There haven't been a huge number of upsets, not a ton of exciting finishes, and no buzzer beaters this year. But, March Madness is still March Madness and next week we finally arrive in New Orleans for the Final Four. After a tournament that has been notable more for bad officiating and lane violations than one shining moments, at least we have a very compelling Final Four on paper. Bluegrass rivals Kentucky and Louisville will play in Game 1 on Saturday night, while Ohio State and Kansas will play in the late game. The CBS pregame coverage starts at 4:00 ET with Greg Gumbel and a cast of thousands live in New Orleans. As always, the championship game comes your way Monday night.
Saturday March 31
#1 Kentucky vs #4 Louisville (6:09 CBS) - Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr, Traci Wolfson
#2 Ohio State vs #2 Kansas (9:49 CBS) - Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr, Traci Wolfson
Monday April 2
UK/UL winner vs OSU/KU winner (TBA CBS) Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr, Traci Wolfson
With the second weekend of the tournament featuring both the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, we've brought both polls into one place for your voting pleasure! Clark Kellogg holds the lead after the first weekend over Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller and Bill Raftery. Miller and Raftery are departing the television broadcasts (Raft will still be working radio though), so they'll need as many points as they can get from these two votes. Remember, these are two separate votes, so there are plenty of BP points up for grabs. This week, with the number of nominees limited, you can vote for up to three quotes in each poll. For both the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, we'll still award the Top 10 quotes from each round. Whose going to lead going to New Orleans? That's for you to decide!
Sweet 16 Nominees (vote for up to three)
1) "People say he can run and jump. So can a deer. And you wouldn't put a deer in the game." - Charles Barkley (via AA)
2) "You're hot." - Lesley Visser (via AA)
3) "Nail. In. The. Coffin." - Reggie Miller as Louisville goes up by FIFTEEN with 58 sec. left (via SeahawkSanders)
4) "The teacher vs. the mentor" - Len Elmore (via swampdavid1)
5) "Big time Snatch!" - Bill Raftery (via JasonShubnell)
6) "Good call there by Ted Valentine" - Reggie Miller (via RYbbc34)
7) "if you look at the score you will know who is winning the game" - Charles Barkley (via tec6062)
8) "Thomas I think got the slap from the rear." - Bill Raftery (via AA)
9) "Terrence jones showing you his full package" - Clark Kellogg (via zacdefran)
10) "You just got Dieng'ad" - Reggie Miller (via Josh_Batelli)
11) "Indiana leavin a little cheese at the free throw line." - Clark Kellogg (via AA)
12) "It shouldnt matter if the elbow was inadvertent or advertent" - Len Elmore (via xavmcd)
Elite 8 Nominees (vote for up to three)
1) "Florida is gonna focus on 2 big areas. Long rebounds, 50/50 balls, and no turnovers." - Reggie Miller (via socialmiscondct)
2) "Beal for the lead... Boynton for the lead..." - Kevin Harlan (via everyone)
3) "Winner advances to the Elite 8 in New Orleans." - Marv Albert (via revafriedel). The Final Four is in New Orleans, but we kinda knew what Marv meant.
4) "If they would have thrown a funnel cake in there it would have been heavenly." - Clark Kellogg (via AA)
5) "Still got a little gitch in his hiddy-up" - Clark Kellogg (via ClintHedges)
6) "Get the towel out, cause that baby was wet when it came down" - Bill Raftery (via jtylercampbell)
7) "I'm an analyzer." - Kenny Smith (via ACJoeyJones)
8) "They let them bang, then on the third blow called a foul" - Dave Sims (via mmenniger)
9) "Every rule ain't a rule" - Charles Barkley (via Jthethird)
10) "Dribble trenepation" - Charles Barkley (via jtylercampbell)
11) "You used to get it up prematurely" - Bill Raftery (via Anthony_Broome)
We've reached the final step before the Final Four next week in New Orleans. Before we get to the details for the open thread, here's your Elite 8 announcing schedule...
Saturday March 24
West Regional Final: #4 Louisville vs #7 Florida (4:30 ET CBS) - Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller
East Regional Final: #1 Syracuse vs #2 Ohio State (7:05 CBS) - Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery
Sunday March 25
South Regional Final: #1 Kentucky vs #3 Baylor (2:20 CBS) - Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg
Midwest Regional Final: #1 UNC vs #2 Kansas (5:05 CBS) - Marv Albert, Steve Kerr
We'll have all the nominees from the Sweet 16 for you to vote on tomorrow, and the Elite 8 nominees to follow soon thereafter. I'm hoping Reggie Miller has a strong performance in his last NCAA game of the year so we can get to the full ten nominees for the Elite 8 action! As always, leave us all the announcer and analyst quotes in the comments below or tweet them to us at @awfulannouncing and/or by using the hashtag #BPAA.
With a berth in the Final Four on the line, Louisville put together a furious second half rally to overcome a double digit deficit and defeat Florida 72-68 in the West Regional Final. In the final 16 seconds, Florida found themselves down 3 with the ball and looking for a chance to tie. That's why it was so strange when Kevin Harlan called both Bradley Beal and Kenny Boynton's three point attempts "for the lead!!!"
Harlan's one of the best in terms of being on top of the game situation, so it was surprising for him to make such a glaring error. Perhaps he either lost track of the score or something was off in the booth or on the scoreboard. Something similar happened once before with Harlan, albeit with much more hysterical results in 2010.
It would have been worse for Harlan and CBS had either of the three pointers actually went in for Florida. Instead, Louisville eventually was fouled up 3 and Harlan was able to come back and quickly correct himself after making the mistake. Harlan is without doubt one of the top basketball play by play men on television, but this certainly wasn't his best and created quite the quizzical moment for viewers at home. Perhaps being paired with Len Elmore and Reggie Miller for two straight weekends finally got to him...
Bulls announcer Stacey King has quickly become one of our AA favorites, and he was at it again during last night's furious Bulls comeback against the Toronto Raptors. The Bulls were down 10 at the end of the first quarter and slowly chipped away at Toronto's lead before forcing overtime.
CJ Watson threw up a prayer that was partially blocked, and Luol Deng tipped it in for the win. King predictably went nuts after the tip-in, finishing with "DRIVE HOME SAFELY, BEEP BEEP!" Not sure if that was intended for the crowd at the United Center, or the legions of Bulls fans that were probably out at bars watching the game. Both, maybe?
Versions of that line have been around for awhile, but the BEEP BEEP? Classic. Thank god King is calling games for a great team like the Bulls, and not stuck in a basketball hellhole like Washington or Charlotte.
On UFC announcer (and comedian) Joe Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, he related a story about FOX telling him to tone it down during the promotion's debut on the network back in November. Here's the clip (NSFW language)...
Rogan explains being told by the producer that the FOX execs told him to tone down his overhyping, loud tendency during UFC's debut on FOX. Rogan then contrasts the UFC fights he commentates on to other sports broadcasted, where the announcers are generally more subdued.
Rogan's point is actually quite valid, and here's where FOX execs were wrong: Rogan isn't going crazy screaming during every fight, for the whole fight. When something crazy happens, like a vicious knockout or a gorgeous submission out of nowhere, Rogan (and play by play man Mike Goldberg, for that matter) calls the action like any other good sports announcer calls an exciting moment in the game they're during: with enthusiasm.
What are our favorite announcing moments? Usually buzzer beaters and walkoffs that feature the announcers throwing all sense of objectivity out the window and going bonkers like they are fans. What traits do our least favorite announcers possession? Lack of enthusiasm and a sense of general apathy. SEE: FOX's Joe Buck last year before the World Series.
Maybe it's not a coincidence that FOX told Rogan to tone down his announcing nature when you look at someone like Buck, who has come across in the past like a robot before he launched his Twitter page. It certainly makes a little more sense when looking at it from that angle. For UFC to be successful on FOX though, FOX is going to need to let the entire UFC experience loose, and that includes setting Joe Rogan free and not trying to turn him into Tim McCarver.
Prior to their weekly Saturday MLB broadcasts, FOX will air a half hour long pregame show, aptly titled the "Fox Saturday Baseball Pregame Show." The show will be taped at the MLB Network studios in New Jersey (as opposed to on-site at the stadium), and the host of the show will be MLB Network's Matt Vasgersian. He'll be joined by a rotating panel of analysts, most of whom are excellent. The show will air on FOX prior to the games, but not on MLB Network.
FOX has dabbled in pregame shows before their MLB Saturday broadcasts for years, with one hosted by Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy ending in 2008. That show was taped at FOX's studios in Los Angeles. Chris Rose also was the "host" of FOX's Saturday baseball broadcasts for the last three seasons, but it was a less formal pregame show and more of just an introduction to the game. Rose is also an MLB Network employee.
Vasgersian had occasionally served as a commentator on some of FOX's Saturday games, and it looks like he won't be in that role in 2012 with the annoucement of the new pregame show. He has a lot of experience doing play by play, a position he held with the Brewers and Padres during his career, and is now mainly a studio host on MLB Network, though he usually is the play by play man for the network's Thursday game. I don't think FOX really could have picked a better person to host this show, as Vasgersian is one of the more likable studio personalities going in baseball today.
I'm a little irritated at the partnership between FOX and MLB Network though, because unlike with the Big Ten Network, FOX doesn't own any of MLB Network. It obviously makes sense for MLB Network to partner up with FOX, who airs the league's playoff games, but this also seems like a tacit approval of FOX's Saturday programming and the draconian blackout rules that come with it. It seems weird for MLB Network to film this pregame show, preview all the games, then kick it over to your local game with no way of watching the other games airing at the same time. I'd have much less of a problem with this if MLB Tonight was extended to begin at the start of FOX telecast (almost like kicking over from FOX to MLB Network to keep seeing Vasgersian and crew), so we could at least stay up to date on the other games going on at the same time. This would be especially useful during the night-time extended blackouts FOX is experimenting with in the late spring and summer.
Can we get a mention since we beat @thebiglead Seth?
After a squeaker win versus NC State, Kansas was kind enough to let the TBS post game show into the locker room for Bill Self's victory speech. The speech was engaging but about what you would expect. The speech suddenly jumped the shark as Self not to smoothly segued into an emphatic announcement as to what players were going to have to provide urine shortly.
Self lists off four players and lets them know that "You guys got to go take a leak." After checking with whomever is spearheading that exciting initiative, the players are then told the much anticipated urination will take place "after media."
Drug testing? Steroid testing? Done by the school or done by the NCAA? I don't really care to be honest. It's just comical that TBS got that clip and how much urgency Self puts on informing his players that they'll be peeing into a cup soon.
Admit it, you've once dreamed about being Around the Horn's Tony Reali. No, not so that you could sit in front of Woody Paige and Bill Plaschke every day. But instead, just so you could have the power to mute anyone you'd like whenever you'd like to. All of that power in one person's hands. It's amazing it hasn't gone to the head of the Artist Formerly Known as Stat Boy. Well, apparently Reali has gained physical power instead.
During today's Around the Horn, the dapper host apparently didn't gauge the power of his own strength when he pressed the mute button too hard and possibly broke his finger. Ouch! Here's the behind the scenes video from the show's YouTube channel.
Wow, I hope Reali has Workman's Comp or whatever the ESPN alternative is. Give credit to Reali for working through the pain, after all, he's the host of a fake sportswritery game show type of dealy.
We're into the second weekend of the tournament and the second full week of the Billy Packer Chronicles! Clark Kellogg leads Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller in the Billies standings although it's still wide open with a few rounds yet to play. Unfortunately, with truTV out of the picture and games solely on CBS and TBS for the Sweet 16, Charles Barkley will have to look elsewhere besides Hardcore Pawn for comedic inspiration. There's always Frank TV I suppose... (What?!? It was cancelled three years ago?!?! How did this happen!!!) In case you've forgotten with all the NFL Madness taking place this week, the schedule and announcing assignments are here. Leave us all the announcer and analyst quotes in the comments below or tweet them to us at @awfulannouncing and/or by using the hashtag #BPAA.
"An assassin with an angel's countenance" - Bill Raftery (via jbunney) on Aaron Craft
"Thomas I think got the slap from the rear." - Bill Raftery (via AA)
"People say he can run and jump. So can a deer. And you wouldn't put a deer in the game." - Charles Barkley (via AA)
"How'd you like to take a charge on him. Say good night to Nancy!" - Bill Raftery (via AA) on Jared Sullinger
"You're hot." - Lesley Visser (via AA)
"Nail. In. The. Coffin." - Reggie Miller as Louisville goes up by FIFTEEN with 58 sec. left (via SeahawkSanders)
"The teacher vs. the mentor" - Len Elmore (via swampdavid1)
"if you look at the score you will know who is winning the game" - Charles Barkley (via tec6062)
"If you missed the earlier game, you saw amazing shooting by Wisconsin..." - Verne Lundquist. I missed it, but I saw it? (via russmaloney)
"Good call there by Ted Valentine" - Reggie Miller (via RYbbc34)
"It shouldnt matter if the elbow was inadvertent or advertent" - Len Elmore (via xavmcd)
“You’ve got to go to the free throw line and make free throws if you’re Florida” - LenElmore (via thedevilwolf)
"You just got Dieng'ad" - Reggie Miller (via Josh_Batelli)
"Big time Snatch!" - Bill Raftery (via JasonShubnell)