After basketball season, Kellogg will dribble in another direction


March 31, 2000|By Milton Kent

It's already been a long season for CBS basketball analyst Clark Kellogg, and the end isn't necessarily in sight.

Kellogg, who rides shotgun in the studio with Greg Gumbel, has seen bits and pieces of all 60 NCAA men's tournament games from the network's New York studio, and is taking his act to Indianapolis, the site of this weekend's Final Four.

Add the basketball that Kellogg has seen this month to what he sees throughout the year as analyst on Indiana Pacers games, and it's easy to understand why Kellogg won't be getting anywhere near a basketball for a while.

"I have a great passion for basketball and it's a great privilege to do what I do, and I do love it," said Kellogg. "But once this tournament is over and the Pacers' season is over, I pretty much steer clear of basketball for the summer.

"Greg will have a little bit of down time before he goes into preparing for football, but there's not a long window of time before basketball starts up again. From November to June, things get fairly intense and fairly consuming. I try to take advantage of any free time I can get."

All that said, Kellogg, a former All-Big Ten player and five-year NBA veteran, said this Final Four should be intriguing, if only for all the "wacky" things that led up to it.

Specifically, Kellogg never imagined that the number 22 would be a factor. That's the total reached when the seeds of the four teams -- Michigan State (1), Florida (5), North Carolina (8) and Wisconsin (8) -- are added.

That's the highest seed total that has ever come into play since the NCAA began seeding teams in 1979, and while Kellogg considers Michigan State the favorite, he is intrigued by the youthful Florida team.

"For entertainment value, there's no one better than the Gators," Kellogg said. "They've got nine or 10 guys who just go at it, and they have four things that I like to see this time of year, namely coaching, confidence, spurtability and versatility. They are a joy to watch."

Gumbel, Kellogg and former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, will run the pre-game show tomorrow (Channel 13, 4 p.m.), with the Michigan State-Wisconsin game tipping off at around 5: 40 p.m., and the Florida-North Carolina game to follow. The winners meet Monday with an abbreviated pre-game show at 9 p.m., and the tipoff around 9: 20.

On the women's side, ESPN airs all of the festivities from Philadelphia, and frankly, the worldwide leader has a lot to do to make up for rather shoddy coverage throughout the year.

From nearly ignoring women's basketball during the regular season -- particularly on "SportsCenter," where scores and highlights are a rumor at best, to stacking tournament games at times ill-suited for the younger audience that watches this sport, ESPN has hardly served a growing viewership well.

At any rate, Robin Roberts will host the coverage, which begins at 7 tonight, with Tennessee facing Rutgers, followed by Penn State meeting Connecticut. The winners meet at 9 p.m. Sunday, with a pre-game show at 8: 30.

Batter up

ESPN begins a new six-year arrangement with Major League Baseball on Monday that not only settles all of the outstanding hostilities that existed between the two entities, but lends an air of legitimacy to ESPN2.

Under the terms of the new contract, the "Deuce," the 7-year old kid brother to ESPN, will get a new logo and a significant amount of baseball programming, including a weekly Wednesday night game and a weekly "Baseball 2Day" series each Sunday afternoon, as well as a daily re-air of "Baseball Tonight."

"Our consumers have told us that they want ESPN2 to be more like ESPN," said Mark Quenzell, ESPN's senior vice president of programming.

The two channels will air five games Monday, including Ken Griffey's inaugural game in Cincinnati, as the Reds play host to Milwaukee on ESPN at 1 p.m.

Of course, the Orioles open Monday against Cleveland on Channel 13 at 3 p.m., as Michael Reghi, Jim Palmer and Mike Flanagan return to call the action.

And the nominees are.

Fox led the way with 29 nominations for next month's Sports Emmy awards, announced this week. NBC received 22 nominations, with HBO (14), ABC (11), ESPN(9) and CBS (8).

In one of the more stunning nominations, the critically panned Ahmad Rashad was nominated for best studio host for his work on "NBA Inside Stuff," as well as CBS' Greg Gumbel, CNN/SI's Fred Hickman, James Brown of Fox and Hannah Storm of NBC.

ABC's Al Michaels, NBC's Bob Costas and Dick Enberg, and Fox's Joe Buck and Mike Emrick were all nominated for best play-by-play announcer, while ABC's Dick Button, Hubie Brown of TNT, and Fox's John Madden and Tim McCarver were tapped as best game analysts, along with John McEnroe for his work for USA, CBS and NBC.

Fox swept the studio analyst category, as Marv Levy, Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Lyons and Cris Collinsworth were all nominated.

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