Sunday, April 03, 2011

I miss Brent Musburger

Last night I was in Moosup, Conn. with my brother Mark watching UCONN beat Kentucky to advance to the NCAA national championship. As the crow flies, I was a mere 30 miles from Storrs and the UCONN campus.

Mark and I both thought that CBS's coverage of the NCAA Final Four, in general, stunk. We both remember the days when Frank Fallon, longtime Final Four announcer, introduced both teams. The player introductions were staggered, with the starters at each position announced, back and forth, until all ten starters were given their praise.

For some reason, CBS has decided to turn the Final Four into the Superbowl, with Jim Nantz introducing the teams to fanfare fitting an NBA game. And there were these weird video montage intros for each club when UCONN played Kentucky.

It made us long for Brent Musberger. He was the CBS announcer in the late 1980s when I became a college basketball fan. Last night, Mark and I recounted his most memorable calls, like his award-winning performance in the 1988 NCAA final, which pitted underdog Kansas against Oklahoma:

"They've come to the summit, and both of 'em are playin' like champions."

"Billy, you think he might have taken it to the Twilight Zone?" [Reference to partner Billy Packer's comment before the game that certain underdogs, like Kansas, had played in a "Twilight Zone"-like way in the 1980s.]

"And there is Blaylock; Those hands are so quick, they could catch flies." [Reference to a steal by Oklahoma guard Mookie Blaylock.]

"Bedlam reigns in Kansas City, as the Jayhawks beat the Sooners 83-79."

Mark pointed out that in the years since Jim Nantz took over for Musberger, we can't remember one of Nantz's calls. And yet here we are 23 years removed remembering several Musberger calls from one game in 1988.

Oh Brent, where have you been?

Below is the starting lineup introductions from that game back in 1988. I watched it at home at age 12.

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