Biggest pet peeve
Few things in sports bug me more than coaches and athletes from really good teams who go around saying how "everybody doubted us'' or "no one expected us to be here.'' It happened twice at Saturday's Final Four.
First, Kansas coach Bill Self (left), after his Jayhawks beat Ohio State, said, "It's more of a thrill for us right now because I don't think anybody probably thought we'd get here.''
Wait, wasn't Kansas a No. 2 seed? You're telling me that nobody thought Kansas had a chance to get to the national championship? I'm willing to guess hundreds of thousands of college hoops fans thought Kansas would be playing tonight.
Then there was Ohio State All-American Jared Sullinger (below) who said, "Look at this team a month ago, and people like you all said we weren't good enough to get here.''
Again, this was a No. 2 seed. A month ago, the Buckeyes were 24-6 and some considered them a No. 1 seed.
CBS's Final Four announcing team of Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr was solid Saturday, although two-man booths seem to work better for basketball than three-man ones.
It sort of works here, however, because Kerr doesn't bully his way into the broadcast. He seems content in letting Kellogg (left) be the lead analyst and do most of the talking.
Nantz (right) by the way, had a great line as Kentucky finished off Louisville: "Kentucky wins the state championship, and now they'll play Monday night for the national championship.''
Yeah, that sounds like a line Nantz thought of earlier in the week and was going to pull out no matter who won. But it was still a good line.
During the intermissions of Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts (which can be seen on the NHL Network), the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. will often go to commercial breaks by showing shots from the locations of the games it is broadcasting that night along with the scores of those games.
Take Saturday night. CBC showed a shot from outside the Verizon Center in Washington, where the Caps were playing the Canadiens, and from outside the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, where the Leafs were hosting the Sabres. It also showed a shot from outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum with a little graphic showing the Jets were leading the Lightning 2-1 in another HNiC broadcast.
While it's true CBC never states these are live shots, the implication is you are looking at a live shot, along with the up-to-the-minute score, of those arenas. But it was crystal clear the shot of the Times Forum was not live. How do we know for sure? Because the sign on the building read, "St. Pete Times Forum.'' No such sign has existed since the arena changed its name to the "Tampa Bay Times Forum'' on Dec. 31.
Clearly, CBC was using stock footage. And while it's not the worst thing ever, it does feel kind of shady. It almost makes you wonder if any of the other arena shots are live.
Most incomplete coverage
NBC almost did a great job covering the nasty final few minutes of Sunday's Flyers-Penguins game. The direction and camera work were first-rate. Viewers didn't miss a second of the fights on the ice and war of words between the benches.
What was missing was stronger analysis from Pierre McGuire and Ed Olczyk. While both teams seemed to have a reason to be irritated with the other, neither analyst was strong enough in his opinion as to who was to blame. It was obvious Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was upset with Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. But it would have been nice if McGuire and Olczyk — both former coaches who, you would think, know the protocol — gave their takes on who was in the right.
Viewers also could have expected more from McGuire, who was stationed between the benches, smack dab in the middle of the yelling and trash talking. One could only guess there was plenty of cursing and threats, but McGuire at least could have given us more of a clue to the gist of the argument. One of the advantages of being between the benches is hearing what is being said. So take advantage of it.
In the end, McGuire and Olczyk are outstanding. They provided excellent commentary for most of Sunday's game as they do for every game. I'd rather listen to those two than anyone else when it comes to hockey. But the viewers needed just a little more on Sunday.
If CBS's coverage of the Final Four was a meal, it would be a good cheeseburger. But definitely not a steak. It's good. Not great. And it's the little things that keep CBS's coverage from being outstanding. It just seems like CBS gets locked into its plan and sometimes forgets to adjust to what the viewer might be thinking. • Here's a perfect example, and it's the type of thing that happened throughout the tournament. With 13:47 left in the first half of Saturday's Kentucky-Louisville game, Kentucky star forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (above) was called for a controversial charge. It was his second foul of the game. • "That's a big number,'' analyst Clark Kellogg said. • Kellogg was absolutely right. It forced Kidd-Gilchrist to the bench for the rest of the half. But did we ever see a replay? No. • The replay was obviously shown inside the arena because there was an audible outburst. Instead, CBS showed us a replay of a missed dunk. All viewers, especially Kentucky fans, wanted to see the replay of a call that had a huge impact on the game. • Later, Kentucky star forward Anthony Davis picked up his second foul of the first half on the offensive end of the floor. And again, we were not shown a replay. Instead, CBS showed a bunch of Kentucky dunks. • It's almost as if the production truck became locked into showing those replays and failed to adjust to the moments at hand.
One of the worst things a network can do is miss live action because it is showing a replay. In fact, the production team has someone in the production truck who is responsible for letting the director know the game is about to start back up.
That's why it was completely inexcusable for CBS to miss much of the final 2.9 seconds of Kansas' 64-62 victory against Ohio State on Saturday. With 2.9 seconds left, Ohio State's Aaron Craft tried to purposely miss a free throw and grab the rebound but was called for a lane violation.
CBS showed a replay of the call. But while that rolled, Kansas inbounded the ball. By the time CBS realized what was happening and switched back to live action, there was just more than a second left and Kansas was holding the ball. Essentially, CBS missed the end of the game. That cannot happen.
Three things that popped into my head
1. Latest word I hate to hear when I'm watching a basketball game: "Bigs,'' which stands for big guys. I don't know why. It just bugs me.
2. What's the over-under on the number of times we hear the words, "The Masters'' during tonight's NCAA basketball title game? Ten? Fifteen?
3. The NCAA needs to consider increasing the number of fouls for disqualification from five to six. Too many games are altered because a player picks up a cheap second foul early in the game and is forced to sit out the rest of the first half.
tom jones' two cents
Tampa Bay Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.