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Volume 24 No. 155
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NCAA Tourney Media Notes: CBS Director Goes Behind The Scenes With Verne, Raf

On Long Island, Neil Best notes this is CBS Sports director Suzanne Smith's "10th year working college basketball" with the net's announce team of Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. Smith said of the duo, "Everybody knows they do such a good job on the air. What people don’t see is what they do behind the scenes. They’re in the limelight, but it is a team effort and it starts with them and they bring everyone in and make our broadcast better." She added, "One of the things I love about them is they have fun with each other and sometimes make fun of each other but they never disrespect the game. They never disrespect the players." Meanwhile, Smith said of sideline reporter Allie LaForce, "Coming in we sat down and we talked. I was pleasantly surprised how much she knew about basketball. She can talk the talk and walk the walk. ... She knows sports as well as any guy out there, and I think it shows on the air. ... She really showed me a wide range of what she can do, how good she is on the air, how good she is with people and one story was better than the next. I was impressed with her" (NEWSDAY, 3/28). LaForce is profiled in today's issue by THE DAILY's Josh Carpenter.

YES, AND IT COUNTS! In L.A., Tom Hoffarth notes this is the fourth year of CBS/Turner Sports arrangement to call the NCAA Tournament, and announcer Marv Albert said that he "thinks he’s finally gotten the hang of things." Albert said, "It’s a real kick doing this now. I think you parachute into this event and educate yourself without trying to get too much information into each game because then you’re just talking too much. I am much more efficient at prepping for games now, not forcing things in, and looking at things a little differently after all these years" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/28).

MATCH MAKER: In Utah, Trent Christiansen noted BYU statistics professor Scott Grimshaw "wrote a paper with BYU student Paul Sabin projecting what Final Four matchups would attract the most viewers." Grimshaw said that they "reviewed three different types of Final Four matchups." The highest-rated type of matchup is the "standard David vs. Goliath format." In his research, Grimshaw found that the "best-case scenario for a finals matchup this year would be Dayton vs. Michigan, an 11 vs. 2 seeding." The lowest-rated matchup is a "Goliath vs. Goliath matchup." He said that big schools "don’t have as big of influence as people generally think they have." Grimshaw found that the "lowest rated Final Four matchups would be Stanford vs. Connecticut and Baylor vs. Tennessee." These are "potential bad matchups because the nation already knows about these schools." He said that the "ideal matchup would be a David vs. David matchup in the championship game" (DESERET NEWS, 3/28).

THE TURNER EXPERIMENT: SPORTS ON EARTH's Joe Delessio noted Turner Sports next week will "experiment with multiple broadcasts of the NCAA tournament semifinals: In addition to the familiar, main broadcast on TBS, they'll air four team-specific ones on TNT and TruTV." The announcers will be "encouraged to call the game from that team's perspective." Turner said that it has "prepared a long list of potential names to call the semifinals on these broadcasts depending on which teams advance to the Final Four." The broadcasters the net uses "might include a team's regular radio announcer, or someone who covers them regularly on regional television, or perhaps even celebrities affiliated with the school." The "time is right for this sort of experiment." Turner can "air games across multiple cable properties, and if other rights-holders wanted to try it, ESPN, Fox, and NBC could easily do the same" (, 3/27).