KSL deserves a pat on the back for buying out the Huntsman Center on Saturday so it could broadcast the BYU-Arizona game in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Ch. 5 had little to gain financially from the move - the local affiliate only had 11 advertising spots before, after or during the game. As a matter of fact, the move actually cost KSL a bit of money. The station bought the last several hundred tickets at $17 a piece.(KSL thought about buying out the Thursday BYU-Virginia game as well, but it would have had to buy more than 1,200 all-session tickets at $52 each, and $60,000-plus was a bit much.)

Saturday's KSL-paid-for sellout was just a nice display of public service by the station.ON THE OTHER HAND . . . : Maybe Cougar fans only want to thank KSL for showing the first 25 minutes of Saturday's game - right up until the time BYU fell apart and Arizona breezed to an easy win. (Although maybe some Utah fans want to express their sincere appreciation for those last 15 minutes.)BOOSTER: The University of Utah's run in the NCAAs has given viewers a chance to see KUTV's Bill Marcroft at his worst. He's a fan rather than a sportscaster.

One of many Marcroftisms came when he attributed the Utes' Friday win over South Alabama to the fact that he was wearing his lucky red sweat suit. And Sunday night after the U. edged Michigan State, Marcroft was actually leading cheers - literally - at the Salt Lake airport.

It's possible to convey the enthusiasm and excitement of a winning team without becoming personally involved - one of the cardinal rules of journalism.

KUTV, KTVX and KSL each have ties with one of the instate schools - Ch. 2 with Utah, Ch. 4 with Utah State and Ch. 5 with BYU. And each lets those ties color its news judgment at times.

But Marcroft stands alone in his partisanship. (Paul James retired from KSL-TV and Jazz booster Hot Rod Hundley doesn't appear on a legitimate news program.) Other KUTV sportscasters remain professional - and more or less impartial - as do the staffs at KTVX and KSL.

Rampant partisanship is not only unprofessional but unwise. By appealing to the fans of one team, you're alienating the fans of other teams.

And, fortunately, it's becoming a thing of the past. With the exception of Marcroft.NCAAs ON CBS: For the first time in years, you haven't needed a cable subscription to catch the early round games in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Under the terms of CBS' contract, all the games are available on broadcast television. Of course, no one can see all the games because lots of them are played at the same time.

Not that CBS hasn't seemingly made an attempt to let everyone see at least part of every game - there's been that much switching back and forth.

Even the local affiliates don't know what's going to happen before it does. No one was more surprised than the folks at KSL when the final six minutes of the "blacked-out" BYU vs. Virginia game made it on the air locally Thursday night.

Certainly, it's nice to see exciting moments from different games. And I'd much prefer watching part of a different contest to listening to analysts during halftime.

And for basketball fans (as opposed to fans of a particular team), it's great to be switched away from a boring blowout to a contest that's close and exciting.

But if your team is winning by a lot (or even losing badly) it can be extremely annoying to suddenly find yourself watching a different region. Particularly when the network switches away from a "boring" game only to return later when it's close - and miss all the action in between.UNKNOWNS: We got a pretty good idea of what the powers-that-be at CBS Sports thought of the regional in Salt Lake City last week - they sent the team of Mel Proctor and Jack Givens to handle the broadcast chores.

Who?