Thursday, March 11, 1999

CBS has eye on Midwest

Top announcing team on hand for possible UK-Kansas matchup

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CBS is betting the Midwest sub-regional at New Orleans is the most interesting of the eight opening round sites for the NCAA Tournament. That's why the No. 1 team of Billy Packer and Jim Nantz is going there.

        It's hard to argue with CBS' logic. Anytime you have the potential of a Kansas-Kentucky second-round matchup, it's a pretty strong sub-regional.

        You also have Utah and Rick Majerus there, and Miami and Wally Szczerbiak.

        That's why CBS ignored the No. 1 seeds when deciding where to send its No. 1 team.

        CBS, which is doing the NCAAs for the 18th straight year, will broadcast all 63 games of the Tournament. The last two years, the network has done a better job of bouncing back and forth between games to give viewers the best action.

        Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg are the studio hosts. They make a nice team. Gumbel knows how to get the most out of his partner. Kellogg is smart, hip and has fun with it.

        “I try to give a little flavor,” he said. “In the studio, we just give bits and pieces. You have to be up to date.”

        This is Kellogg's second year as the studio analyst.

        “I like it,” he said. “It gives you a chance to look at the broad picture of the Tournament overall.”

        The first two days of the tourney are often the most interesting. With 16 games Thursday and 16 more Friday, something interesting always happens.

        The announcing crews are pretty much the same as last year. The only newcomer is James Worthy, the former Los Angeles Laker and North Carolina Tar Heel star.

        Worthy's worked for Fox Sports Net an NBA studio analyst, so he's used to thinking on his feet.

        He'll be teamed with one of CBS' best play-by-play men, Tim Brando. They'll do the Milwaukee sub-regional. None of those games is scheduled to be shown by Channel 12.

        Here is the local lineup and who will do play-by-play and analysis:

        Noon today, Oklahoma State vs. Syracuse: Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery. McDonough is one of CBS' young stars. Raftery is solid but sometimes he sounds like he's doing an impression of himself when he says: “The Kissss.”

        • Today, second afternoon game, Louisville vs. Creighton: Gus Johnson and Dan Bonner. No. 7-No. 10 matchups often make the best games, and Louisville, which got a reprieve from the NCAA, is a good story.

        • 7:30 p.m. today, Ohio State vs. Murray State: McDonough and Raftery. The Buckeyes should have a lively crowd in Indianapolis. The Racers were in the tourney last year and won 27 games this year.

        • Today, second night game, Indiana vs, George Washington: Johnson and Bonner. IU is 1-4 in its last four tournament trips, but Bob Knight always makes good TV.

        • Friday, noon, Cincinnati vs. George Mason: Craig Bolerjack and Rolando Blackman. Cincinnati viewers should be familiar with Bolerjack. He did about half the Bengals games last year.

        • Friday, second afternoon game, Miami vs. Washington: Nantz and Packer. The world meets Wally World. Packer, doing his 25th straight Final Four year, said Sunday that the RedHawks are a dangerous team.

        • Friday, 7:30 p.m. Duke vs. Florida A&M: Verne Lundquist and Al McGuire. Is the world ready for all the goofy stories McGuire will tell when the Dukies go up 49-6? McGuire used to be my favorite announcer about the same time M*A*S*H was my favorite TV show.

        • Friday, second night game, Kentucky vs. New Mexico State: Nantz and Packer. The national media, CBS and ESPN, etc., seem to think a lot more of this UK team than local talk show callers. CBS will be rooting heavily for UK and Kansas for that second matchup.

        John Fay covers TV/radio sports for The Enquirer.


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