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A Look Back at March Madness Ahead of the Tournament’s Final

After a wild win over Auburn to reach tonight’s title game, Virginia tries to complete their season of redemption. Last year Virginia became the first top seed to lose a first round game against one of the number 16 seeds. I wrote a review of the announcers after this year’s field was narrowed to 16 teams. Before a champion is crowned, it’s time to catch up on these last two weeks.

Unfortunately, Brian Anderson botched the call when Virginia tied Purdue at the end of their elite eight battle. Andrew Marchand wrote a great article about this, and the other top announcers who called sweet 16 action. Brian had to miss calling early season Brewers baseball because of the awkward schedules. This year’s opening day was March 28.

Like 2013, this year’s NCAA title game was scheduled for April 8. No NCAA basketball championship game has taken place later. For years we would have opening day on a Monday, and hours before the college championship game. This year, baseball teams opened before sweet 16 games. I’m not even counting the Mariners playing against Oakland in Japan days earlier.

Reggie Miller has a habit of jumping in on Kevin Harlan’s reads. His most recent comment reminded me of an exchange from earlier in the tournament. He interrupted one promo when Kevin was asking if people liked their sports news without the yelling and fake debates. That was for CBS Sports HQ. Reggie asked about people who want the yelling and fake debates. Harlan asked what Reggie was doing, as his read seemed to almost get sabotaged. He then told Miller that they could find it someplace else.

There were mixed reviews about how CBS handled the ending of Auburn and Virginia. Rules analyst Gene Steratore explained that a double dribble should have been called against the Cavaliers when Ty Jerome started a new dribble sequence after bouncing the ball off his foot. Game announcers did not comment about the blown call. Charles Barkley honestly stated that he didn’t even know this rule. Neither did I. Analysts said that officials just missed it, but I saw that play clearly.

People are either missing or ignoring the real story. I don’t think every official missed it. Instead, the men who were assigned to officiate this game and are considered to be top officials did not know the rule. Steratore used to officiate both basketball and football. There has been a recent trend of officials retiring for network jobs. The fear was that we would be left with inferior officials and the games could suffer. Sadly, it looks like this could be happening.

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