kentucky-North Carolina basketball game, well, let's just say you probably felt like blacking out.

That's because a “massive technical failure” of WBNS' split-screen technology caused fans to miss the final ticks of a thrilling March Madness game, instead giving them six long minutes of black screen complete with audio of a babbling weatherman describing a tornado warning. Never was Jim Nantz so missed.

The station's airball left WBNS executives feeling like a 16 seed as social media lit up with howling fans. While some went for vulgar outrage, others poked fun at the moment. “I had the tornado as a No. 3 seed winning the game anyway,” one person tweeted, while another suggested that the WBNS weatherman—poor Jeff Booth—was “bitter for not being picked for gym class basketball.”

As word spread around the country, sports blogs piled on, with Deadspin, Barstool Sports and The Ringer all dedicating space to the media meltdown. “If I were to die in a tornado I would want my last 10 seconds to be watching two teams I don't care about too,” wrote Deadspin commentator pigsqueel. Perhaps a closet Buckeyes fan, site commentator peepeesprinkle dropped an elbow on Thad Matta's underachieving crew: “Black screen was preferable to any OSU basketball games this season.” Ouch, and apparently even the NIT selection committee agreed.

TheDispatch'sTodd Jones imagined what would have happened had the Ohio State-Michigan football game been similarly interrupted: couches set ablaze, fires raging and mobs operating guillotines on the Statehouse lawn. Alas, all was safe in Old Columbus Town, because in a quote Jones attributed to former Ohio State basketball coach Fred Taylor, “It's only basketball.”