As it helped orchestrate the NBA schedule after the lockout, ABC wanted a marquee matchup for the Sunday in between Saturday's NCAA semifinals and Monday's championship game.

Back in early December, pitting Derrick Rose's Bulls against Kevin Durant's Thunder seemed like a guarantee of big ratings and plenty of drama.

A matchup of the No. 1 teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences ought to be a ratings bonanza for the network this afternoon, but Rose won't be playing, so the game has lost a bit of its luster.

Instead of hearing about Rose's campaign for a second consecutive MVP award, expect to hear about Tom Thibodeau deserving consideration for a second straight Coach of the Year award for keeping the Bulls cruising along with the best record in the league despite Rose missing 19 games because of back and groin injuries.

Rose has backed Durant as this season's MVP, and you have to wonder if there isn't a subliminal slap at his Eastern Conference rival, LeBron James, in that endorsement.