November 17, 2010
On a day when ESPN dominated college basketball on television, the home of March basketball made a huge splash in the news.
Seldom do personnel moves in television bring as much universal praise as what we saw Tuesday, when CBS Sports president Sean McManus announced Charles Barkley would be a part of CBS and Turner's March Madness coverage four months from now.
I do have questions about how Barkley will be able to switch up/off his oft-critical commentary of the pro players, which can get brutal (and brutally funny), and temper that toward the college kids. But aside from that, this is probably going to be pretty fantastic. In fact, Barkley's lack of knowledge about the small-time school/players could create some pretty good moments.
Barkley will be paired with his partner, Kenny Smith, per usual, and Marv Albert will be sent to do some play-by-play. If Albert's getting involved, Gus Johnson's just going to have to step up his game.
And most will be OK with that.
Across the board, the networks' coverage got significantly better Tuesday with the additions in coverage, promises of new graphic presentation and updated musical themes (Though please don't mess with the classic melody that is the NCAA on CBS. I'm willing to beg.) These moves were alluded to last season, when it was decided the NCAA tournament would expand to 68 teams, but official word didn't come down until Wednesday's Sports Media and Technology Conference in downtown Manhattan.
There was plenty of other news, like Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg getting assigned to the "First Four" games in Dayton, Ohio, but the Barkley bits are all the buzz.