CBS and Turner Broadcasting decided they would experiment with a three person announcer presentation of the Final Four games. Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr were selected for a three man booth. Kerr had been a NBA analyst. Kellog replaced Billy Packer who had been a lead college basketball analyst for CBS for 27 years. Kellogg has done game and studio analysis for CBS for 16 years. He was to partner with Jim Nantz. So, how was the coverage? I watched the game between Butler University and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) on my television along with millions of others on Saturday. My view was that enduring the commentary was worse then a root canal without anesthetic.
Kellogg was the worst offender. He talked non stop in a monotone about everything except was happening on the floor. There was never a moment of silence, only a continuous monologue at a monotone level just loud enough to be really annoying but not loud enough to understand or care about. When a game announcer sounds like an unemployed coach second guessing everything instead of describing the action on the floor they become a huge distraction and nuisance. In my view a good announcer tells you who just made a significant shot, notes action on the floor and primarily focuses upon the action, not theories of coaching and second guessing unrelated to the fast moving action we are watching. Give me Keith Jackson any day. He, at least, knew he was there to announce what was going on as it happened and to give some minimal background to make the action more interesting. He did not think he was a coach who could do it better then the real coach and needed to talk non stop telling us how much he knew. I found that if I turned the sound off the game was more interesting, but I missed the crowd noise. If only I could turn off just the announcers.
There were other irritants as well. For the first part of the game the score was not shown on the bottom of the screen and no one in the announcing booth would bother to give the score when a basket was made. In addition, the camera editor and announcers didn’t seem to be in communication as often the camera would focus on something or someone the announcers totally ignored. Then we had a half time show in which really talented commentators including Charles Barley were asked for their views. This featured clips of the game, but for some inexplicable reason loud disco like music was played with the clip and you couldn’t hear what the commentators were saying about it. Look, I know I may be the only person who feels this way, but for me it was just plain an awful job. For me it needed less talk, more focused commentary on what was happening and good, old fashioned colorful announcing.