Event Previews

College Basketball Weekend: A listing of the games and a scouting thumbnail of the talent

Lots of good talent; Then there are the so-so and the unknowns

Once the Super Bowl has been played and football is behind us, college basketball takes the spotlight. From now through the Final Four, there will be tons of viewing options. The games listed here are limited to those on cable television. With all the apps, the school streams and other platforms, there’s an orgy of games available almost every night.

This Sunday, the eyes of America’s sports fans will be focused on the NFC and AFC championships. But there are no NFL games on Saturday, so here’s the weekend of games (Saturday and Sunday) and the talent assigned.

Some quick knee-jerk trenchant profiles of those who stand out:

Debbie Antonelli – I learn more from her about the game in ten minutes than I do all season from the celebrated Doris Burke

Jason Benetti – Quite a talent and one of three attorneys on this list (Len Elmore and Jay Bilas). Jason doesn’t let cerebral palsy get in his way. Good- and real good- at baseball, football and basketball

Jay Bilas Silky smooth like his football colleague, Herbie. Yet Bilas is smart and talks in measured intervals unlike the garrulous one

Dan Bonner Talks much and says little. Just because a guy has been at it for a long time doesn’t mean he excels. It means he can keep a job

Tim Brando Won last year’s Halby’s for best college basketball announcer. Nothing more to be said

Kevin Burkhardt – Good at anything he does and has a warm on-air presence. Haven’t listened to his hoops yet

Lisa Byington – On basketball play-by-play? She wasn’t any good at football. More on the job training?

Brian Custer Another one who sputtered in the football booth. We’ll see what his basketball’s like

Dan Dakich Growing on me. Like his mentor Bob Knight, Dan is funny, angry, opinionated and knows the game. Unpredictable too

Spero Dedes – Understated, Well prepared, spins yarns, underused

Wes Durham – Has talent, knows the game, is funny and certainly not sterile like too many others

Len Elmore – Like a comfortable pair of shoes, he’s there and has been for years. Won’t wow you but doesn’t get in your way either

Dave Flemming– The guy is here, there and everywhere. And wherever he goes he’s prepared. Giants baseball, football and basketball

Fran Fraschilla – A basketball maniac. Doesn’t miss a trick.You know you’re in good hands when he’s assigned

Rich Hollenberg – Like his enthusiasm. Haven’t heard much of him but from what I did, his call is solid

Clark Kellogg – Best and personable in studio, limited though doing games

Steve Lappas – Love his simple instructional commentary, his emotions, energy and transparency

Peter Gillen – At 72, one of at least 121 broadcasters 70+. Fast talking New Yorker who’s distinct

Bill Raftery – Still at it at 76. Blends a coach’s understanding, personality and humor. Raf’s same old lines still make viewers chuckle

Jim Spanarkel Excellent analyst on college or pro game. His real job is in the financial world. Record-breaking stock prices make those guys giddy.

Dan Shulman – He’s steady, real good and right on the play. Dan is so unassuming that you don’t even know he’s there. And that’s the problem. If you’re the lead college guy for ESPN, show it. Be assertive. Tell a story. Offer a strong opinion. Don’t be too docile with your analyst. ESPN is full of too many of those type.

Dick Vitale I like Dickie V. He’s a good man, off and on the court. While he occasionally drifts from the game, he’s enthusiastic, makes viewers feel good, is inspirational and shares anecdotes. At Arkansas this weekend, he’ll likely raise the Nolan Richardson days when President Clinton, a former Arkansas governor, showed up at the games. If there’s any basketball voice in America who should call his shots on when to retire it’s Dickie V. He popularized the game in the 80s.

Bob Wischusen – Not one of the indistinguishable voices. His raspy timbre tells you who he is immediately. Works well with Vitale. They complement one another.

Too many of the others – not all-  are indistinguishable. That’s not a shot. They’re just not memorable.

Enjoy. Here’s the schedule for the weekend.



All times are Eastern

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Friday January 17      

 7:00 PM         FS1               Wisconsin @ Mich St (15)         Gus Johnson, Donny Marshall

 9:00 PM         FS1               Michigan (19)   @ Iowa              Brandon Gaudin, Stephen Bardo

Saturday, January 18

12:00 PM       FOX               Seton Hall (18) @ St. John’s      Tim Brando, Jim Spanarkel

12:00 PM       FS1               Connecticut @ Villanova (14)      Brian Custer, Len Elmore

2:00 PM         FS1               Marquette @ Georgetown            Jeff Levering, Tarik Turner          

2:30 PM         FOX               Colorado (20)  @ Arizona             Kevin Burkhardt, Steve Lavin            

4:30 PM         FS1               Providence @ Creighton (25)        Lisa Byington, Nick Bahe      


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Friday, January 17


No. 13 Dayton at Saint Louis –

Mike Corey, Mark Plansky 

Furman at Wofford – ESPNU

Matt Schick, King McClure

           Saturday, January 18


North Carolina at Pitt – ESPN

Doug Sherman, Cory Alexander

No. 2 Baylor at Oklahoma State – ESPN2

Clay Matvick, Tim McCormick

No. 21 Ohio State at Penn State – ESPNU

Mike Couzens, Sean Farnham


No. 9 Florida State at Miami – ACC Network

Mike Monaco, Dan Bonner


No. 6 Kansas at TexasESPN

Rich Hollenberg, Fran Fraschilla 

Purdue at No. 17 Maryland – ESPN2

Jason Benetti, Dan Dakich

No. 12 West Virginia at Kansas State – ESPNU

Chuckie Kempf, Tim Welsh  

TCU at Oklahoma – Big 12 Now on ESPN+

Mark Neely, Lance Blanks


Missouri at Alabama – SEC Network

Dave Neal, Debbie Antonelli


No. 10 Kentucky at Arkansas – ESPN

Bob Wischusen, Dick Vitale

Houston at No. 16 Wichita State – ESPN2

Anish Shroff, Mark Wise 

Iowa State at No. 23 Texas Tech – ESPNU

Ted Emrich, Robbie Hummel


No. 11 Louisville at No. 3 Duke – ESPN

Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas

Northern Iowa at Bradley – ESPN2

Mike Corey, Kevin Lehman

South Florida at UCF – ESPNU

Dave LaMont, Mark Adams

Tennessee at Vanderbilt – SEC Network

Kevin Fitzgerald, Dane Bradshaw 


 LSU at Ole Miss – ESPN2

Roy Philpott, Jimmy Dykes

Temple at SMU  – ESPNU

David Saltzman, Reid Gettys

Virginia at Georgia Tech – ACC Network

Jay Alter, Jordan Cornette, Katie George


Georgia at Mississippi State – SEC Network

Mike Morgan, Pat Bradley


BYU at No. 1 Gonzaga – ESPN2

Dave Flemming, Adrian Branch

Utah State at Boise State – ESPNU

Steve Quis, Richie Schueler

Sunday, January 19 


Loyola Chicago at Illinois State – ESPNU

Robert Lee, Kevin Lehman


East Carolina at Cincinnati – ESPNU

Matt Schumaker, Sean Harrington

Boston College at Wake Forest – 

Wes Durham, Malcolm Huckaby


California at UCLA – ESPNU

Roxy Bernstein, Corey Williams



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Saturday, January 18


#4 Auburn at Florida CBS Broadcast (Over the Air)

Spero Dedes, Clark Kellogg


St. Bonaventure at VCU –(CBSSN)

Tom McCarthy, Bob Wenzel


#8 Oregon at WashingtonCBS Broadcast (Over the Air)

Ian Eagle, Bill Raftery


St. Mary’s at Pepperdine – (CBSSN)

Rich Waltz, Dan Dickau 


New Mexico at UNLV – (CBSSN)

Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas


Nevada at #7 San Diego State(CBSSN)

Carter Blackburn, Pete Gillen

Sunday, January 19 

12 Noon

Davidson at Fordham –  (CBSSN)

John Sadak, Tim Doyle 

David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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