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Sports Illustrated drafts the best college basketball announcers

Ian Eagle was the group’s 24th pick.

It’s finally March, that blissful time of year when the majority of our free time is dedicated to watching basketball. From surveying Kentucky’s position on the bubble to watching the cluster-eff at the top, there are endless excuses to have your TV tuned to basketball from the time you get home to the time you finally fall asleep (or for those of you without an IT department watching, anytime you please). March Madness is always exciting, and with this year’s lack of a clear leader in the pack, it could be more thrilling than ever. Especially if there’s a good announcer calling the action.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch has put together “The Ultimate College Basketball Broadcaster Draft” to commemorate the season. A panel of four “GMs” (Deitsch; Randy McClure, Rush the Court; John Ourand, Sports Business Daily; and Matt Yoder, Awful Announcing) drafted a team of ten media members, including two play by play announcers, two game analysts, one studio/onsite host, three studio/onsite analysts, one sideline reporter, and a wildcard spot. There were ten rounds in total, and they were allowed to pick anyone currently working in college basketball broadcasting with this year’s NCAA Tournament in mind. Where did your favorite announcer end up? Here’s round one:


1. Deitsch: Gus Johnson (Fox, play by play): Had this been for an entire college hoops season, ESPN announcer Dan Shulman, who carries Dick Vitale the way Michael Jordan carried the Bulls, would have been my selection, but Johnson is the perfect announcer for the compressed nature of the tournament, an audio funhouse in the closing moments of a tight game.

2. McClure: Charles Barkley (Turner Sports, studio analyst): Sure, Chuck may not be all that familiar with the names of college players (or even some teams), but the very definition of star talent is when people will tune in to see what you have to say. In the rapid-fire format of the opening weekend of March Madness, he’s often more entertaining than the games themselves.

3. Yoder: Jay Bilas (ESPN, studio analyst): Bilas is the total package as an analyst – smart and entertaining with a deep knowledge of the college game. Most importantly, he connects with viewers. Not only is he the preeminent analyst for college basketball, he’s one of the leading voices in all of college sports in the crusade against the crumbling NCAA and its fiddling emperor.

4. Ourand: Ernie Johnson (Turner Sports, studio host): For the NCAA tournament, I value the traffic cop that cuts in and out of games much higher than any announcer. In basketball, there’s nobody better than EJ, who will keep his cool and provide relevant information to viewers during the craziest moments of March Madness.

Other notable selections:

R2 6. Yoder: Bill Raftery
R2 7. McClure: Dan Dakich (really?!)
R6 24. Deitsch: Ian Eagle
R7 26. McClure: Dick Vitale
R8 30. Yoder: Samantha Ponder
R10 37. Ourand: Bill Simmons

Check out the whole list by clinking the link below. Who would you draft?

SI: The Ultimate College Basketball Broadcaster Draft

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

27 Comments for Sports Illustrated drafts the best college basketball announcers

  1. Tebkats
    4:08 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    What, no one has picked Bob Knight?

  2. Cokely
    4:16 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Erin Andrews

  3. Roland
    4:19 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Even if he is gone:

  4. Cokely
    4:20 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Noticeably jimmy dykes was left off the list yet were stuck with his airplane and drive the nail every ESPN game. Oh and does anyone else want to slap joe dean jr whenever he says banking board?

  5. bobbyknight
    4:21 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Why am I not on the list?

  6. frank_ukcats
    4:22 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Bill Walton.. lol for entertainment
    Jimmy Dykes is growing on me

  7. Roland
    4:22 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    This draft would be better named,
    If I could “ONLY” sound like Cawood.

  8. Roland
    4:26 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    How come “Mute” not a choice for the draft?

  9. Matt
    4:27 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll take Erin Andrews and Samantha Ponder and broadcast a ky jelly wrestling match and blow away all of the basketball game ratings for the first weekend. Then for the sweet 16 and on I would still have two solid sideline reporters.

  10. theSkinny81
    4:29 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Gus Johnson is overrated. He’s too much, too often.


    I really like Kevin Harlan, especially in the NBA, but wouldn’t mind if he called some more UK games – or any prime-time games, for that matter.

  11. Jeff Van Gundy
    4:34 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    What about me?!

  12. TN Cat
    4:37 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Shannon Spake. mmm mmm good.

  13. btowncatfan
    4:40 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    List is not Shannon the Dude approved, Doris Burke is on the list.

  14. Axe Cop
    4:49 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Dan Shulman is terrible.

  15. Jimmy Dykes Caddy
    4:51 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Shows you how much those national guys know about basketball…and announcers.

    Brad Nessler is the best play by play guy in the business. Runner up play by play is Dan Shulman
    OF COURSE JIMMY DYKES IS BEST COLOR MAN. Runner up to Jimmy is Bill Raftery….ONIONS!!! And they open…MAN-TO-MAN!!!

    Best studio analysts is Bilas by far.
    Worst studio analysts is Gotleb.

    Two worst color guys ever are Bob Knight, closely followed by Dakich.
    Two worst play-by-play guys are Brent Musberger folled by Jim Nance…he should stick to golf.

    Best radio announcer ever…Caywood.
    Worst radio announcer ever…Ralph Hacker.

    For those that do not give Jimmy Dykes enough credit…he knows the game, he is consistently unbiased when doing SEC games and he is the only national advociate for the SEC….plus, he is a great guy!!!

  16. jim tom
    4:54 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    15//agree about everything except the part about ralph

  17. Dee Thomas
    4:55 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    15. I agree…with everything except Ralph Hacker….

    16. I agree with you 100%

  18. Darren
    4:57 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Bill Simmons while an NBA guy would be awesome during March Madness. I believe he has the most bball knowledge while still being able to put together two complete sentences, unlike most former players and coaches. If any of you are NBA fans you need to read his book.

  19. Jimmy Dykes Caddy
    5:02 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    #16,17…Thanks! Everyone has their favs but I gota be honest on Hacker…if you pull off those UK blinders and just be honest, Hacker was absolutely horrible. It was impossible to follow play by play when he called a game. He should have stuck to being a color guy. Anyway, thanks!

  20. Kate Upton
    5:03 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    My puppies are the best

  21. Jimmy Dykes Caddy
    5:05 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Oh! I forgot to add one last thing…Bill Walton should be banned from TV, awefull, just aweful…too opinionated ! He actually must have never grown up. Having said all that, as much as I do not care for him, he may just have been the best college player that I have ever seen. But, he is still a punk!

  22. Best Radio Half Time Guy
    5:14 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Best radio half time guy…Pete Manchekus(?) with the famous UK Campus Scene Report.
    That goes back a few years..Haha!

  23. Vern Lunquist
    5:14 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    OH MY!
    How could you leave me off the list.

  24. mudcreekmark
    5:33 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    I have to disagree with some of you on here, I actually like Dan Dakish. Worse of all time is Bobby Knight. Knight sounds like he knows nothing about the game.For someone who supposed to be one of the best coaches of all time he sure sounds like an idiot. Bill Walton is awful. I loved him as a college player but he should stick to trying to coach up Luke a little bit and stop pretending to be an announcer.Dan Shulman is really good but Dicky V for some reason I cannot hear when he is announcing. I don’t know if something happened to Vitales voice or whats the problem but I usually cannot hear him over the crowd.Love listening to Jay Bilas. Barkley is my favorite NBA studio analysis. Bilas for the College game. Jeff Van Gundy is the best NBA announcer ever. It really would be a shame if he went back to coaching. Same for Jon Gruden.He is the best Monday Night announcer and NFL announcer out there right now and I’d hate to see he go back to coaching.

  25. Gus Johnson
    5:51 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Me all the way.

  26. yo
    6:05 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    Ian is the best. Book It

  27. billy clyde gillespie
    7:38 pm March 4, 2013 Permalink

    I recommend Jeannine Edwards.