Last month, I gave you my College Basketball TV Awards for the 2012-13 regular season. As promised, I’ll provide you with the NCAA Tournament Edition featuring my picks for Final Four, Regional Final and First Week levels. Those not worthy and there will be a couple, will get the infamous Carton of Chinese Cigarettes handed out from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Communist China.
I’ll provide the awards first for play-by-play, then game analysts, reporters and finally the studio.
Final Four Level
Marv Albert, Ian Eagle, Kevin Harlan – Marv is Marvelous. The man is a Hall of Fame announcer and during the Michigan-Kansas game, was able to pick up on the Wolverines’ comeback late in the second half and his call of Trey Burke’s three pointer to tie the game was perfectly understated.
Ian Eagle showed his versatility in calling NCAA Tournament games on both TV and radio. Does both well and allows the action to come to him. Ian had a very good call of the Davidson-Marquette game that went down to the wire.
Kevin Harlan was outstanding especially as Ohio State’s Aaron Craft hit a jumper with :02 in its Sweet Sixteen game against Arizona.
Regional Final Level
Brian Anderson, Verne Lundquist, Jim Nantz – Having this trio in the Tournament shows some very good depth on the CBS/Turner Consortium. Brian Anderson is a rising star. Calls games on Big Ten Network during the winters, then moves to his best sport, baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers and TBS Sunday Afternoon games. Could easily be on a Regional Final team down the line.
What can you say about Uncle Verne Lundquist that hasn’t already been said? He and Bill Raftery form one of the fun broadcast teams and you know that Verne plays the perfect straight man to Raft. He’s perfect at the Regional Final level.
Jim Nantz is perfect here. He would go higher except that he calls only one to two regular season games a season, yet he’s on the “A” team that goes to the Final Four. Nantz calls a good game, but I think there are several announcers who are better.
First Week Level
Tim Brando – Tim is good, but sometimes falls back on cliches. He’s perfect on the ACC Tournament on the Raycom-produced ACC Network. A nice fit with long-time partner Mike Gminski.
Carton of Chinese Cigarettes
Spero Dedes – Dedes provided some real lackluster and sleep-inducing calls. When Harvard upset New Mexico, Dedes failed to rise to the occasion and when the game ended, he gave us quite a forgettable call. His partner, Doug Gottlieb overpowered him at times.
Final Four Level
Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr, Bill Raftery – Clark Kellogg knows his stuff and provides good analysis of the action. He’s able to spot trends and finds the right words. He also stepped up during the Louisville-Duke game when Kevin Ware broke his leg in a horrific sequence. And as Jim Nantz tried to collect himself in the minutes following the injury, Kellogg did his best to describe the emotions on the court.
When Steve Kerr found out that he was going to call the NCAA Tournament three years ago, he found work with Fox Sports to call Sunday night Pac-10 games and quickly got re-immersed in the college game. It was that preparation that puts him on the Final Four Level. And teamed with Marv Albert for the first two weeks of the Tournament, Kerr provides some really good tidbits especially during Michigan-Kansas.
Bill Raftery is the Mayor of College Basketball. Perfectly teamed with Uncle Verne Lundquist, Raft provides great anecdotes, one-liners and always knows when to use his signature “ONIONS!” call. I’d love for Raft to call a Final Four on TV, but you can always hear him on radio for the event.
Regional Final Level
Len Elmore and Jim Spanarkel – Len was the last ESPN exclusive holdover to remain on the Tournament after Turner came on board. Jay Bilas wasn’t kept and while Bill Raftery also works for ESPN, he does games for CBS during the regular season, pulling a rare network double. Elmore when Reggie Miller doesn’t step all over him, provides some salient points. He really could work solo with Kevin Harlan and doesn’t need Miller along side.
Jim Spanarkel works very well with Ian Eagle. It’s hard to believe that they’ve worked 17 previous tournaments together and they’re a very good team. Spanarkel was on top of trends especially when Marquette was coming back on Davidson in the second round.
First Week Level
Dan Bonner and Mike Gminski – Both ACC Network veterans, Bonner and Gminski are perfect analysts for the first weekend of games.
Carton of Chinese Cigarettes
Doug Gottlieb and Reggie Miller – Gottlieb will harp on points to where you want him to shut up. Reggie Miller must have pictures on a network executive somewhere as he’s a terrible analyst. I understand calling NCAA Tournament games was a dream for Gottlieb, but CBS/Turner should pull the plug on him working games next year. As for Miller, he’s basketball’s version of Marcelo Balboa, a person who makes statements just to hear himself talk and makes ridiculous points.
Final Four Level
Jamie Maggio, Rachel Nichols, Craig Sager
Regional Final Level
Lewis Johnson, Marty Snider, Tracy “The Wolf” Wolfson
First Week Level
Allie LaForce, Otis Livingston
Final Four Level
Greg Gumbel and Ernie Johnson, Jr.
Regional Final Level
Final Four Level
Regional Final Level
Seth Davis and Steve Smith
First Week Level
Charles Barkley and Kenny “The Jet” Smith – I understand why Barkley and Smith are there, but they’re much better on the NBA than college basketball. Charles’ candor on the NBA works against him on the Tournament as in the case where he harped against the Big Ten.
Carton of Chinese Cigarettes
Doug Gottlieb — Who else? Failed joke aside, Gottlieb has not differentiated himself from the pack. He overpowers people on the set. He comes off as abrasive as sandpaper.
So there you have the Awards for the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Saturday, March 30
Pregame & Studio Shows
Road to the Final Four — CBS, 2:30 p.m.
NCAA Basketball Tournament Press Conference — Big Ten Network, 4 p.m.
NCAA March Madness 360 — CBS Sports Network, 4:30 p.m.
Big Ten Basketball & Beyond: Tournament Edition — Big Ten Network, 9 p.m.
NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown — CBS Sports Network, 12:30 a.m. (Sunday)
College GameDay Scoreboard — ESPN2, 1:30 a.m. (Sunday)
East Region, Washington, DC
Syracuse vs. Marquette — CBS, 4:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Rachel Nichols)
West Region, Los Angeles, CA
Wichita State vs. Ohio State — CBS, 7:05 p.m. (Kevin Harlan/Len Elmore/Reggie Miller//Lewis Johnson)
NCAA Division II Tournament, Louisville, KY
Metro State vs. West Liberty — CBS Sports Network, noon (Brad Johansen/Dan Bonner)
Western Washington vs. Drury — CBS Sports Network, 2:30 p.m. (Brad Johansen/Dan Bonner)
Bridgeport Region, Bridgeport, CT
Delaware vs. Kentucky — ESPN, noon (Beth Mowins/Doris Burke//Holly Rowe)
Maryland vs. UConn — ESPN, 2:30 p.m. (Beth Mowins/Doris Burke//Holly Rowe)
Spokane Region, Spokane, WA
Georgia vs. Stanford — ESPN, 9 p.m. (Dave Pasch/Debbie Antonelli//LaChina Robinson)
LSU vs. Cal — ESPN, 11:30 p.m. (Dave Pasch/Debbie Antonelli//LaChina Robinson)
Sunday, March 31
Pregame & Studio Shows
Knight and Auriemma: A Coaches Conversation — ESPNU, 10:30 a.m.
Road to the Final Four — CBS, 2 p.m.
NCAA March Madness 360 — CBS Sports Network, 2:30 p.m.
NCAA Basketball Tournament Press Conference: Elite Eight Postgame — Big Ten Network, 5 p.m.
Big Ten Basketball & Beyond: Tournament Edition — Big Ten Network, 7 p.m.
NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown — CBS Sports Network, 8 p.m.
College GameDay Scoreboard — ESPN2, 9 p.m.
South Regional, Arlington, TX
CBS, 2:20 p.m. (Marv Albert/Steve Kerr//Craig Sager)
Midwest Regional, Indianapolis, IN
CBS, 4:55 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg//Tracy Wolfson)
Norfolk Regional, Norfolk, VA
Kansas vs. Notre Dame — ESPN, noon (Dave O’Brien/Stephanie White//Jeannine Edwards)
Nebraska vs. Duke — ESPN, 2:30 p.m. (Dave O’Brien/Stephanie White//Jeannine Edwards)
Oklahoma City Regional, Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma vs. Tennessee — ESPN, 4:30 p.m. (Pam Ward/Rebecca Lobo//Maria Taylor)
Louisville vs. Baylor — ESPN, 7 p.m. (Pam Ward/Rebecca Lobo//Maria Taylor)
It’s been a while since I’ve written a College Basketball TV Awards post. It’s been so long, that I’ve lost the archive for it. That transition from Blogger to WordPress a few years back did it. This is mostly for the regular season. I’ll do a bonus TV Awards for the NCAA Tournament after the Elite Eight.
Anyway, let’s provide you with the best and the worst in college basketball.
Best Play-by-Play – Sean McDonough, ESPN. Sean had a very good year working with Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery in closing out the Big East Conference as we know it. From the start of the season in Maui to the last Big East Tournament in New York on ESPN, McDonough called some great games. He also had to overcome a rare condition that made him sensitive to noise, but once that was all said and done, McDonough, Bilas and Raftery have been working well together and holding them together is McDonough who knows when to keep it light and when to keep it serious. Sean is our winner for Best Play-by-Play this season
Honorable mentions: Andrew Catalon (CBS Sports Network), Ian Eagle (CBS), Dave Flemming (ESPN), Dave Pasch (ESPN), Dan Shulman (ESPN)
Best Game Analyst – Fran Fraschilla, ESPN. He may not work Duke-North Carolina or the other glamor conferences, however, Fran knows the nuances of basketball. He mainly works the Big 12 and was rightly returned to Big Monday games. He meshed well with his old partner, Ron Franklin when they used to work Big Monday and did well with Brent Musburger this season. Fraschilla is also utilized by ESPN on international games and he knows the in’s and out’s of what could be very ugly basketball, but he knows all of the players. Giving Fran some love here. He deserves it.
Honorable mentions: Jay Bilas (ESPN), Doris Burke (ESPN), Mike Gminski (ACC Network), Clark Kellogg (CBS), Shon Morris (Big Ten Network), Bill Raftery (CBS/ESPN), Stan Van Gundy (NBC Sports Network), Bill Walton (ESPN)
Best Reporter – Holly Rowe, ESPN. She’s usually on the Big 12 broadcasts with Brent Musburger and Fran Fraschilla, Holly finds some nuggets that other sideline reporters don’t. Yes, she has a reputation of being tough and unwilling to budge, but you want that in a reporter. And she can also call play-by-play as she’s been doing for the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Honorable mentions: Shelley Smith (ESPN), Stephanie White (Big Ten Network)
Best Studio Host – Rece Davis, ESPN. Ever since taking over as main college basketball host for Chris Fowler in 2006, Davis has shined in this role. He hosts the basketball version of College GameDay and while it pales in comparison to its football brethren, Davis still keeps the show together. Davis does well in his role as traffic cop handing off to various analysts including Digger Phelps. Very good host and easily could host the football version of GameDay in a heartbeat.
Honorable mentions: Dave Revsine (Big Ten Network), John Saunders (ESPN), Adam Zucker (CBS Sports Network)
Best Studio Analyst – Bruce Pearl, ESPN. In his first year, Pearl has become a very good analyst. He’s shown some humor. He’s provided some decent thoughts on teams and plays. Yes, Pearl has a checkered past, but he has shown he knows the game. There’s no doubt he’s using the ESPN platform to rehabilitate his reputation and far as his analysis is concerned, it’s been solid. And let’s hope Pearl has learned his lesson should he ever get back into coaching.
Honorable mentions: Seth Greenberg (ESPN), Jim Jackson (Big Ten Network), Wally Szczerbiak (CBS Sports Network)
Best Studio Show – Inside College Basketball, CBS Sports Network. This solid show is usually aired after CBSSN’s college basketball games. We get highlights of the games, no silly debates, solid analysis and some decent humor. CBS Sports Network needs some better distribution because not everyone can see the network. Next season, take a moment to watch the show. It’s quite good.
Honorable mentions: College Basketball Live (ESPN2/ESPNU), Katz Korner (ESPNU)
Best Move – Bill Walton on Pac-12 games, ESPN. In its infinite wisdom, ESPN signed Bill Walton for Pac-12 games, returning Big Red to national television after a prolonged absence. Viewers were treated to various insights, rants and exchanges with regular partners Dave Flemming and Dave Pasch. There was one night in which Walton was teamed with Brent Musburger and it was pure TV gold. It all climaxed with Walton on the Pac-12 Tournament for both the Pac-12 Networks and the ESPN family. It was tremendous. Here’s hoping ESPN will sign Walton for another season.
Honorable mentions: Fox Sports signing the New Big East, Teaming Bruce Pearl and Seth Greenberg in the studio (ESPN)
Most Valuable Network – ESPN. ESPN has contracts all of the major conferences. It has the most inventory. And it has most of the conference championship games. This won’t change for a while.
Worst Analyst – Doug Gottlieb, CBS. The Tiffany Network brought Gottlieb in from ESPN and mostly teamed him in the studio with Seth Davis. Gottlieb comes off as angry, a know-it-all, abrasive, argumentative and overbearing. During his feigned debate segments with Davis, Gottlieb has overpowered him and also looked smug. In addition, Gottlieb points at the American people and doesn’t stop from letting us know that his opinion is the correct one. Horrible analyst.
Worst Move – CBS adds Gottlieb to the Studio. See above.
I’m saving some material for the NCAA Tournament Edition. That’s coming next week.
Today is another action-packed podcast. Two guests. A CBS theme and lots of stuff.
Keith Thibault of Sports Media Journal and I did a brief news segment. We began by talking about Rob Parker of ESPN apologizing for his incendiary comments on last week’s First Take regarding DC NFL Team quarterback Robert Griffin III.
We then moved to Jay Mohr being named by Fox Sports Radio as the new noon-3 p.m. ET host replacing Jim Rome who is going to CBS Sports Radio.
Keith and I opined on Thursday Night Football’s record-setting year in both length of schedule, ratings and viewership and how it has cut into the numbers for ESPN’s college football and the NBA on TNT.
We completed our segment on giving Richard Deitsch’s sports media awards a plug.
Our first guest is Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports, the main college basketball analyst for the Tiffany Network. We talked about his almost 20 year career with CBS, the beginning of his broadcast career after playing for The Ohio State University and the Indiana Pacers, how the experience of covering the NCAA Tournament has been in both the studio and at the game sites and some of his best memories of the tournament. Plus we discussed having Clark’s son, Nick, participating in the Tournament last season.
We also discussed CBS’ celebration of 75 Years of March Madness and an upcoming special that Clark will be part of, 75 Years: Behind the Mic that will air on Saturday, December 29 at 2 p.m. ET
And Clark also gave us his thoughts on what to look for in this college basketball season.
Our second guest is Damon Amendolara, the 1 a.m. — 5 a.m. ET host for CBS Sports Radio when it launches on January 2. We talked about his leaving 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and heading for New York where he’ll help to launch CBS Sports Radio. Damon discussed his time working in Boston, how local markets are provincial and how some of the features that were successful on his Boston show will be handled on his CBS Sports Radio show and how he might start some new things for listeners.
I also asked Damon how he has made multiple appearances on the NFL Top 10 series on NFL Network dating back to its inception.
This was a fun podcast to be part of and I hope it comes across as you listen. You can find it on iTunes by doing a search for “Sports Media Journal” or just look for it
During CBS/Turner’s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game on Monday, we’ll see Clark Kellogg’s fourth interview with President Barack Obama. During the First Four in Dayton, OH in March, Kellogg interviewed both Mr. Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. On Monday, CBS will air Clark talking with the President solo at the White House.
This also marks the second time that Kellogg was able to talk to President Obama at White House Basketball Court. And the two men will discuss the President’s daughter playing basketball.
It all occurs sometime during CBS’ coverage of Kentucky-Kansas at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. We have the CBS blurb promoting the interview.
Interview to Air as part of CBS Sports’ National Championship Game Coverage on Monday, April 2
CBS Sports’ exclusive coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship game on Monday, April 2 (9:00 PM, ET) will feature an interview with President Barack Obama, conducted by lead college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg from the White House. This marks Kellogg’s fourth interview with President Obama.
During the interview President Obama discusses how coaching his daughter Sasha’s basketball team brings him more joy than he ever got playing himself. During the conversation, Kellogg returns to the Presidential Court at the White House where he lost a close game of POTUS (horse) to the President in 2010.
Kellogg interviewed President Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron to tip off this year’s NCAA Tournament during the first game from the NCAA First Four® in Dayton, Ohio.
Eric Mann serves as Senior Producer for CBS Sports’ coverage of THE FINAL FOUR SHOW. Debra Gelman produces. Harold Bryant is Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.
And we’re done for the weekend. Back on Monday.
The CBS Sports/Turner Sports NCAA Tournament consortium is in New Orleans to air the 2012 Final Four in the Louisiana Superdome. Kentucky-Louisville will be the first game scheduled for 6:09 p.m. ET. That will be followed by Ohio State-Kansas at approximately 8:49 p.m.
Jim Nantz will call his 22nd Final Four for CBS and attend his 27th overall for the network. Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr will the courtside analysts. Tracy Wolfson reports.
The studio crew of Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Seth Davis and Kenny “The Jet” Smith will be on a specially built set at the Superdome. And three coaches will join them as guest analysts, Tom Izzo of Michigan State, Brad Stevens of Butler and Buzz Williams of Marquette.
There will be plenty of pregame programming including The Final Four Show at 4 p.m. ET which will have features that will be listed below. And it marks another special appearance by Jim Rome in advance of his CBS Sports Network premiere next Tuesday.
We have the press release for you.
CBS SPORTS AND TURNER SPORTS’ “ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR” MARCHES IN TO NEW ORLEANS FOR CBS SPORTS’ 31ST CONSECUTIVE YEAR OF EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE OF NCAA® MEN’S FINAL FOUR ON SATURDAY, MARCH 31
Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas Vie for College Basketball’s National Championship
Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Butler’s Brad Stevens and Marquette’s Buzz Williams Join THE FINAL FOUR SHOW on Saturday
Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and march in to New Orleans as CBS Sports and Turner Sports provide exclusive coverage of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and Final Four. For the 31st consecutive year, CBS Sports broadcasts the national semi-final games live on Saturday, March 31 (6:00-11:00 PM, ET) and the National Championship game on Monday, April 2 (9:00 PM, ET-conclusion) from the Louisiana Superdome.
Saturday’s Final Four features Kentucky versus Louisville with tip-off scheduled for 6:09 PM, ET. Forty minutes after the game concludes, Ohio State takes on Kansas to determine the other participant in Monday night’s Championship game. CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, Turner Sports’ Steve Kerr call the games, with Tracy Wolfson serving as reporter. Nantz calls his 27th Final Four and National Championship, Kellogg works his fourth, and Kerr joins Nantz and Kellogg for the second time.
Leading in to the semi-final games on Saturday, March 31 (4:00-6:00 PM, ET), THE FINAL FOUR SHOW on CBS with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Seth Davis features tournament highlights, analysis of the four participating teams and interviews with coaches and players. Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens and Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams also will be on set to provide analysis.
The opening tease of CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, March 31 (6:00 PM, ET) features New Orleans rising stars Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, in a two-minute music montage previewing the Kentucky-Louisville game. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined the band in iconic Jackson Square to welcome basketball fans to New Orleans as the band performed their song “Do To Me.”
Jim Rome, host of ROME, debuting Tuesday, April 3 (6:00 PM, ET) on CBS Sports Network, contributes an interview with Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Louisville Coach Rick Pitino.
Included in the broadcast are features on:
* LOUISVILLE’S PEYTON SIVA
Directing the offense for a Top 20 college basketball program is a major responsibility, yet starting at point guard for Louisville pales in comparison to the challenges Peyton Siva has already had to overcome. When Peyton was a youngster growing up in Seattle, his father left home because of various bedeviling addictions. While Peyton’s mother, Yvette, struggled to keep the fractured family going, it was young Peyton Jr., who bravely tracked down his father, confronted him, and then, remarkably convinced him to turn his life around. Mark Burghart produces.
* KENTUCKY’S DARIUS MILLER
Darius Miller grew up in Maysville, KY, just 65 miles northeast of Lexington, and is now living his dream playing for the team he rooted for as a child. If Kentucky wins the championship, Miller would become the first player in state history to win the so-called Commonwealth Triple Crown -– capturing the boys’ high school state championship, Kentucky’s” Mr. Basketball” honors and an NCAA title at UK. As one of two seniors on the Wildcats’ Final Four roster, Miller has taken the team’s freshmen phenoms, such as SEC Player of the Year Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, under his wing. Sarah Rinaldi
* OHIO STATE’S JARED SULLINGER
Growing up as a coach’s son and winning a high school championship in the heart of Buckeye Nation, the expectations for Jared Sullinger were almost as dauntingly large as his current six-nine frame. Despite Ohio State’s surprisingly premature Sweet 16 exit last year, Sullinger resisted the lure of the NBA and assumed a leadership role in trying to fulfill his lifelong dream of bringing an NCAA championship back home to Columbus for the first time in half a century. Alanna Campbell produces.
* KANSAS’ THOMAS ROBINSON
Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson has special motivation in his quest to help lead Kansas to its fourth NCAA championship. A year ago, within the span of less-than-a-month, Robinson lost two grandparents and his 43-year-old mother, Lisa. Two nights after his mom’s funeral in Washington, D.C., Robinson was back on the court for the Jayhawks, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in an emotional victory over Kansas State. With the support of his teammates, Robinson has been able to find solace on the court. In a moving interview, he talks about the pain of enduring multiple family losses and the burden of having to help raise his eight-year-old sister, Jayla, while trying to win a national title as a tribute to the loved ones he lost in such sudden and unexpected fashion. Jeff St. Arromand produces.
* JIM ROME WITH KENTUCKY’S JOHN CALIPARI & LOUISVILLE’S RICK PITINO
Jim Rome brings together Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Louisville Coach Rick Pitino on the eve of what is being billed as the “most important sporting event in the history of the Commonwealth.” Not only are the Wildcats and the Cardinals bitter rivals, but their head coaches -– the only two coaches to ever lead three different teams to the Final Four –- have a lifelong up-and-down history together. Charlie Bloom produces.
* Special Features
In Chardon, Ohio and Harrisburg, IL, the end of February and beginning of March were supposed to be all about basketball. In both towns, the high school varsity teams were in the playoffs, with big matchups ahead on the calendar. Instead, for both places – shockingly and unfathomably –- what transpired was a week enveloped in tragedy. On Monday morning, February 27, a troubled teen opened fire in the crowded cafeteria of Chardon High School, killing three students and wounding two more. Two days later in Illinois, a tornado blew through Harrisburg in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning; seven residents were killed. Suddenly, two towns in the heart of America were forced to pick up the pieces of devastation. Perhaps improbably, both would find strength, community, and inspiration in the game of basketball. Pete Radovich produces.
Also on Saturday, CBS Sports Spectacular broadcasts THE BIG DANCE IN THE BIG EASY (3:00-3:30 PM, ET) hosted by Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg as they look back at the four previous Final Fours that took place in New Orleans. The HUMAN HIGHLIGHT REEL (3:30-4:00 PM, ET) celebrates the achievements of six former NCAA student-athletes who made a difference off the field Billy Mills, Cody Hodges, Jason Taylor, Chris Duhon, Angela Ruggiero and Amber Tollefson.
Sunday, April 1 (3:30-4:30 PM, ET), CBS Sports’ Seth Davis hosts KINGS OF THE COURT, which looks at some of the top college basketball coaches in America including Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Kansas’ Bill Self. The one-hour special examines the blueprint to success through exclusive interviews and footage of these leaders and their respective programs. THE HIGH SCHOOL SLAM DUNK & 3-POINT CHAMPIONSHIPS (4:30-6:00 PM, ET) highlights the nation’s elite high school players as they compete in New Orleans over Final Four weekend in a Slam Dunk contest and the Boy’s and Girl’s 3-Point Championships.
PRELUDE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP with Gumbel, Anthony, Barkley, Smith and Davis precedes Monday evening’s National Championship game (9:00 PM, ET).
Bob Dekas, coordinating producer of CBS Sports’ NCAA basketball coverage, produces the 2012 Final Four and Bob Fishman directs. Eric Mann produces the preview and halftime programs, and Bob Matina directs.Harold Bryant is Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.
CBS SPORTS AND TURNER SPORTS 2012 NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Saturday, March 31
CBS: 4:00-6:00 PM — THE FINAL FOUR SHOW
CBS: 6:00-11:00 PM — NCAA MEN’S FINAL FOUR, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
truTV: 11:30 PM-12:30 AM — Inside March Madness
Monday, April 2
CBS: 9:00-11:30 PM — MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
truTV: 12:00-1:00 AM — Inside March Madness
For the last few weeks, we’ve been having issues with the server and some of you have complained to me. Suffice to say that I hope to have this fixed very soon. I will keep you apprised of the situation. In the meantime, thanks for your patience on the matter.
To the links.
We begin with the passing of legendary Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher who died Sunday at the age of 93. Even though he had retired from full-time writing in 2009, he continued to write for his old newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as well as his own website. And he was planning to cover The Masters in April.
He covered practically every big sporting event in his 59 years at the AJC and was also instrumental in bringing professional sports to Georgia. Bisher also co-authored Hank Aaron’s autobiography. His career began in 1938 in his native North Carolina and he began with the Journal-Constitution in 1950.
Alexis Stevens of the AJC writes that Bisher passed in his sleep.
Bill King of the AJC says Bisher’s shadow looms large in Atlanta.
Bisher also wrote an occasional column for the Albany (GA) Herald for the last three years and the newspaper also mourns his passing.
He also wrote guest columns for the Newton (GA) Citizen.
The Augusta (GA) Chronicle picks up an Associated Press obituary on Bisher.
Bisher has been inducted into several Halls of Fame including the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame as well as the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame.
And yes, when news of Bisher’s passing hit, it even trended worldwide on Twitter.
Bisher was a prolific writer even during retirement and was revered by colleagues and athletes. To say he will be missed is an understatement.
To other links now.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today says CBS/Turner’s Clark Kellogg had to miss seeing his son, Nick, playing in the NCAA Tournament in Ohio, and will do so again this weekend.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek writes that regional sports networks are already raking in strong ad sales for the upcoming MLB season.
Stephen Williams from Advertising Age notes that Jeremy Lin has signed an endorsement deal with Volvo which could make him the focus of a campaign in Communist China.
Toni Fitzgerald at Media Life says the NCAA Tournament is off to a strong ratings start.
Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has video of CBS/Turner’s Charles Barkley making the obligatory Hardcore Pawn joke. I saw this last night and was in stitches.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick is swinging the ax once again.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union says CBS/Turner continue to see ratings increases for the NCAA Tournament.
The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg in the DC Sports Bog notes that the local ESPN Radio affiliate has found a replacement for John Thompson’s show.
Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times has his take on the weekend in sports television.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the city’s two NCAA Tournament team will be on CBS during the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals.
Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago writes about Ed Sherman leaving Crain’s Chicago Business’ sports business and media and launching a new website of his own.
The Denver Post’s Dusty Saunders is enjoying Charles Barkley on the NCAA Tournament.
Jay Posner at the San Diego Union-Tribune says two local sports radio hosts are switching stations.
Tony Jackson at ESPN LA writes about Vin Scully cutting back on broadcasting the Dodgers this season.
Raju Mudhar from the Toronto Star says sports is moving online, but at a snail’s pace.
The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin says the Blue Jays’ Omar Vizquel is a natural fit for television.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog reviews TSN’s NCAA Tournament coverage.
Jim Weber at Lost Letterman says it’s time to end the Kenny Smith/Charles Barkley experience on the NCAA Tournament.
And I’ll finish it there for now.
Let’s do some megalinks on this Friday. My apologies for the lack of posts yesterday. The site was swamped with people linking to my post on How to Avoid Paying the $3.99 Fee For March Madness Live and it was down for most of the day. We seem to be ok today, although the site was down for a short stretch in the morning. But we’re back up now and time for some megalinks on this Friday.
The Weekend Viewing Picks are up and running. Lots of sports as the winter NCAA Championships including the basketball tournaments are underway.
Let’s get to your links.
Michael Hiestand from USA Today praises CBS/Turner for bringing the NCAA head of men’s basketball officiating back to explain controversial calls.
Reid Cherner of USA Today’s Game On blog remembers a great NCAA Tournmament buzzer beater from 1981 as called by NBC’s Marv Albert.
Sports Business Daily notes the overnight ratings for Thursday’s games from the NCAA Tournament were down, but still considered a win for CBS/Turner.
Matt Carmichael from Advertising Age tells us which two schools were Googled the most during yesterday’s NCAA Tournament action.
Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid has the absolutely hilarious video of a WGN morning news anchor trying to amp up the volume at ESPN’s Dick Vitale while technical difficulties arise.
Karen Hogan from Sports Video Group writes that the National Invitation Tournament may be the NCAA Tournament’s ugly sister, but it still gets major treatment from ESPN.
To Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing who notes another Twitter feud involving CNBC’s Darren Rovell, this one with Bomani Jones.
Sports Media Watch says Thursday’s 2nd round NCAA Tournament games received slightly lower overnight ratings from the year before.
Dave Kohl of The Broadcast Booth wants to know why name calling in sports radio is a more punishable offense than inaccurate reporting.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy asks if the NHL’s new Stanley Cup ad campaign to replace the great “History Will Be Made” promos can be as successful.
Laura Northrup of the Consumerist wonders why NBA League Pass hasn’t adjusted to Daylight Savings Time?
All Access says ESPN Deportes Radio in Chicago has picked up the Spanish rights to the White Sox.
La Liga Talk has learned that Al Jazeera has obtained the US TV rights to Spain’s La Liga from Gol TV.
East and Mid-Atlantic
The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn talks with ESPN’s Dick Vitale.
At SB Nation Boston, Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen says social networking may have created spoiled fans.
Tazina Vega from the New York Times says the NHL is hoping to lure viewers by airing all of its Stanley Cup Playoff games on various NBC Sports platforms.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post feels the CBS/Turner NCAA Tournament collaboration has become the Home Shopping Network. Whatever.
The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with CBS/Turner analyst Clark Kellogg.
Justin has 5 questions for MSG Network NBA analyst Kelly Tripucka.
Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that the Onion has skewered the DC NFL Team.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with a Turner Sports Interactive executive on how Twitter is incorporated into this year’s NCAA Tournament coverage.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says NBC will air this fall’s Miami-Notre Dame football game in primetime.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle notes that CBS/Turner’s Charles Barkley criticized Baylor’s ugly neon yellow uniforms.
David has the CBS/Turner announcing assignments for Saturday’s NCAA Tournament action.
Mel Bracht from The Oklahoman notes that Cox Cable subscribers can access the NCAA March Madness Live app for free provided they authenticate.
John E. Hoover from the Tulsa World says the Big 12′s new TV deals will ensure the survival of the conference.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that Reds voice Marty Brennaman can be heard in a new UPS March Madness ad.
While Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel enjoys the NCAA Tounament, there are some things he can do without.
Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business announces he’ll no longer be writing his sports business and media blog for the publication.
Ed says he will be launching a new site on the sports media and I look forward to seeing it when it finally comes to fruition.
Brigid Sweeney of Crain’s Chicago Business notes that Bulls TV analyst Stacey King now has a new fashion line.
Paul Christian at the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says the national Junior College championships can be seen online.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the local CBS affiliate didn’t help matters by taking up a large portion of the screen during NCAA Tournament action for weather updates.
Bill Center at the San Diego Union-Tribune says maybe, maybe Fox Sports San Diego will launch on Saturday provided MLB approval comes that quickly.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star looks at the Erin Andrews network sweepstakes.
Jim says the NCAA Tournament has become predictable.
Jim has his weekend viewing picks.
Richard Horgan of Fishbowl LA says ESPN will not discipline its SoCal reporters for getting a big story wrong on the Dodgers ownership bid process.
We are going to end the links there. Not as many as in past weeks, but still a hefty amount. Enjoy your weekend.
Let’s provide you with some more links.
Stephen Wilson of the Associated Press says the International Olympic Committee hopes to have the US TV rights for the 2014/16 Olympics and possibly the 2018/20 Games awarded by mid-June.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand notes that without UConn in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Game, ESPN did not suffer much of a ratings dropout last night.
Sports Illustrated tennis writer Jon Wertheim answers readers questions and frustrations about Tennis Channel.
Marcus Vanderberg from SportsNewser has the video of former sports anchor and boxing announcer Nick Charles talking to his former employer, CNN about his last stages of life. As you may be aware, Nick has incurable cancer and probably doesn’t have long to live. What a very poignant video.
And here’s the story from CNN.com on Nick Charles from Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk says ESPN is bringing back Jon “This Guy” Gruden’s QB camp.
ESPN’s First Take gives you a behind the scenes look at what it takes to bring a show together.
Sheldon Spencer at ESPN Front Row explains what the ESPN Car Wash means.
Robin Berger at TV Technology says ESPN wants to change the way baseball is brought into your home.
The Atlantic 10 Conference has announced that it has extended a rights agreement with ESPN for two more seasons. CBS Sports remains the main rightsholder.
Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reports that 98.5 The Sports Hub has reupped its afternoon drive team.
The Inside Track girls at the Boston Herald talk about Patriots running back Danny Woodhead’s visit to ESPN yesterday.
Barry Janoff of NY Sports Journalism speaks with CBS/Turner’s Clark Kellogg.
Celeste E. Whittaker of Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post enjoyed watching CBS/Turner’s coverage of the NCAA Tournament.
To the Baltimore Sun where Steve Gould says MASN is seeing significant ratings spikes for the Orioles in the young season.
Scott Claire of the Naples (FL) Daily News says ESPN’s Dick Vitale will be making an appearance at a local youth basketball league.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says this year’s viewership for the NCAA Tournament was up from last year.
Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Sean Casey made a triumphant return to the Reds last night as a member of Fox Sports Ohio.
Kari Petrie of the St. Cloud (MN) Times says Charter Communications does not have an agreement to pick up 45 extra Minnesota Twins games that will be aired on Fox Sports Net. Those 45 games came from over the air rightsholder WFTC.
The Grand Forks (ND) Herald says ESPN will have cameras at a University of North Dakota viewing party for cut-ins during its coverage of the NCAA Frozen Four on Thursday.
Anthony Gimino from the Tucson Citizen says this September’s Oklahoma State-Arizona game will be moved to a Thursday night to accommodate ESPN.
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times talks Lakers with ESPN/ABC’s Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy.
Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News who has been doing a bang up job covering the Pac 12 rights negotiations says it appears the conference is seeking to sign a very lucrative deal and NBC/Comcast seems to be the frontrunner.
Kevin Lynch at the San Francisco Chronicle talks with new 49ers radio analyst Eric Davis.
Cory Wolfe of the Saskatchewan Star Phoenix talks with new TSN Sportscentre anchor Natasha Staniszewski.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog looks at the implications in the Quebec TV market if the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers pack up and leave for Canada for the 2012-13 season.
The Sports Media Watch notes that the overnight ratings for NASCAR on Fox dipped again on Sunday.
Wendy Parker notes that there are plenty of outlets for women’s basketball coverage.
And that’s where we’ll end it for linkage. I think you have plenty for now.
After a crazy period from 6:30 p.m. Friday until Sunday morning, when my new server host verified my account, I really didn’t have a blogging home to speak of. After Web Hub Hosting decided to remove my site from its servers following a Denial of Service attack that had apparently targeted Fang’s Bites. After discussing this with the extremely unhelpful Web Hub Hosting techies who refused to give me any information, I was in a holding pattern until Saturday night when they told me to pack up my stuff and leave. They provided me with backup of my archives so I had to quickly find another host, all this while UConn-Kentucky was airing on CBS.
The Host Monster people not only were very cooperative and understanding, but took the time to walk me through transferring my archives to its servers. It’s greatly appreciated and they were patient with me in getting me through a rather stressful transition. And by Sunday morning, I could blog once again. Let’s put it this way, Web Hub Hosting was extremely unhelpful, stalling and not forthcoming about what happened to my site. Host Monster was very gracious and helpful in getting me set up again. So you see that being helpful goes a long way. I’m very thankful to Host Monster’s tech support for the help and the efficiency of getting my blog back up and running. Greatly appreciated.
Now to our links.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today feels CBS’ three man team of Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr got the job done at the Final Four®.
ESPN Ombudsmen Kelly McBride and Regina McCombs take ESPN to task over the Jalen Rose story where he did not originally reveal his arrest on DUI charges last month.
At ESPN Front Row, Company Vice President of Content Development Ron Wechsler tells you where to eat if you’re on the road.
Saturday was ESPN.com’s 16th birthday and editor Ron King celebrated on Front Row.
Sports Business Daily notes that CBS had its best Final Four® ratings in six years.
Daniel Kaplan from Sports Business Journal says the National Football League is going to plan for a worse-case weather scenario at future Super Bowls.
John Ourand from SBJ profiles the founder of ESPN, Bill Rasmussen who is now looking for the next big thing.
And SBJ has more profiles of people who it has deemed “Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business” for 2011.
Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid has the video of SNY airing the audio of a Family Guy clip ragging on the New York Mets during a game replay over the weekend.
Jason Fry writing for the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center says Twitter has changed the way he waits for and reports on waiver wire news.
Nyay Bushan of the Hollywood Reporter notes that the India-Pakistan World Cup cricket match watched by millions around the world, garnered a huge audience and broke a viewing record in India.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News writes about ESPN launching the Longhorn Network.
Mike writes that a Hollywood investment company is looking to launch a group of regional sports networks across the country.
Toni Fitzgerald from Media Life writes about CBS’ ratings for the Final Four®.
Louisa Ada Seltzer of Media Life Magazine says CBS has the best of both worlds in tonight’s NCAA National Championship game.
At Sports TV jobs, Pamela Modarelli Hegner talks with four women including ESPN’s Suzy Kolber and Cindy Brunson about their experiences in sports TV journalism.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if people will watch tonight’s Butler-UConn game.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban asks us if ESPN has a Twitter problem.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes that SNY higher ups are not laughing over a tech who slipped in a Family Guy audio drop into a Mets game replay.
Richard also talks with former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, former Yankees broadcaster and former National League President Bill White about his new candid and frank autobiography.
Once again, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is in an extremely hateful mood.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union says ESPN has launched the Longhorn Network.
To the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg notes that MASN has made spelling errors all over the place.
Barry Svrluga of the Post talks with CBS’ Verne Lundquist about the iconic 1986 Masters which a 46 year old Jack Nicklaus became the oldest man to win the tournament.
Jim Williams with the Washington Examiner talks with CBS’ Jim Nantz.
Tom Jones from the St. Petersburg Times reviews the weekend in sports television.
David Barron at the Houston Chronicle spent some time with ESPN’s Dick Vitale.
David says for the NCAA basketball national champion , it’s all about hearing “One Shining Moment” at the end of the game.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gets Joe Buck’s take on the Albert Pujols contract negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Crain’s Chicago Business’ Ed Sherman says the White Sox need a fast start to pay some pretty hefty bills this season.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post writes that the Final Four® three man booth worked well.
At the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Norm Clarke says ESPN’s Stuart Scott allowed a teenager to take a golf swing for a possible donation to his college fund.
Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News has your sports calendar for this week.
Tom talks with ESPN’s Bobby Valentine about his time with the Dodgers and his new gig on Sunday Night Baseball.
Tom has more with Bobby in his blog.
To the Toronto Star where Raju Mudhar notes that a familiar voice to Toronto sports fans is heading to TSN Radio.
Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail says TSN may finally have the final piece to its radio puzzle.
Sports Media Watch notes that the NBA on TNT did very well on Thursday outrating MLB on ESPN.
Joe Favorito looks at how sports talk radio is growing in Israel.
And I will end it there.
Just received this from the CBS/Turner collaborative regarding this Saturday’s Final Four®. This is the first year that Turner will have a hand in the coverage and an extensive pregame show will be aired on truTV before CBS’ coverage starts at 4 p.m. Eastern. Then the games will air, Butler-VCU at 6:09 p.m. then Kentucky-UConn at 8:49 p.m. or 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr will team up to call the Final Four®. Tracy Wolfson will work the sidelines.
Greg Gumbel will host from Reliant Stadium in Houston. He’ll be joined by Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Seth Davis and Kenny “The Jet” Smith.
We also have several features you’ll see on the Final Four Show which includes David Letterman which is always good to see. Your coverage plans in complete detail are below.
CBS SPORTS AND TURNER SPORTS’ “ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR” TRAVELS TO HOUSTON FOR CBS SPORTS’ 30th CONSECUTIVE YEAR OF EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE OF NCAA® MEN’S FINAL FOUR ON SATURDAY, APRIL 2
Connecticut, Kentucky, Butler and VCU Vie for College Basketball’s National Championship
Connecticut, Kentucky, Butler and VCU are on the road to Houston as CBS Sports and Turner Sports provide exclusive coverage of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and Final Four. For the 30th consecutive year, CBS Sports will broadcast live the national semi-final games on Saturday, April 2 (6:00-11:00 PM, ET) and the National Championship game on Monday, April 4 (9:00 PM, ET-conclusion) from Reliant Stadium.
Saturday’s Final Four features Butler versus VCU, with tip-off scheduled for 6:09 PM, ET. Forty minutes after the game concludes, Connecticut takes on Kentucky to determine the final participant in Monday night’s Championship game. Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr call the games along with Tracy Wolfson serving as reporter. Nantz will be covering his 26th Final Four and National Championship, Kellogg will be working his third, and Kerr joins Nantz and Kellogg to call his first Final Four and National Championship.
On Saturday, April 2 (3:00-4:00 PM, ET) “Infiniti NCAA Tip-Off” starts the day’s coverage on truTV. Leading in to the semi-final games, THE FINAL FOUR SHOW (4:00-6:00 PM, ET) on CBS with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Seth Davis features tournament highlights, analysis of the four participating teams and interviews with coaches and players. Included in the broadcast are features on:
* Matt Howard, Butler – Senior forward Matt Howard embodies Butler basketball. The three-time Academic All-America has been a leader in the Bulldogs Final Four runs the past two years. The values he exhibits on the court and within the Butler community were instilled in him growing up in rural Connersville, Indiana as the eighth of 10 children. The Final Four Show visits with Howard and those closest to him as he prepares for the culmination of his storied collegiate career. Alanna Campbell produces.
* Kemba Walker, Connecticut - A first-team All-America and native of the Bronx, N.Y., Kemba Walker is the heart and soul of the Connecticut Huskies. Walker has led his team to nine straight wins since the end of the regular-season, including five wins in five days to capture the Big East Conference Championship. The Final Four Show sits down with Walker and his mother, Andrea, and learns something special about this NCAA Tournament star. Jeff St. Arromand produces.
* Kentucky - It was only two years ago that Kentucky didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, and after reaching the Elite Eight last season, five Kentucky players left for the NBA, all first-round picks. Other teams might have had to rebuild, but head coach John Calipari has the Wildcats in their first Final Four since 1998, thanks to the leadership of senior Josh Harrelson, juniors DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller, along with a talented trio of freshmen. Sarah Rinaldi produces.
* VCU Confidential – From the first-ever FIRST FOUR to their first-ever Final Four, the VCU Rams are enjoying a historic tournament run. The feature captures Head Coach Shaka Smart and his team behind-the-scenes as the Rams prepare to take on Butler, and a chance to advance to the National Championship game.
* A Coaching Bond - While working together at Florida to build the Gators’ program into a national powerhouse, Head Coach Billy Donovan and his assistants, John Pelphrey and Anthony Grant, forged a bond as colleagues and close friends. Their relationship grew stronger as they supported each other while coping with shared grief through a series of personal tragedies. Sarah Rinaldi produces.
* John Wooden - Known as “The Wizard of Westwood,” legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden stands as one of the most revered and successful college basketball coaches in history. Wooden led his Bruins to 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years. Wooden was more than just a coach, as he projected a unique vision and perspective on life that transcended sports. As a special tribute to Coach Wooden, who passed away last June, this feature looks back at some of the timeless inspirational wisdom he passed on. Charlie Bloom produces.
* David Letterman Breaks down the Bracket with Bill Raftery - As anyone who filled out a bracket this tournament knows, there probably weren’t too many people who successfully chose the Final Four teams. David Letterman puts his unique spin on March Madness, and is joined by CBS Sports’ Bill Raftery. Deb Gelman produces.
Bob Dekas, coordinating producer of CBS Sports’ NCAA basketball coverage, produces the 2011 Final Four and Bob Fishman directs. Eric Mann produces the pre- and post-game and halftime programs, and Bob Matina directs. Harold Bryant is Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.
CBS SPORTS AND TURNER SPORTS 2011 NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Sat., April 2
truTV: 3:00-4:00 PM – NCAA Tip-Off
CBS: 4:00-6:00 PM – THE FINAL FOUR SHOW
CBS: 6:00-11:00 PM – NCAA MEN’S FINAL FOUR, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
truTV: 11:30 PM-12:30 AM – Inside March Madness
Mon., April 4
truTV: 8:00-9:00 PM – NCAA Tip-Off
CBS: 9:00-11:30 PM – MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
truTV: 12:00-1:00 AM – Inside March Madness
And we’ll end it there.
CBS may have added TNT’s Charles Barkley and Kenny “The Jet” Smith to its NCAA Tournament Selection Show, unveiled a new set, new graphics and a jazzed up theme, but it was the same old, same old when it came to unveiling the teams for the expanded 68 team tourney.
We had an energized Greg Gumbel hosting, sitting in the middle in between CBS’ Greg Anthony and Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated to his right, our left and TNT’s Barkley and Smith to his left, our right. But as the selections of the first region were drawn out past a commercial break, it was the CBS formula from past years that took over the Selection Show. And a surprisingly subdued Barkley choosing to hold back on the personality that we have come to know and love from TNT’s NBA coverage.
Barkley did say last week that he would not be as critical of the college players as he would normally be on the professionals, but I didn’t think that he would also mean taking the edge off his TV personality as well. Instead of being strong and charismatic on TNT, Barkley deferred to Davis and Anthony. Kenny Smith is Kenny Smith, very good and smooth in his first appearance on CBS.
The first appearance for Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg did not come until after the entire 68 team field was announced. And their interview of Selection Committee Chairman Gene Smith of Ohio State was filled with softball questions rather than seeking to find out why VCU and UAB made the tournament and teams like Colorado, Virginia Tech and Harvard did not.
I was also surprised that questions did not come from the studio panel in New York, having the entire interview conducted in Indianapolis, where Nantz and Kellogg called the Big Ten Tournament and where the Selection Committee was based.
The strongest opinions came from ESPN’s Bracketology show where Dick Vitale yelled about the Colorado and Virginia Tech omissions and Jay Bilas outright questioned the committee’s basketball knowledge. Of course, ESPN does not have the rights to the NCAA Men’s Tournament so the opinions from Vitale, Bilas, Hubert Davis and Digger Phelps were more pointed than CBS’ which chose to focus on strengths of the regions rather than question the committee’s integrity.
I do wish Barkley was a bit more forceful in his opinions, but it showed that he hasn’t focused on college basketball. I hope we see more of the personality that has made Barkley into one of the stronger studio analysts in the last ten years, instead of the subdued person that was seen on CBS Sunday night.
Also, the satellite delay from several locations attempting to show the reaction of schools making it into the NCAA Tournament has to be fixed. The delays appear to be getting worse each year. Gumbel tried to make light of the delayed reactions, but they just slowed the show down.
Overall, it’s the CBS formula with the Selection Show. Provide the #1 seeds, go to break, then go over all of the regions followed by an interview with the Selection Committee Chairman, followed by reaction, then 60 Minutes. Wash, rinse, repeat. Here’s hoping CBS/Turner can do a bit more with the studio when the NCAA Tournament rolls around on Tuesday.
As I was watching ESPN’s coverage of the Home Run Derby through MLB.com, two quick observations. Chris Berman is just plain awful. And during one commercial break, Chris asked his producer during a blimp shot, “Is that the Empire State Building?” Had that been me, I would have replied, “Um, what the hell do you think, Jerky?” That’s probably the reason why I’m not a producer. I would not have the patience. And when Erin Andrews walked behind home plate while Justin Morneau was batting in the second round, she got a huge round of cheers from the fans. Very funny.
To some linkage.
Newsday’s Neil Best cautions his readers not to jump to any conclusions as WFAN’s Mike & the Mad Dog are back together again, for now. Neil tells us that ESPN has hired former NFL QB Trent Dilfer as an analyst.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Dilfer will join ESPN’s NFL Primetime and other various ESPN studio shows. Eggerton adds that the Open Championship on ABC may not be the only TV work that Tom Watson will do.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks with two New York Yankees executives who say that the time will lose money this season.
John Consoli of Mediaweek reports that despite a slow start to the season, MLB TV partners, ESPN, Fox and TBS have had strong ad sales.
Also from Mediaweek, Mike Shields writes that NBC is almost sold out of its online ads for the Olympics and is getting ready for record web traffic to its website.
Paul J. Gough of the Hollywood Reporter writes that NBC could rake in a record $1 billion in ad revenues for the Olympics in Communist China.
Ray Melick of the Birmingham News reports that Ken Stabler is taking himself off University of Alabama football broadcasts after he was arrested on drunk driving charges last month. Cecil Hunt of the Tuscaloosa News says Stabler is taking a leave of absence for this season.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron talks with Billy Packer who says his departure from CBS was planned since last year.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette wonders what will be Packer’s next move.
Alan Ford of the Shelby (NC) Star says he won’t miss Packer.
Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald Record says Clark Kellogg looks forward to filling Packer’s seat next to Jim Nantz.
Chris Pursell in his TV Week Pressbox blog says Kellogg is a perfect fit with Nantz.
Here’s the press release from CBS announcing Kellogg’s promotion.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun has Ron Darling’s comments during TBS’ telecast of the Red Sox-Orioles game on Sunday.
Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times writes that Florida high school football coaches aren’t happy about ESPN placing college football games on Friday nights.
That’s going to do it for tonight.