Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Archive for July 14th, 2008

Billy Packer “Packs It Up”

Posted by Tommy on July 14, 2008

After 34 consecutive Final Fours, Billy Packer is finally ousted as the “color” commentator. The riveting combination of Jim Nantz and Billy Packer will be broken up for next year’s Final Four. Could this be a result of Packer’s “This Game is Over” call when Kansas was up 38-12 with 7 minutes to go in the first half? I don’t know, but his exit has been long overdue. Now, you may be asking yourself, “shouldn’t this call for a celebration?” This is true, we won’t have to listen to Packer’s golf tournament voice during the most exciting sporting event in the United States. But don’t get the party hats out quite yet, because Packer’s replacement is CBS’s studio analyst Clark Kellogg. Don’t get me wrong, Kellogg does a pretty good job in the studio beside Greg Gumbel, but I really cannot see Kellogg being any more fun to listen to than Packer. Kellogg certainly has the announcing experience for the job, but the huge transition from the studio to calling the biggest games of the college basketball season will show during the Final Four.

The real man for the job, and I’m sure my colleagues will attest to this as well, is Gus Johnson. Just imagine how much crazier UNC’s comeback would have been with Johnson on the mic. Every college basketball fan remembers Johnson’s calls: Ohio State vs. Xavier, UCLA vs. Gonzaga; he has a great history of riveting calls and he really brings out the best of college basketball’s excitement. The Nantz-Kellogg duo won’t bring nearly as much excitement to the Final Four as Gus Johnson would. It’s a sad thing to see such talent go to waste…

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Monday News & Notes

Posted by Zach on July 14, 2008

-Tim Floyd can breath a sigh of relief as stud incoming freshman Demar DeRozan has been cleared to play by the NCAA after receiving a qualifying ACT score. If he hadn’t qualified, a trip to Europe with Brandon Jennings may have followed. DeRozan was Scout’s 6th ranked player in the nation but his stock is flying right now. He was recently invited to the LeBron James Skills Camp and has the most NBA potential of any incoming freshman. He’s the one newcomer I’m most looking forward to seeing this season. USC has a great chance to contend in the Pac-10 with favorites UCLA and Arizona State, led by Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett and DeRozan. FOX Sports also reports they’re in the running for UNC transfer Alex Stepheson.

Lute Olson lashed out at the one-and-done rule the NBA and NCAA have instituted for players guaranteeing each prospect have one year in “college.” Olson, who recently saw his most prized signee Brandon Jennings depart for Europe rather than play at Arizona, said clearly he would not sign any one-and-done players in the near future. Sure, Lute. This will last about six months. Olson proposed a deal where high school kids can enter the NBA straight out of high school, but if they opt for college, they have to stay for two or three years. I can see the reasoning behind this only if we start to see more and more players go to Europe to the point where it gets out of control. Then reform is needed.

– News from the CBS camp: Billy Packer will no longer be the lead announcer for college basketball and the NCAA Tournament. In fact, he’ll no longer be with the network at all. Packer always was a bright and intelligent basketball mind, but came across as arrogant and I never enjoyed him calling the biggest hoops games of the season. I was especially put off when he admitted in front of a camera he didn’t even enjoy sports anymore. Clark Kellogg will now be the lead analyst alongside Jim Nantz, with a rumor circulating that Greg Anthony will replace Kellogg in the studio with Seth Davis and Greg Gumbel. Big ups to CBS for making a much needed transition in their college basketball coverage.

– Andy Katz had some good conversations with Georgetown head coach John Thompson III and NC State coach Sidney Lowe about their chances in 2008-09. Thompson didn’t express too much remorse about losing Vernon Macklin to Florida (somewhat hurtful loss) and Jeremiah Rivers to Indiana (not much of a loss at all) because of the instant replacements in freshmen Greg Monroe and Henry Sims, along with a healthy Chris Wright taking over guard duties. Thompson expecting immediate contention in the loaded Big East may be too much to ask; I see them as a middle-of-the-pack team. Sidney Lowe says last year’s disappointing campaign was marked by a lack of a true point guard and the decline of junior forward Brandon Costner, who saw his PPG go down nearly eight points. Costner and McCauley need to step up as seniors for the Wolfpack to contend.

– Some dates to circle for big games: UCLA will play a home game against Notre Dame in a battle of top ten teams on February 9 in the thick of conference season, and will play @ Texas on December 4 as part of the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood series. Missouri, who lost guard Keon Lawrence to Seton Hall, will also be a part of the Puerto Rico tournament with Memphis, USC, Xavier and Virginia Tech. Oklahoma will face USC at home on December 4, also. Kansas State, who added UConn transfer Curtis Kelly, will play @ Michigan State and @ Arizona.

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