A pulsating and riveting weekend; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski coming closer to winning it all on his soiree


Round of 32 Day 2 Recap

The final day of the nonstop action this  weekend was so raw, special and so predictable. These trends that have been so prevalent in both broadcasting and gameplay. More narratives continue to be written, such as Coach K’s final dance, low seeded sleepers playing spoiler, and even some comedic relief from the CBS pregame crew.  Harlan, Nantz, Dedes and Byington each called two games for 12 hours of college hoops.  Let’s take a look at some of the bright spots in the broadcast booth from yesterday’s games.

Illinois vs. Houston

Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, Reggie Miller, Dana Jacobson

This game thrived on transition baskets when the game was fast-paced and each team capitalized on turnovers. Harlan’s signature wordplay was paramount in this matchup, describing Houston guard Taze Moore as a skywalker on a crafty layup.  Each made three-point shots prompted more reaction from Harlan and Miller than the previous one. Dan Bonner provided accurate analysis, describing how the Fighting Illini needed to get more contributions from Kofi Cockburn’s hands early in the possession.  The Cougars pulled away late giving them their third consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance, and Miller concluded the broadcast warning future opponents that Houston is not the typical five seed.

Villanova vs. Ohio St.

Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, Reggie Miller, Dana Jacobson

The Pittsburgh broadcast crew saw back-to-back action, yet despite this maintained high energy and continued to make original observations and comments.  One enjoyable call in the first half came on a near half-court shot from Ohio State with an expiring shot clock, where Harlan exclaimed that he shot that from Philadelphia.  The peak level of enthusiasm from Harlan began halfway through the second half as the Buckeyes gained traction and decreased the Villanova lead, especially after a Jamari Wheeler three-point shot. The Wildcats regained control off the back of a great performance by Collin Gillespie, giving Villanova a date in the Sweet Sixteen where they will face the Michigan Wolverines.

Duke vs. Michigan St.

Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

This matchup was the final game between two of college basketball’s greatest coaches in Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo, each who have great respect for one another.  Nantz proved once again why he is one of the best active broadcasters, balancing unique wordplay with astute observations of game trends for both teams.  Raftery and Hill had a field day with the combined talent of both the Blue Devils and the Spartans, describing each player’s unique abilities and how they impact the game, especially in regard to Duke’s Paolo Banchero.  The game saw some debatable calls at the end of the game, yet the farewell tour continues as Duke finds a way to seal the deal.  Raftery commented how the Spartans played tough for all 40 minutes, and Nance closed the broadcast stating that the music still plays for Coach K’s last dance.

Wisconsin vs. Iowa St.

Spero Dedes, Deb Antonelli, AJ Ross

This back-and-forth affair saw great analysis from Deb Antonelli throughout the game, describing how for most of the game, the Wisconsin Badgers were able to contain Izaiah Brockington.  Dedes contributed positively, adding great reactions to impressive plays, such as asking Antonelli if Brockington is bashful after draining an impressive three-point field goal.  Gabe Kalscheur was the impact player for the cyclones, scoring at will despite the impressive interior-oriented offense from the Badgers.  Johnny Davis, while exceptional, could not save the Badgers’ season as the Cyclones pulled off the upset and continue their Cinderella run.

Texas Tech vs. Notre Dame

Lisa Byington, Steve Smith, Avery Johnson, Lauren Shehadi

This game was a defensive showdown, where the Red Raiders at all five positions brought the Irish to a standstill for most of the first half.  Steve Smith made this observation throughout the broadcast, especially after a block off the backboard by a guard.  Avery Johnson properly analyzed how to attack the zone defense against Notre Dame, noting how Texas Tech needs to attack the paint in order to capitalize. Byington did great play-by-play, not relying on cliches to make charismatic remarks, rather focusing her points on using game patterns to influence her calls.  Texas Tech’s Kevin Obanor’s impact was quite valuable, attacking the offensive glass as observed by Byington.  Despite many changes to their roster in the last calendar year, the Red Raiders are moving on.

Auburn vs. Miami

Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

The Tigers and Hurricanes brought a lot of uncharacteristic excitement from Nantz and Hill that was a nice change of pace to their usual broadcasting style.  Plays such as a Isaiah Wong poster over Auburn’s Jabari Smith received a charismatic reaction from Nantz, who could not believe what he saw.  Hill followed it up on the replay entering commercial with an okay rhyme that Wong was going strong to the rim, trying to replicate the charisma from Nantz.  Miami pulled away from the two-seeded Auburn Tigers, much to the dismay of famous alum and current analyst Charles Barkley, who said he would take his shirt off if Auburn won.  In the press conference after the game, Miami Head Coach Jim Larrañaga said that the potential of a shirtless Barkley motivated them to win this game, making for some comedic banter other games did not receive.

Purdue vs. Texas

Spero Dedes, Deb Antonelli, AJ Ross

Despite Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey being the impact player for Purdue for a majority of the season, this game was the Trevion Williams show, who as pointed out by Dedes scored the Boilermakers’ first six points and finished with 22.  Antonelli added insightful commentary as well, making note of how the Purdue offense re-oriented itself to allow Williams to dominate the paint.  Williams was the point of emphasis not only for Purdue, but also for Spero Dedes, marveling at his amazing performance.  Ivey eventually made his impact, willing the Boilermakers to victory with an impressive second half.  Dedes noted how Purdue has had monumental expectations entering the season and so far have met them.  They will face the unlikely 15 seed St. Peter’s Peacocks in the Sweet Sixteen.

Arizona vs. TCU

Lisa Byington, Steve Smith, Avery Johnson, Lauren Shehadi

The red-hot Arizona Wildcats ironically started cold, not scoring their first points until around three minutes into the ball game.  Avery Johnson made a great observation about Arizona big man Christian Koloko, stating that once the ball gets above his head on the hook, it’s one of the more dangerous shots in the Arizona arsenal.  Byington seemed to revel in TCU’s Eddie Lampkin, who celebrated nearly every positive play for the Horned Frogs no matter how impactful.  Koloko and Bennedict Mathurin combined for 58 of Arizona’s 85 points in this overtime thriller, where the entire team seemed to match Lampkin’s celebrations once the final buzzer sounded.  Byington continued from the previous game in her remarks that were relevant to the game and provided another layer of analysis on top of that provided by Smith and Johnson.  The Wildcats will play the Houston Cougars in the next round, as their impressive season continues.


Philip Tepper

Philip Tepper is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Sport Management with a Public Communications minor. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in public relations in sports media.

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