Sunday, March 11, 2001

Sports on TV-Radio

Pitino signs on with CBS

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The schools that want Rick Pitino to coach basketball aren't expecting him to get them to the NCAA Tournament play-in game. No, they're thinking about going straight to the Big Dance.

        But Pitino's broadcast bosses at CBS think he needs a little seasoning before the Round of 64 — either that, or they're taking advantage of his big name to give him an early start.

        Whatever the reason, Pitino and partner Tim Brando will work the play-in game Tuesday in Dayton.

        CBS is producing the game, but it will air on TNN.

        Pitino has put in a lot of unofficial preparation time.

        “I've got nothing to do,” he said. “I've got no job. I'm down here in Florida watching every game that's on — college or pro. I've been studying all these guys. I must say they're very good. I like their styles, and they know a lot about the game. When I was coaching, I didn't think they knew anything about the game.”

        Pitino participated in a CBS pre-tournament conference call. Questions about his coaching future were prohibited, but someone asked if he would consider a career in TV.

        “I'm not sure,” he said. “If there's not a job out there for me, I want to stay part of the game.”

        It probably won't come to that. Pitino is likely to get a college coaching job — and a good one. But CBS could not have found a better temp to work the NCAA Tournament.

        Pitino and Brando also will work a sub-regional and regional. Pitino then will move to the studio for the Final Four.

        “This is the greatest time of year,” he said. “College basketball is on the upswing because the NBA is struggling.”

        Pitino didn't do any special preparation for the new gig.

        “I've heard with Tim Brando I won't get to say much,” he said, joking.

        The guess here is Pitino will be good. He's smart and glib, just what you want from an analyst.

        And he'll get a play-in game for practice.

        WALTON ON LOAN: Bill Walton will work the NCAA Tournament for CBS — NBC let him out of his contract for three weeks. So get ready to hear Big Bill say “terrrrrrrible” a few dozen times. Walton is one of my favorites because he's so brutally honest — not always right, but honest.

        Walton will work with Dick Enberg.

        ALSO NEW: CBS has two technical innovations for the NCAAs to go along with its two new analysts.

        EyeVision, which made a spectacular debut at the Super Bowl, will be used for the Final Four in Minneapolis. CBS will use 30 cameras, giving viewers a 240-degree view of the Target Center. That's down from the 270-angle view at the Super Bowl because there are places in the Target Center where CBS couldn't put cameras.

        CBS also will use a score box in the upper left-hand corner of the screen to give real-time updates on live games.

        Both moves should enhance the broadcast. EyeVision gave the defining angle on Jamal Lewis' controversial touchdown in the Super Bowl.

        “It gives a pretty unique perspective,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS Sports. “We'll try not to overuse it. We'll be selective ... we'll try not to fall in love with it.”

        Something like a steal, a break-away and dunk will be greatly enhanced by EyeVision.

        The new score box is in answer to the No.1 complaint from CBS viewers.

        “That's the thing we hear most: You don't give scores enough,” McManus said. “(The box) is unobtrusive. It doesn't take away from the picture at all.”

        It will be continuously updated, basket by basket, and will have a running clock. CBS will continue to run scores at the bottom of the screen every 5 1/2 minutes, so you can keep up on games that already have concluded.

        PREP STUFF: The Ohio News Network, available on Time Warner Cable, will carry the state basketball championships for both boys and girls in all four divisions.

        The girls games will be shown live Saturday and will be replayed March 18. The boys games air live March 24 and will be replayed March 25.


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