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2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship (2017)

Team Marketing
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/23/2017

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/12/2017

There was a time when the only way to experience a sporting event was to see it live and in person. This all changed in May 17, 1939 when a baseball game between Columbia and Princeton was broadcast on television. From that point on, viewing sports on TV became a great American pass time and tuning into the big game was a ritual. But, if you wanted to see the game again, you were out of luck. Of course, one could see highlights on the news, but that was about it. Then, in the early 80s, we got the capability to record things off of TV, a technology which jumped by leaps and bounds when DVRs became the norm. But, do you want a game taking up space on your DVR? Now, we can get entire games on Blu-ray Disc, such as the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

On April 3, 2017, the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship was held in Phoenix, Arizona, pitting the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Coming in with a record of 33-6, the Tar Heels had once again made it the National Championship game. Just a year before, they found themselves in this same spot and about to head into overtime against Villanova, when a last second shot ended the game and the Tar Heels found themselves shocked. Now, Coach Roy Williams found himself back in the Championship game for the fourth time in twelve years, but can he win his third title with the Heels. On the other side, we have Gonzaga. This small, private school located in Spokane, Washington had certainly built its basketball resume over the years, making a name for itself in the tournament. But, 2017 marked the first time that the Bulldogs had made their way to the Final Four. After defeating a scrappy South Carolina team, Gonzaga entered the championship game with a record of 37-1. Could Coach Mark Few fulfill the dream and bring home the trophy?

The last time that Roy Williams and the Tar Heels won a National Championship, they beat the pants off of Michigan State, winning by 17 points. This game would be much closer. The Tar Heels and the Bulldogs found back and forth throughout the game, each taking the lead, but neither able to completely take over the game. In the end, the deep bench and experience of the Tar Heels prevailed and they won, 71-65, giving Williams his third championship ring, and the school its sixth title (or seventh if you are a true believer).

The Blu-ray Disc release of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship contains the entire game with no commercial interruptions. This is the complete CBS broadcast, with the announcing, color commentary, and side-line reporting from Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson. The game starts on sort of an odd note, as it begins just as the starting lineup announcements commence. From there, we simply get the entire game. So, as someone who would like to revisit the game every now and then, this release is a nice treat. However, I must say that I'm disappointed. I've seen other releases like this and in addition to offering the entire game, they have presented an overview of the season in order to provide a build up to the final game. We don't get anything like that here, and other than the extras (which were taken from the same broadcast), this is a no-frills release.

The 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship brings us the spectacle of college basketball courtesy of Team Marketing. The game has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 26 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source materials. The picture is very crisp and shows an impressive level of detail. The colors look fantastic and are very realistic -- the picture is never overly dark or bright. This rivals HD broadcast quality, delivering a pristine recreation of the game. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 2-channel track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.6 Mbps. This is where this Blu-ray Disc disappoints. Most people with a modern-day home theater setup would have watched the game in surround sound. Having it only available in stereo here robs us of the experience of having the crowd noise coming from all sides.

The 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Blu-ray Disc contains two extra features. "Halftime Report" (10 minutes) offers commentaries from Ernie Johnson, Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith, who give their insights into what they saw in the first half and what they predict for the second half. "Post-Game Ceremonies" (9 minutes) shows Roy Williams and the team accepting their trophy and being showered with beautiful Carolina blue confetti. We also hear from Joel Berry, the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. And, of course, we get to see the players cut down the nets.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long