Friday, March 19, 1999


CBS caught up in Wallymania

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CBS loves the Wally Szczerbiak story, too. That's why tonight's Midwest Regional game between Kentucky and Miami will go to 89 percent of the country.

        That's by far the most of the Sweet 16 games.

        Jim Nantz and Billy Packer will call the action (Channel 12; tipoff will be around 10:15 p.m.).

        CBS has had a crew trailing Szczerbiak since Miami upset Utah. The segment probably will air on The Road to the Final Four at 2 p.m. Sunday.

        Verne Lundquist and Al McGuire are in East Rutherford, N.J., for the East Regional; Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery are in Knoxville for the South Regional; and Gus Johnson and Dan Bonner are doing the West Regional from Phoenix.

        I'm still getting voice mail complaining about how CBS is handling the tournament. The No.1 complaint is the network doesn't keep you updated and show highlights from the other games.

        One caller pointed out that you get nothing from the women's tournament, not even scores.

        ON THE BIG ONE: WLW-AM (700) will air the Miami-UK game tonight. Miami games are usually on WCKY-AM (1360).

        LIFE OF BRIAN: Former Xavier and Georgetown High star Brian Grant got some great publicity from Jim Rome last week. Grant was on Rome's Last Word on Fox Sports Net.

        Rome had heard that Grant, now a force with the Portland Trail Blazers, had befriended a 12-year-old boy terminally ill with brain cancer. Rome let Grant tell the story. Grant drove an hour each way to visit the boy several times a week.

        It was a heartwarming story and showed Grant is a class guy.

        Rome replayed the segment the next day on his nationally syndicated radio show.

        “Mad props to Brian Grant,” Rome said. In Jungle-speak, that is high praise.

        “Mad props” to Rome for taking the time to find out about the story and giving it such good play.

        GOOD STAT: ESPN had one of the best statistics for basketball I've seen this year. When Xavier was playing Princeton on Thursday night, ESPN started keeping track of the possession time.

        ESPN TOO: But how silly does ESPN, which shows roughly a billion college games a year, look for not having Szczerbiak on once during the regular season?

        LANCE UPDATE: Lance McAlister of WBOB took Thursday and Friday off and went to Chicago to try to reach a decision on whether he'll renew with BOB or move back to Chicago, where his wife, Kelly, works for the Fox television affiliate.

        Fox made it clear it wants McAlister's wife to stay.

        “I just needed to get away and decide,” McAlister said.

        He would be a major loss for the station.

        MARTY ON HOOPS: Marty Brennaman makes his annual foray into college basketball, calling the South Regional from Knoxville for CBS Radio. Brennaman, one of the best basketball play-by-play men you'll ever hear, has done the CBS gig for 12 years.

        WCKY is carrying the CBS Radio games.

        Chris Welsh will fill in for Brennaman on the Reds broadcast Saturday, but because there's a TV game Sunday, Joe Nuxhall will be on his own. That could be an adventure.

        John Fay covers TV/radio sports for The Enquirer. He can be reached at 768-8445.


Miami-UK Stories
Coles' love conquers fear
Miami has a plan for UK
'Worlds' clash as fans write headlines
Kentucky fans' headlines
Miami fans' headlines
Scouting report: Wally can't do it alone
'Wally's Words': Dealing with media a challenge
Fans swarm St. Louis
- CBS caught up in Wallymania
Coles says game 'less important to him' than relationships
Rabid fans' expectations put Smith under pressure