Hoping against hope, worst fears of tourney time

Media Watch

March 10, 1998|By Milton Kent

Today, with apologies to David Letterman for stealing his bit with hardly any of the comic value, Media Watch's "NCAA Tournament Hopes and Fears."

Hope: That CBS, now that it has entered the modern era and has put the score and clock on screen at virtually all times, will stay with the concept.

Fear: That Duke won't lose early enough for its coach, Mike Krzyzewski, to replace Dean Smith in the CBS studio. Smith, the former North Carolina coach, looked rather, well, uncomfortable last weekend, and three more weekends of that will be deadly viewing.

Hope: That at some point ESPN stops treating the women's tournament like some unpleasant-smelling piece of clothing that you hold with your fingertips at arm's length. Between odd telecast times, a peep's worth of mention on "SportsCenter" and relatively few highlight or preview shows, you'd hardly know that ESPN carries the tournament.

Fear: That ESPN has entirely forgotten to give women announcers a chance to work the women's tournament. Though the channel has a full complement of female analysts, there are only two women, Beth Mowins and Pam Ward, doing play-by-play, and only Mowins will be working one of the four regionals. This is not to say that only women can call women's sports, but when women aren't given any chances to work men's games, they should at least be given a crack at marquee women's events.

Hope: That Dan Bonner, who, according to these ears, has become the best college basketball analyst anywhere, gets plenty of prime opportunities this weekend.

Fear: That Tim Brando, who embodies just about every sportscaster cliche there is and even invents a few, won't get lost in traffic on the way to the arena.

Hope: That ESPN's Mike Patrick and Ann Meyers are as terrific calling this year's women's tournament as they've been the last two.

Fear: That ESPN's Mimi Griffin and Rebecca Lobo may actually exchange fisticuffs in the studio.

Hope: That Jim Nantz will bounce back from the beating he's been taking regarding the Olympics. He doesn't deserve it.

Fear: Six words -- Billy Packer unplugged for three weeks!

Just wondering

Virtually everybody would agree that the results of exhibition baseball games are meaningless to anyone who is not in desperate need of a life.

With that acknowledged, why do we have to suffer through said scores on those tickers on CNN Headline News or ESPN2 when we're trying to find out who won basketball tournament games? New kid in town

As you might expect, Steve Bornstein, who is not only the president and CEO of ESPN, but is also the president of ABC Sports, has his hands full these days, so he's found some help.

That assistance comes in the form of Brian McAndrews, who was executive vice president of production for the ABC network, and now becomes executive VP and general manager for the sports division, effectively running the department on a day-to-day basis while reporting to Bornstein.

Stuff to watch

The headline bout on tonight's card of fisticuffs from the Pikesville Armory gets cable television treatment, as USA airs the 12-round welterweight contest between Derrell Coley and Willy Wise. Of course, that's up against the Miss USA beauty pageant, so many of you will have to govern yourselves accordingly.

Meanwhile, Classic Sports Network will air a one-hour tribute to former Green Bay linebacker Ray Nitschke, who died over the weekend. The special airs tomorrow at 7 p.m., with a re-air Thursday at noon.

Weekend ratings

The ratings for the 10 most-watched sporting events on broadcast television in Baltimore last weekend:

Event ............ Day .. Ch. .. R/S

Maryland-UNC ..... Sat. .. 54 ... 6.7/16

Knicks-Bulls ..... Sun. .. 11 ... 6.2/10

NCAA Selections .. Sun. .. 13 ... 5.5/9

Wizards-76ers .... Sun. .. 11 ... 4.4/8

Md.-Ga. Tech ..... Fri. .. 54 ... 4.3/15

Gymnastics ....... Sat. .. 11 ... 4.3/10

Skating .......... Sat. .. 11 ... 4.1/9

UNC-N.C. State ... Fri. .. 54 ... 4.0/12

Duke-UNC ......... Sun. .. 54 ... 3.9/9

Clemson-Duke ..... Sat. .. 54 ... 3.8/8

R-Rating. S-Share

Pub Date: 3/10/98

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