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Pitino, Walton plusses for CBS

Rick Pitino undoubtedly won't spill any secrets on live television today, or will we get to see Bill Walton analyze the post play of son Luke, a reserve guard for Arizona.

Even so, just by being there, CBS' newest celebrity analysts are bound to make things interesting during their short stints at the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Pitino may accept the Louisville coaching job within days, but before he does he'll call first and second round games from Dayton, Ohio, this weekend. He'll then join Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg in the studio for the region semifinals and finals, the kind of on-air duty in which he excels.

Walton is on loan from NBC (though he still is calling NBA games on the network), replacing the late Al McGuire. Walton, who last covered the tournament for CBS in 1992, is paired with Dick Enberg in the West Region for the first two weekends. Alas, that means he won't be calling games featuring Arizona, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.

Maybe next year. "This is a one-year agreement we hope lasts a long time," CBS Sports president Sean McManus said.

Also making a trial run in the early rounds is a translucent box on the upper left side of the screen that provides continuously updated scores from games that are not being shown. The network long has fielded complaints that it is difficult to keep track of, say, the upset brewing in the West when watching an East game.

The box, which debuted Thursday, was so unobtrusive you almost had to squint to see it _ which was, no doubt, the idea. It could use some tweaking, though: Everybody knows what OSU is, but "USU?" It took a while to figure out it was No. 12 seed Utah State. Perhaps the network could consider stripping the scores _ complete with the teams' full names _ on the bottom of the screen beneath the box showing the score of the game we are watching.

INDIANAPOLIS, 46222: Monday Night Football has Dennis Miller; the Indianapolis 500 has Jason Priestley. The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star joined ABC's Indy Racing League broadcast team this week. He will serve as a color commentator alongside announcer Bob Jenkins and new analyst Larry Rice. Described in a news release as an "active race car driver and lifelong fan of the sport," Priestley apparently qualifies because he has competed in, among other events, GTS, SCCA Trans-am racing, the SCCA/Michelin PRO RallyChampionship, the Motorola Cup and the Pro/Celebrity Race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. IRL coverage begins at 4 p.m. Sunday with the Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200.

FINE TUNING: NBC will air Sunday's Lakers at Magic game (noon). NBC analyst Doug Collins calls Orlando's Tracy McGrady, set to return Sunday from a two-game suspension, "the most improved player in the NBA." If the Florida women's basketball team wins its first-round NCAA Tournament game tonight, Sunshine will televise Sunday's second-round game on tape-delay at 11:30 p.m. ESPN2 will air the Major League Baseball Players' Association Big League Challenge for 10 straight weeknights, beginning at 5:30 Monday. The hourlong final airs at 6 March 30. Think NASCAR is everywhere? You're right. Not only are the rights to races being distributed internationally for the first time, but NASCAR announced this week it will air Winston Cup, Craftsman Truck and Busch series events to military personnel overseas on the Armed Forces Network.

QUOTABLE: XFL founder Vince McMahon, appearing Wednesday on HBO's On the Record with Bob Costas, said he isn't giving up on his creation, which drew a 2.4 national rating for Week 6 (more than two points below the expected average). "I'm pretty sure about the continuation of the XFL in one form or another. I think that our television ratings are going to build back I am not going to fail at the XFL."

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