CBS needs to bench its camera shots of choreographed subs

Phil Jackman

March 22, 1993|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman's uncle, Captain Video, checks out the NCAA tournament:

What is it with CBS these days, bypassing its favored crowd shots after baskets with quick peeks at what the subs are doing on the benches? The scrubinis are aware of what's going on and they're working up routines worthy of the stupid pet tricks on the David Letterman show.

Overall, though, the network has been doing a fine job, mainly because it has transported viewers from arena to arena without the usual lengthy and vacant studio gabfests.

* Despite what seemed like a shocking total of upsets the last four days, this weekend's NCAA regionals suggest all is pretty well back to normal as about 80 percent of the teams that figured to advance to the round of 16 did so.

Four top seeds are joined by two No. 2's, two 3's, two 4's, a 5, two 6's, two 7's and a 12. Only the last, George Washington, really qualifies as an outsider since Virginia, Wake Forest, Temple, California and Western Kentucky all could have been placed a bit higher in the draw.

The big argument out West was whether Michigan or Arizona should have received the top seed when it's highly questionable either deserved it over rock-solid Vanderbilt.

The way it works out, The Associated Press' Top 25 poll often plays second banana to the coaches' poll, but the final AP poll and the tourney seedings are almost replicas of each other.

* Rider's coach, Kevin Bannon, must be a great and inspirational halftime speaker. After surrendering 63 points in the first half to Kentucky the other night, the Broncos cut the Wildcats back to a mere 33 over the final 20 minutes.

* This is the 50th anniversary of Wyoming's championship win over Georgetown (46-34) in 1943. Then, all it took to make the Final Four was one victory. The eight-team tourney was staged inside a week in Madison Square Garden and Kenny Sailors marched off with MVP honors by scoring 40 points in three games, four less than Bill Walton got in the title game in 1973.

* The very next year, 1944, and under the same eight-team format, Paul Menton, for years sports editor of The Evening Sun, served as one of the refs in Utah's 42-40 overtime win over Dartmouth. Paul did not file a story for the paper the next day, although his eyewitness account figured to be pretty accurate.

* All this season and after working some tourney games last year, it seemed strange that Digger Phelps didn't pick up some work with CBS during the regular season. Considering the ex-Notre Dame coach's work on yesterday's Michigan-UCLA game, it's not so strange.

Clearly, while taking a couple of shots at the officials at the end, Digger did not know the rule regarding the expiration of the shot clock at the end of the overtime thriller.

* In the history of the NCAA tourney, there have been just a dozen routs of 40 or more points, and three of them occurred over the weekend with North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana winning by 45, 44 and 43 points, respectively.

This suggests a couple of things: The 64-team field should either be cut in half or extended to include any Division I team that wins at least half its games.

* All right already, Mel Proctor, we know that Chris Havlicek of Virginia is the son of "John Havlicek, former Boston Celtics star." We are talking college hoops here and Hondo did play in college, you know, starring on a fabulous Ohio State team.

* This is the silver anniversary of UCLA's beating North Carolina, 78-55, for the NCAA title. Of greater note in that tourney was the Bruins getting revenge for a loss to Houston in the famed Astrodome game two months earlier by thrashing the Cougars, 101-69, in a semifinal game.

If the truth be known, UCLA's run of 10 titles in a dozen seasons between 1964 and 1975 was pretty boring stuff, as attests its 13-point average margin of victory.

On the other hand and going along with the anniversary theme, it's the 10th of North Carolina State's shocking triumph under Jim Valvano when four of the Wolfpack's six wins were by 2-1-1-2 points, one of the games being a double-overtime job.

* I'm assuming commentator Dan Bonner's away-from-the-arena job is teaching in the primary grades. He lectures listening audiences in first-grade reader style: See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.

Dan was particularly insightful when he said, "That's so-and-so's fifth personal foul and he's fouled out of this basketball game." Just in case you thought you were watching a baseball game.

Speaking of which, the Orioles-Pirates game on Saturday afternoon looked as if it was on still pause throughout when compared with the frenetic action of hoops.

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