Take A Bracket Break With These Basketball-Theme Shows On Streampix

Charles Barkley hosts "Saturday Night Live." (NBC)

Now sure, the Super Bowl is a big event. But when you get right down to it, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament makes it look like your kid’s Saturday T-ball game. There’s a reason they call it March Madness…. for most of this month, this annual event is guaranteed to make much of the country both crazy and angry.

The Super Bowl is just one game that lasts one afternoon (if you don’t count the two weeks of non-stop hype and relentless commercial tie-ins leading up to it). The NCAA tourney is more than two weeks of games featuring 64 teams competing to be the best in their sport, also inspiring more than 140 million people to tune in to not only watch but see how they did filling out the 60 million or so bracket sheets that get done every year. You don’t just watch March Madness. You’ve got a stake in it.

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Certainly some people will watch because they have pride in their alma mater. And others will watch because they love the face-painted, mascot-hugging excitement in the arenas. However, you don’t need to have seen 10 seconds of a college basketball game during the season to care about the tournament since it’s become such a field day for amateur gamblers everywhere. Anyone can watch the contests with some degree of passion, so there’s really nothing quite like the viewing experience in store for the next couple of weeks.

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However, everyone also needs a break. So if all your bracket teams are gone by Friday, or you just want a distraction for half an hour between games, Xfinity Streampix has these basketball-related episodes of several popular shows that should do the trick.

Monk, “Mr. Monk and the Big Game”

In this 2006 episode of the quirky detective series, Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) tried his hand at coaching a high school girls’ basketball team in order to solve a case. The most surprising discovery here wasn’t a clue to catch a killer, however. It was finding Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence in one of her very first, and smallest, roles…..she played the team mascot and spent most of the episode inside an animal costume.

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Saturday Night Live,  “Charles Barkley”

Whether it’s through his commercial endorsements, talk show appearances or failed golfing attempts, sometimes it’s hard to remember that Charles Barkley was one of the best players in NBA history. He’s as legendary now for his one-liners as he was for his rebounds, and this 2010 “SNL” episode was his second time hosting the show (he’s done it three times now). Okay, so he may have a bit of an issue reading off cue cards but still…the man has no problem scoring big with his comedy (including a “Scared Straight” parody”).

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Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, “Wax On Wax Off”

Okay, so this episode had about as much to do with basketball as Dennis Rodman has to do with international relations. Still, Kourtney Kardashian is the wife of a pro basketball player – Los Angeles Clipper Lamar Odom. And in this 2010 installment of the series, the storyline revolved around Odom’s impending visit to Miami, and Kourtney’s ill-advised attempt to take her usual bikini wax one step further to make him happy.

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The Office, “Basketball”

This first-season episode was reportedly inspired by a deleted scene in Episode One which found Michael Scott (Steve Carell) mentioning a pick-up basketball game. It features his ill-fated attempts to get his staff involved in a game against the warehouse employees. Needless to say, it goes just about as well as every other Michael Scott attempt to do pretty much anything. The best part about “Basketball”? No matter how bad your game skills are, you’ll feel much better about them after watching Michael shoot free throws or try to imitate the Harlem Globetrotters.

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Rescue Me, “Pussified”

Sports was always in the background of this series about a group of New York City firefighters adjusting to life after 9/11. Maybe it was the crew’s occasional hockey showdowns with the police department team. Perhaps it was New York Yankee Derek Jeter showing up in the show’s promos back when it was still on the air. Nowhere was sports more important, though, than in this fourth-season episode that found the crew’s lieutenant (John Scurti) using blackmail to recruit a ringer (Larenz Tate) onto the firehouse’s basketball team.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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