This year brings a lot of upheaval for the CBS/Turner team for this year’s NCAA Tournament. With Greg Anthony suspended, Steve Kerr in the NBA, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill named to the “A” team with Jim Nantz, analysts and reporters have to be shuffled and that’s exactly what CBS/Turner has done. It also means the end of several venerable teams like Verne Lundquist and Raft, Ian Eagle and Jim Spanakel, and Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Len Elmore.
It also means some new analysts come into the fold like Steve Smith who’s been in the studio since Turner joined CBS in 2011 and Steve Lappas who gets a deserved NCAA Tournament slot after toiling for years on CBS Sports Network.
Ian Eagle’s new partner will be the abrasive Doug Gottlieb. Uncle Verne will work with the Bird’s old partner, Spanarkel and they’ll go to the second weekend along with reporter Allie LaForce. Marv Albert will work with his occasional TNT partner Chris Webber and Len Elmore. Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller will be joined by Dan Bonner. And Andrew Catalon returns and he will work with Lappas.
New sideline reporters include former NESN Boston Bruins rinkside reporter Jamie Erdahl and Evan Washburn and they replace Kristine Leahy and Otis Livingston.
Here’s what the lineup looked like in 2014:
Play-By-Play / Analyst // Reporter
*Regional Weekend Announce Teams
Jim Nantz / Greg Anthony // Tracy Wolfson*
Marv Albert / Steve Kerr // Craig Sager*
Verne Lundquist / Bill Raftery // Allie LaForce*
Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Len Elmore // Rachel Nichols*
Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Lewis Johnson
Brian Anderson / Dan Bonner // Kristine Leahy
Spero Dedes / Doug Gottlieb // Jaime Maggio
Andrew Catalon / Mike Gminski // Otis Livingston
Here’s the official CBS/Turner announcement:
CBS Sports and Turner Sports Announce 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Commentator Team
Grant Hill and Bill Raftery Join Jim Nantz and Tracy Wolfson to Call Final Four and National Championship
Chris Webber, Steve Lappas and Steve Smith Added as Game Analysts
Mateen Cleaves Joins March Madness Studio Team
Turner Sports and CBS Sports will feature a collection of marquee commentators for its fifth consecutive year of combined coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. CBS Sports and Turner Sports will once again provide live, full national coverage of all 67 tournament games across four networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – as well as NCAA March Madness Live, beginning Tuesday, March 17, with the NCAA First Four on truTV.
This year’s NCAA Final Four National Semifinals from Indianapolis will be televised Saturday, April 4 on TBS with team-specific “Teamcast” coverage available via TNT and truTV. The National Championship will air Monday, April 6 on CBS.
The networks’ commentator lineup includes several new roles for this year’s coverage:
- Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will provide game analysis with play-by-play commentator Jim Nantz and reporter Tracy Wolfson throughout the NCAA Tournament, including their first time calling the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship on television.
- Chris Webber, Steve Lappas and Steve Smith will contribute to the networks’ tournament coverage as game analysts for the first time this year. Webber will join play-by-play commentator Marv Albert, analyst Len Elmore and reporter Craig Sager during the first two weeks of the tournament. Lappas will team with Andrew Catalon and reporter Jamie Erdahl, while Smith will pair with play-by-play commentator Brian Anderson and reporter Lewis Johnson throughout the first week of the tournament.
- Mateen Cleaves will be a studio analyst, joined by host Matt Winer and analyst Seth Davis from Turner Studios in Atlanta.
Ernie Johnson will once again host studio coverage from the Final Four and National Championship with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith. They will be joined by Greg Gumbel with analysts Reggie Miller, Seth Davis, Steve Smith and college coaches. Gumbel and Johnson will host studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York during the first full week of the tournament, with Johnson hosting studio coverage from Atlanta during the second week of tournament action. Steve Smith also joins the studio team in Atlanta following the opening week while Doug Gottlieb joins studio coverage from New York.
Following is the complete list of announcer pairings:
Play-by-Play / Analyst // Reporter
* Regional Weekend Announce Teams
Jim Nantz / Bill Raftery / Grant Hill // Tracy Wolfson*
Marv Albert / Chris Webber / Len Elmore // Craig Sager*
Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce*
Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner // Rachel Nichols*
Ian Eagle / Doug Gottlieb // Evan Washburn
Brian Anderson / Steve Smith // Lewis Johnson
Spero Dedes / Mike Gminski // Jaime Maggio
Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // Jamie Erdahl
The tournament will tip off Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18 with the NCAA First Four on truTV. Brian Anderson will call Tuesday’s games with analyst Steve Smith and reporter Lewis Johnson. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play on Wednesday alongside analyst Doug Gottlieb and reporter Evan Washburn. Studio coverage for the First Four will originate from Atlanta with Matt Winer and analysts Seth Davis, Mateen Cleaves and Wally Szczerbiak.
Accompanying the live television presentation, NCAA March Madness Live will once again be the ultimate digital destination for direct access to all 67 games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
And that will do it.