CBS and Turner Sports' high-flying NCAA Men's basketball coverage heads into the Final Four next weekend with big-name schools that should keep the ratings momentum rolling. Opening week of the tournament posted a 6.7 overnight household rating across CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV, the highest ever, B&C reported (subs. required). The third-round game between Wisconsin and Oregon on March 22 drew a truTV-record 3.5 million viewers, per B&C
Today the networks set out their schedules, including who will be calling the "homer" team-specific telecasts known this year as "Team Stream Presented by Bleacher Report."
Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Wisconsin will vie for the national championship in Indianapolis. TBS will air the NCAA Final Four National Semifinal games on Saturday, April 4, with game coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET (pre-game coverage starts at 3 p.m.). CBS will broadcast the National Championship on Monday, April 6, with pre-game coverage starting at 8:30 p.m. and the game tipping off at 9:18 p.m.
Saturday’s NCAA Final Four National Semifinals will feature Duke against Michigan State at 6:09 p.m. on TBS. Kentucky against Wisconsin will follow 40 minutes after the completion of the Duke/Michigan State game. Announcers are Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and reporter Tracy Wolfson. Nantz will be calling his 25th Final Four and National Championship, and this is the first time at the Big Dance for Hill and Raftery, the networks said.
Ernie Johnson will host the studio coverage with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith, plus Greg Gumbel and analysts Reggie Miller, Seth Davis, Steve Smith and college coaches.
Beyond the TBS’ Final Four National Semifinal game coverage, TNT and truTV will feature “Team Stream Presented by Bleacher Report” or team-specific presentations tailored to the schools participating in each game with lots of local bells and whistles.
Accompanying the live television coverage, NCAA March Madness Live will once again provide live streaming of the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals — including the Team Stream presentations — and the National Championship Game.
Team Stream commentator teams include:
“Duke Team Stream” on TNT at 6 p.m.:
- Tom Werme, play-by-play – Werme is a 20-year broadcasting veteran who has hosted the ACC Blitz and has provided commentary for the ACC Network, ACC Digital Network and Raycom Sports, among others.
- Alaa Abdelnaby, analyst – Abdelnaby is a former Duke standout that played for the Blue Devils from 1996-2000 and was All-ACC third team during his senior year. He is currently a CBS Sports Network studio analyst and commentator for Westwood One.
- Chris Spatola, reporter – Spatola is a former director of basketball operations at Duke and current CBS Sports Network commentator. He is also the son-in-law of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“Michigan State Team Stream” on truTV at 6 p.m.
- Brian Anderson, play-by-play – Anderson is a veteran and versatile Turner Sports commentator who has done play-by-play for leading properties such as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, NBA on TNT and MLB Postseason on TBS, among others. He has also previously called games for the Big Ten Network.
- Mateen Cleaves, analyst – A former Michigan State legend, Cleaves led the Spartans to an NCAA Championship in 2000 and was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Cleaves is the only three-time All-American is school history and was named Big Ten Player of the Year twice. Currently a studio analyst for CBS Sports Network, Cleaves’ Michigan State jersey was retired in 2007.
- Shireen Saski, reporter – a Michigan State alum, Saski is currently a CBS Sports Network reporter and has previously worked for the Big Ten Network. The veteran broadcaster has also been the recipient of three Michigan Emmy Awards, then working for Fox Sports Detroit.
“Kentucky Team Stream” on TNT (following first game)
- Dave Baker, play-by-play – Baker is a long-time sports broadcaster at WKYT in Lexington and television play-by-play commentator for UK/IMG’s University of Kentucky basketball coverage. He has spent more than two decades being involved with broadcasting events surrounding the Southeastern Conference.
- Rex Chapman, analyst – A former Kentucky star, Chapman was a two-time All-SEC player who helped lead the team to an SEC Championship and run to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 during his sophomore year. Chapman amassed more than 1,000 points in only two years at Kentucky, which was followed by a 12-year NBA career.
- Michael Eaves, reporter – a Kentucky alum, Eaves has previously covered University of Kentucky basketball extensively as a sports anchor, reporter and producer at WKYT in Lexington. He is currently an anchor and reporter for Al Jazeera America.
“Wisconsin Team Stream” on truTV (following first game)
- Wayne Larrivee, play-by-play – Larrivee is the radio play-by-play voice of the Green Bay Packers on the Packers Radio Network and has called college basketball for the Big Ten Network. He has also provided play-by-play for Westwood One during the NCAA Tournament.
- Mike Kelley, analyst – A former Wisconsin standout, Kelley helped guide the team to the Final Four in 2000 and, during his collegiate career, he helped lead the team to its best four-season win total in school history. Kelley was inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
- Phil Dawson, reporter – Dawson is host of the Badger Radio Network, as well as a talk show host in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.