I'm guessing many of you were too busy "celebrating" St. Patrick's day or perhaps having a stroke rooting on your alma mater in the tournament to notice that a lot of the chatter on the web and on Twitter in regards to the tournament was Gus Johnson related.
Other than a new record amount of Schadenfreude due to Duke's unexpected loss, the next most universal topic was various commentary about the Madness without Johnson. Since his move to Fox, there has been a lot of back and forth on if he was overrated or perhaps undervalued as CBS didn't seem to blink twice in letting him leave.
Unfortunately, Fox seemed to skimp on giving him NFL assignments on top of his full slate of college football games. Although there are some perks to Johnson's new role at Fox, for many sports fans he has disappeared as college basketball telecasts on network television and regular NFL assignments are no longer part of Johnson's scope at Fox.
In many ways, the backlash at Johnson felt like the cool kids hopping off the now popular bandwagon as liking something mainstream is just a mortal sin in being super duper cool. That said, Johnson does certainly have a schtick and is an acquired taste so a lot of the criticism is genuine and well thought out.
All that said, March Madness without him felt wrong. One of my sporting favorite events, one that really sells itself, I didn't think I'd suffer from Gus Johnson withdrawal. CBS and Turner have a solid arsenal of announcers and I just didn't think the tourney needed the additional Gus Johnson sizzle to make it pop.
As the first two rounds of games wound down (notice how I don't count four play-in games where 85% of the tournament field doesn't participate as the "first round"), I found myself like many others sobered at the reality of the Madness without Johnson's flair.
When you're watching two teams you really don't know well, don't have a rooting interest in (no fantasy college basketball for most), and are iffy on your commitment to watch what will be one of many, many games in a day and weekend, Johnson's compelling narrative has the transcending ability to command fan's attention. He brings an intense sense of importance and significance to any competitive game winding down to an exciting finish.
The other announcing crews certainly do good work and at times have their moments, but I didn't really find myself ever feeling as locked in to any game regardless of the situation. Essentially after every good game, I would say to myself "mmmm.... I've had better" and that seems to be the prevailing sentiment most fans had...