Ranking NCAA tournament announcers
by Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
CBS and Turner begin wall-to-wall coverage of the 2013 NCAA tournament on Tuesday night. We evaluate the performance of their biggest personalities in our list of the best and worst March Madness announcers.
13. Reggie Miller
Last year, Miller was calling Syracuse’s tournament opener. The Orange were struggling to stop UNC-Asheville, so he suggested Jim Boeheim switch to a man-to-man defense to adjust. To a team that plays exclusive zone defense, that’s a little bit like suggesting they start playing soccer. Miller, like his other TNT brethren on this list, is an NBA guy who should stick with the pro game. Until he does, your mute button will get a workout.
12. Charles Barkley
Chuck is the best personality in sports media and is still good for a laugh in his studio role during the tournament. But he’s out of his element and he knows it. Worst of all, he knows we know it. It’s fantastic when Inside the NBA makes fun of Barkley’s unfamiliarity with some NBA players (watch the modern-day classic Who He Play For?) because he’s supposed to know who they are. When he doesn’t know things about college basketball players, it doesn’t work as well, since there’s no expectation that he’d be up on a game he only covers for three weeks a year. Barkley’s laid-back style fits in with the NBA and its low-key regular season and multi-game playoff series. In the frenetic pace of the one-and-done tournament, he’s a drag on the excitement.
11. Clark Kellogg
CBS’ featured game analyst loves college basketball and it shows. Perhaps too much. Where Billy Packer, his predecessor, was too cranky, Kellogg can be too upbeat. He also uses 20 words when 10 will suffice. The made-up phrases and folksy metaphors make him sound like a mix between Don King and Dan Rather.
10. Kevin Harlan and 9. Len Elmore
They say a good game from a referee/umpire/official is when you don’t realize they’re there. This can be applied to announcers too. Harlan and Elmore do a fine job calling games but never put themselves above them. … [For more on Ranking the NCAA tournament announcers from CBS and Turner, click here.]