The NCAA Tournament is finally upon us and all across the CBS/Turner networks we’ll have ten different broadcasting teams bringing the action straight into our living rooms.
What makes a good announce team includes a variety of factors from chemistry to knowledge of X’s and O’s to matching the moment with proper tone of voice. Without going into the scientific explanations of what that all entails, I’m going to rank this year’s tournament groups based on entertainment.
Will I actually remember your call? Will you properly give a game-tying three the proper excitement it deserves? Or will I smash the mute and wipe from my memory who called the game?
Here’s the announcer groups ranked with explanations for a few:
10. Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli
9. Lisa Byington, Steve Smith
8. Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, AJ Ross
7. Tom McCarthy, Avery Johnson
Listen, Tom McCarthy is a solid enough play-by-play voice for CBS but I’m strictly here for Avery Johnson on color commentary. The Little General has dipped his toes into the broadcasting game in between coaching stints and has been an entertaining listen each time. Also, there’s the possibility of running into an awkward “Mark Jackson covering Warriors games” situation if Alabama advances deep.
6. Spero Dedes, Brendan Haywood, Lauren Shehadi
5. Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl
Ian Eagle has been a consistent voice on CBS for years who can elevate to the right levels of enthusiasm when needed. What boosts this team is his rapport with Jim Spanarkel, which can weave in and out from professional to funny in a matter of moments.
Jamie Erdahl adds to the team as a solid sideline voice herself.
4. Brian Anderson, Jim Jackson, Allie LaForce
Go and listen to any of Brian Anderson’s high octane calls (the Damian Lillard buzzer beater vs. OKC for example) and it sounds like he’s just on the verge of completely throwing his voice out, but somehow reels it back in to soak in the moment. That’s going to come in handy for any potential buzzer-beater in this tournament.
3. Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn
Nessler has just an all-time distinct and classic voice where you’re drawn to whatever game he’s calling because you know it’s him.
2. Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson
GOOOOOD!!! Harlan’s ability to go 0-100 and sustain his yelling voice will get your blood pumping. That strength elevates this team to No. 2.
1. Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson
Hello, friends. This is the obvious A-Team of the entire crew. Jim Nantz is CBS and brings a big-time game feel to any game that he’s a part of. Bill Raftery is here to yell ONIONS! Grant Hill is the ultimate former player to provide insight and Tracy Wolfson is one of the best sideline reporters in the game. There’s no question this is the top team.