The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books. With the parity in college basketball, it shouldn't be a surprise that the stories of the tournament thus far are Florida Gulf Coast and La Salle. The Rounds of 64 and 32 delivered with dramatic endings, memorable games, feuds between analysts and conferences, and enough screengrabs and GIFs to last a lifetime. What stood out most from the NCAA Tournament's first weekend and the coverage for March Madness? Let's dish out some awards!
Best Booth: Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel. Eagle's been a name on the rise for some time and is in the process of breaking through to that upper echelon of play by play men. But Spanarkel deserves praise too. His color commentary won't be made into hashtags anytime soon, but he breaks down the game clearly and concisely, and perhaps most importantly - he has great chemistry with Eagle because the pair have called college and pro games together for years.
Bill Raftery is entertaining, but sometimes his fun-loving pairing with Verne Lundquist goes off the railroad tracks. MY GOODNESS!! Marv Albert and Steve Kerr were another contender in this category, but on occasion there were a few slips with players and game situations. Eagle and Spanarkel were just a bit more consistent, and it's a shame they won't see action on the second weekend.
Best Studio Analyst: Greg Anthony. While most of the attention has been on Turner's NBA guys (more on them later), Anthony thankfully delivers some sanity and perspective. And with Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley really only able to talk in generalities and struggling once again with basic knowledge of the teams and players involved, Anthony has to pull even more weight in the main New York studio.
Most Polarizing: Doug Gottlieb. His volatile performance on Selection Sunday was the talk of the Twitterverse and it was the same story this weekend. The former ESPNer is the most notable addition to this year's tournament coverage and he's either the best or worst thing that's ever happened to NCAA Tournament coverage depending on who you ask. Gottlieb does bring more of an edge to CBS's coverage, and maybe that's the buzz CBS was hoping for when they hired him. Gottlieb's better in the broadcast booth where his blunt analysis is refreshing, than the studio where his style could lead to some interesting moments next weekend.no comments