8:36 PM EDT, March 14, 2013
When the brackets come out on Sunday night, you can scout out your favorite teams for what shapes up as wide-open NCAA men's basketball tournament.
And once the schedule is released, you can also figure out what CBS/Turner Sports announcing teams you want to listen to as for the third consecutive season all 67 tournament games can be seen in their entirety, assuming you have CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV as part of your cable or satellite package.
Eight different announcing teams will be used in the early rounds.
The lead team remains Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg.
Other pairings include: Marv Albert and Steve Kerr, who will have the "First Four" games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights; Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery; Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller; Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel; Brian Anderson and Dan Bonner; Tim Brando and Mike Gminski; and Spero Dedes and former ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb.
Also coming over from ESPN is courtside reporter Rachel Nichols, and look for Allie LaForce, a former Miss Teen USA and Ohio University basketball player who co-hosts "Lead Off" with Gottlieb on the CBS Sports Network, to get some courtside air time as well.
In addition, there will be tons of talking heads featured during two different studio shows, including Greg Gumbel, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and seemingly a cast of dozens.
One voice who will be missing from the coverage will be the unmistakable screaming voice of Gus Johnson, who was a March Madness fixture for years.
Johnson isn't totally gone.
He worked Thursday afternoon's Minnesota-Illinois Big Ten tournament game for the Big Ten Network and got to do his thing when Brandon Paul pumped in the game-winner at the buzzer of 51-49 Illini win.
Not a lot of description, but as always a lot of emotion from Johnson. Few announcers seem to relish dramatic finishes more than he does:
"Eight seconds left … Paul … Paul will go for the winner … Paul crosses over … 15-footer … Ohh! … At the buzzer Illinois beats Minnesota 51 to 49 … At the buzzer! … Welcome to the Big Ten!"
Johnson will be missed during the next several weeks of national March Madness.
As usual, the tournament will dominate the landscape and take you right up to Opening Day of the baseball season and even a week beyond since the Final Four is later than ever with the semis on April 6 and the national title game two nights later.
This is CBS' and Time-Warner's baby. And a big baby at that, costing $10.8 billion over 14 years.
They have already devoted lots of hours to the tournament's 75th anniversary with shows going through their selections of the tournament's top 75 moments and another show handicapping a mythical "Ultimate Bracket" featuring all of the top teams in tournament history.
For the record, their No. 1 all-time tournament moments were: No. 3, Bird vs. Magic in 1979; No. 2, Villanova stunning Georgetown in 1975 and No. 1, Christian Laettner's game-winner over Kentucky in the 1992 regional finals at the Spectrum.
When it came to the computer-generated "Ultimate Bracket," it probably stirred a lot of debate with an all-time Final Four of North Carolina's 1993 team, the 2008 Kansas team, Bill Russell's 1955 San Francisco squad and Bill Walton's 1972 UCLA national champs. John Wooden's unbeaten team prevailed over the Dons in the final.
The TV people would love for plenty more drama in the coming weeks, starting with a few early-round upsets such as the one Lehigh delivered last year.
But in the end, people will want to see brand names like Indiana, Duke, Florida, etc. competing.
The Cinderalla stories are nice for early drama, but in the end, the fans want the teams and coaches that they know and either love or loathe.
Nice touch by the Service Electric TV2 crew to show you around the Montoursville High School gym last Saturday night at halftime of the Liberty-Williamsport game and show the banner noting former MLB pitcher Mike Mussina as one of that school's all-time top basketball scorers. They also showed the banner reminding everyone of the amazing Kelly Mazzante, who scored 3,270 points at Montoursville.
During the state tournament, you get to visit towns and gyms that you normally don't see and Service Electric did a nice job capturing the history of Montoursville and also gave you an idea of what it was like in the soldout gym.
The broadcast began with a look at the long line of ticket-holders stretching out the gym doors, a flashback moment to when playoff games around here always filled up the gyms.
ESPN suspended Bill Simmons for his critique of the worldwide leader's "First Take" show. Simmons was commenting on a nasty, bitter back-and-forth between controversial co-host Skip Bayless and Richard Sherman, the controversial Seattle Seahawks' defensive back. Sherman, following in Jalen Rose's footsteps, really went after Bayless and challenged his credibility.
Simmons got in trouble via Twitter, the new avenue for trouble for everyone from the world's biggest names to high school kids.
Simmons first tweeted that nobody should care about "First Take" and later said the entire segment was a loser for ESPN.
"First Take" is embarrassing, but it's also what ESPN wants; an attention-grabber. Simmons was speaking the truth, but you know what they say about biting the hand that feeds you.
KEITH'S CAN'T MISS … After you digest the brackets on Sunday, you can get ready for this year's tournament at 9 p.m. with "Survive and Advance," the latest documentary on ESPN's "30 for 30" series. This one spotlights the late Jim Valvano and the story of his 1983 national champion N.C. State team. That finish was incredible, and even more endearing now considering what later happened to Jimmy V.
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