Brad Nessler rejoins CBS Sports

Veteran announcer mainly known for football will take over for Verne Lundquist on the SEC package in 2017

The news finally became official on Tuesday morning, as CBS Sports brought back Brad Nessler to cover SEC football.  He will be doing some other key games this coming autumn, in addition to announcing the Wells Fargo Sun Bowl and some college basketball games next winter.  The deal also includes him becoming a return voice to the NCAA Tournament.  Nessler spent close to a quarter century at ESPN, mostly doing college football and being the lead announcer for a few former BCS title games (2001 and 2004).  The move will reunite him in the booth with former longtime ESPN analyst Gary Danielson.

As for Uncle Verne, he is not riding off into the sunset just yet.  At still the ripe age of 75, he will still be calling some college basketball games (primarily during the final leg of the NFL’s regular season in December extending into the playoffs and before Selection Sunday each March), plus select NCAA Tournament games.  He will also be continuing with Jim Nantz on coverage of golf, including the Masters each April.

Perhaps, this quote from Verne sums it all up perfectly:

“Now, it’s time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years.”

Quote from Verne Lundquist found on CBS Sports press release May 31, 2016

 

UCLA beefs up non-conference schedule

Tantalizing contests featuring Kentucky, Ohio State, and Michigan will dominate pre-holiday slate

What a delight for true college basketball fans.  According to CBSSports.com this past Friday (May 13), UCLA announced there will be a home-and-home series with Michigan.  The first matchup will be on Saturday, December 10 at Pauley Pavilion (more than likely will air on CBS), and in December 2017–expect Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh to get fully amped up with the rest of the crowd inside Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.

Certainly, we can expect some great anticipation as the current crop of Bruins await their turn in looking to write another chapter with the school’s lavish and historic past:

“I have the utmost respect for Coach Beilein and what he’s been able to accomplish not just in his nine seasons with the Wolverines, but throughout his 38 years as a collegiate head coach. This will be a fantastic matchup for college basketball fans, given the opportunity to watch a pair of tradition-rich programs from two marquee conferences battle it out before league play. I know our players are already looking forward to the challenge.”

UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford, in a statement released via the school

These are the types of games the Bruins need to have a legitimate chance of not being passed over by the Division One Men’s Basketball Committee.  In other words, if they get off to one of their patented fast starts, there should be little doubt that their name will be mentioned come Selection Sunday 2017.

But that, as I usually say–is another topic for another day.  My fourth annual Season Preview will be released sometime in late October, just in case you are wondering.

Add to that other challenging games at Kentucky the week before on December 3 and participating once again in the third annual CBS Sports Classic on December 17 in Las Vegas against Ohio State (with Kentucky playing North Carolina in the other matchup), it might create some excellent early season drama.  Expect a topsy-turvy Pac 12 with the many graduations from key players affecting Utah, Stanford, and Washington in particular plus the usual ‘addition by subtraction’ with any transfers or academic/medical issues that might crop up the closer we get to the first week of classes in late August.

Both Michigan and UCLA have not met head-to-head since 2011, but this will be the first true “road game” since 2007–something that the Committee values very highly in ranking teams worthy of Tournament consideration.

And both schools did provide one rather excellent NCAA Tournament game in the pre-Internet era.  It was in the 1993 West Regional Second Round in Tucson, Arizona.  CBS showcased this game to most of the nation on a late Sunday afternoon as both the Bruins and Wolverines locked themselves into a tight, defensive struggle.

As a 9 seed this day, UCLA raced off to a 19 point lead during the first half and led by a hefty 13 point margin at the break.  But Steve Fisher’s bunch rallied back to make the game a classic, which as it turned out ended up going an extra five minutes.

As you will see during this final minute plus of the overtime period, two members of the “Fab Five” did really step up on this particular day.  Greg Gumbel and former veteran Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps were on the call:

 

Hopefully, more exciting home-and-home matchups will be just as common as little surprises inside your Christmas stockings.  When I read more details that is considered blog worthy, you will read it here.

Please enjoy the rest of your day and thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog.

 

Butler bolsters backcourt by welcoming second GW transfer

Second straight year Bulldogs will gain services from George Washington

Following in the footsteps of Kethan Savage last season, the Butler Bulldogs should be in pretty decent shape heading into the 2017-2018 school year.  On Wednesday, NBCSports.com reported that New York state native Paul Jorgensen will sit out a year due to those archaic NCAA rules.

The 6’2″ guard will have two years remaining of eligibility after coming off his sophomore year finishing up with averages of playing 15.7 minutes while compiling 4.9 points per game to go along with 2.1 assists per game.

Speaking of Savage, he had to sit out this past year after transferring from the Colonials and will be eligible to play for Butler this coming November.

With most of the backcourt heading to graduation both this year and next, the transfer of Jorgensen will fit very nicely in a rather competitive–and thanks to Villanova winning the national championship–a very hotly contested Big East Conference.

 

Steve McElvene of Dayton dead at 20

Very tragic news out of Allen County, Indiana near Fort Wayne this past Thursday as NBCSports.com reported that the 6’11” freshman died at the tender age of 20.  McElvene averaged 6.1 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game.

“We are devastated at this news. Any death is a tragedy, but for someone so young who worked so hard to have his dreams within reach, it’s hard to put into words how painful this is.  Our hearts and prayers go out to Steve’s family. My family, our team and our staff will have to pull together, not only in support of Steve’s family, but in support of each other at this terrible time.”

Dayton Head Coach Archie Miller said in statement released by the school.

No cause of death has been determined.

Mike Tirico to leave ESPN, will move to NBC Sports on July 1

Huge blow for Big Ten college basketball fans and some football fans in general on Monday afternoon, as the move was made official after several weeks of rampant online stories about 25 year sports TV announcer Mike Tirico.

One of the tireless, if not most honest men in the business–Mike Tirico will be joining NBC Sports in time for the Rio Olympic Games this coming August.  After covering a soccer tournament in France, Tirico will formally join The Peacock on July 1.

The lead position for ESPN’s coverage of Monday Night Football will be taken over by Sean McDonough–one time Winter Olympics and World Series announcer during the early 1990’s for CBS.  No word yet on who will join Dan Dakich early next year for men’s college basketball coverage, nor who will be taking over next January as the lead guy for announcing the College Football Playoff title game on ESPN Radio.

 

Rico Gathers drafted by Dallas Cowboys

Add another name from college basketball to NFL stardom as Rico Gathers of Baylor was selected in the sixth round, 217th pick overall by the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday night during the final day of the 2016 NFL draft held in rainy and chilly Chicago.

In years past, familiar college hoops stars that would turn out to be all All-Pros in America’s unquestioned number one sport included players such as Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas.

Gathers has not played football since he was 14, but I can safely say that longtime Cowboys owner Jerry Jones must have saw something in this guy that people like myself and other college basketball bloggers did not.  He has a body built like a tight end, so it will be interesting to see when training camp opens up in Oxnard, California come late July to see where Gathers fits on the depth chart for the once proclaimed “America’s Team.”

Another guy who had a fabulous college hoops career has also made quite an impact on football Sundays–former North Carolina Tar Heels standout Julius Peppers was an All-ACC player under Roy Williams before taking his act to become one of the NFL’s most feared defenders.  First, Peppers started out as a true standout for the Chicago Bears before heading north to their longtime rivals in becoming a bigger star playing for the Green Bay Packers.

I guess some future Thanksgiving conversations may get more interesting for years to come.