04 March 2015

2015 NCAA Tournament Announcers

We are inside of two weeks until Selection Sunday and so we can start to taste the greatness that is March Madness. The CBS/Turner consortium returns to cover every game on the networks of CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV once again and we now have the commentator teams for their coverage. Let's take a look.

1. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson
Subregional: Charlotte (Fri/Sun)
Regional: Houston (Fri/Sun)
Final Four

2. Marv Albert, Len Elmore, Chris Webber, Lewis Johnson
Subregional: Omaha (Fri/Sun)
Regional: Cleveland (Thurs/Sat)

3. Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Subregional: Louisville (Thurs/Sat)
Regional: Syracuse (Fri/Sun)

4. Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, Reggie Miller, Rachel Nichols
Subregional: Portland (Thurs/Sat)
Regional: Los Angeles (Thurs/Sat)

5. Ian Eagle, Doug Gottlieb, Evan Washburn
First Four: Wednesday
Subregional: Columbus (Fri/Sun)

6. Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson (Lewis Johnson on First Four)
First Four: Tuesday
Subregional: Pittsburgh (Thurs/Sat)

7. Spero Dedes, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio
Subregional: Seattle (Fri/Sun)

8. Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
Subregional: Jacksonville (Thurs/Sat)

We expected there to be changes to the broadcast teams in the wake of Greg Anthony's arrest but to have eight brand new pairings is unprecedented since CBS first got the NCAA Tournament back in 1982. And some of these changes seem to be completely out of nowhere.

I really am surprised that CBS/Turner is breaking up the Ian Eagle-Jim Spanarkel team that has been working every tournament together since 1998, and then to put Spanarkel on a regional with Verne Lundquist seems like a surprise as is pairing Eagle with Doug Gottlieb. Lundquist and Spanarkel should be a good team considering how good each respectively is but it certainly will be weird to see Spanarkel working with anybody besides Eagle as he really hasn't worked that much with anybody else for CBS. Eagle can have great chemistry with anybody in the booth but Gottlieb can be a little overbearing at times in the booth and he is better in the studio.

The Kevin Harlan-Dan Bonner-Reggie Miller pairing really did not work at all in 2011 so I am surprised that they are resurrecting it. We all know how I feel about Miller's analysis skills, particularly on the college game, and he basically ruins any broadcast he is on. Turner should just keep him on the NBA only during the tournament cause we know Turner will not just dump him altogether.

It really is crazy that there are three three-man teams among these crews with the aforementioned, the Nantz-Raftery-Hill team (which you can read my analysis of here) as well as the new Marv Albert-Len Elmore-Chris Webber team, which is one I do like. I have long been a fan of Webber and we know how good Elmore is and how good Albert still is.

Steve Smith will slide over to the broadcast crews after several years in the Atlanta studio and he should make for a fine team with Brian Anderson. Smith does not have a great deal of experience in the booth but I do like what he has done in his limited booth action as well as in the studio.

Mike Gminski will work with his third partner in three years after Tim Brando left last year and thus working with Andrew Catalon and his pairing with Spero Dedes may be the most random pairing of any of these broadcast teams. I like Dedes and Gminski is good but this team really came out of left field.

What also came out of left field was the inclusion of Steve Lappas, who has been a part of CBS Sports Network's college basketball coverage for several years. He and Andrew Catalon have worked together on a number of games over the years and they work well together. Lappas can be a little over-the-top in the booth and I can definitely see some folks finding him annoying.

The studio action will see some minor changes as well. The New York studio team will largely be intact with hosts Greg Gumbel and Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith, and they will be joined by Doug Gottlieb in the second weekend. The Atlanta studio team will be helmed once again by Matt Winer in the first weekend and Johnson in the second, and they will be joined by Seth Davis and newcomer Mateen Cleaves with Wally Szczerbiak joining for the First Four. Johnson will host the Final Four coverage with Gumbel and they will be joined by Barkley, Kellogg, Smith, Miller, Davis, Smith and college coaches.

Like last year, the Final Four will be on TBS on Saturday, April 4th with the "Teamcasts" on TNT and truTV. The national championship will be on CBS that following Monday.



  1. Ben, don't you feel ESPN and ABC should be teamed up with CBS for the NCAA Tournament instead of Turner because the guys at ESPN have been calling games all year, the Turner crew is NBA?

    1. It doesn't really work that way; it is not like CBS just chose Turner to team up with to cover the tournament. If it wasn't for the Turner money, there would be no tournament on CBS as it would have gone to ESPN.

  2. Adam Zucker just gets outsted from tournament coverage!!??!

  3. Zucker has never been a part of the coverage, save for hosting a few segments with Gottlieb at the Final Four last year.

  4. Will the TBS announcers in the studio (i.e. - Ernie Johnson) be in the studio for only TBS games, and the CBS announcers in the studio (i.e. - Gumbel) be in the studio for only CBS games? I'm confused about that. How will that work?