Turner Sports and CBS Sports Announce Coverage Plans for 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaTBS to Present NCAA Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, April 4

CBS to Broadcast National Championship Game on Monday, April 6

TNT & truTV to Feature “Team Stream Presented by Bleacher Report”

Team Specific Coverage for National Semifinal Games

CBS Sports and Turner Sports will provide exclusive coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship from Indianapolis with Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Wisconsin competing for the national championship.  TBS will televise the NCAA Final Four National Semifinal games on Saturday, April 4, with game coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET.  The network will feature three hours of pre-game coverage beginning 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. Jim Nantz will call the action with analysts Grant Hill and Bill Raftery with reporter Tracy Wolfson.  Nantz will be calling his 25th Final Four and National Championship, with Hill and Raftery working the marquee event for the first time this year.

Ernie Johnson will host studio coverage from the Final Four and National Championship with analysts Charles BarkleyClark Kellogg and Kenny Smith – joined by Greg Gumbel and analysts Reggie MillerSeth DavisSteve Smith and college coaches.

In addition to 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. The inventive concept will continue to present the game with unprecedented local flavor including comprehensive team and player storylines, custom graphics, music, graphics and show packaging, additional cameras and team-centric replays, custom halftimes with school features and more.

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 names 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.


2015 NCAA Tournament Delivers Record-Setting Opening Week

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaNCAA Tournament Opening Week Generates Highest-Ever Overnight Television Ratings

NCAA March Madness Live Nets Record 54 Million Live Video Streams Through Sunday

The 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship continues to generate record-setting consumption across all multimedia platforms.  CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ exclusive coverage of the NCAA Tournament across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV is averaging a 6.7/14 overnight rating/share to register as the highest-ever rating for the event through the first Sunday (since the tournament expanded to its current television format in 1991). This year’s NCAA Tournament to date overnight rating (6.7/14) is up 6% compared to a 6.3/14 in 2014, based on Nielsen metered market ratings.

This weekend’s exclusive third round coverage delivered a 7.3/16 overnight rating/share, the highest rating for the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament in 22 years and a 7% increase over last year.

NCAA March Madness Live has also generated a record-setting 54 million live video streams through Sunday, a 7% increase over last year.  Additionally, NCAA March Madness Live has netted more than 11 million live hours of video consumption through the first week of the tournament, up 8% through the same period a year ago.

The NCAA Tournament has also grossed a record 108 million total social impressions across Facebook and Twitter through Sunday for a 40% increase over 2014.

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Arianna, Live +SD data stream. 3/17/15 – 3/22/15 vs. 3/18/15 – 3/23/15.   2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 averages based on weighted average of 4 telecast gross across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Historical audiences, CBS 1991 through 2005 based on Live data. Conviva, Adobe Analytics for digital metrics. Facebook Insights and Twitter for social analytics.


CBS Sports and Turner Sports Announce Tip Times and Commentator Teams for Regional Semifinals

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaExclusive Coverage Continues with Regional Semifinals on

Thursday, March 26, and Friday, March 27

Turner Sports and CBS Sports announce tip times, match-ups and commentator teams for its exclusive coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27, beginning at 7 p.m. ET with all games available in their entirety on TBS and CBS.  Coverage will begin both nights with the Infiniti NCAA Tip-Off pregame show at 6 p.m. on TBS.

The announce teams for the Regional Semifinals and Finals are as follows:


Jim Nantz/Bill Raftery/Grant Hill//Tracy Wolfson

Marv Albert/Chris Webber/Len Elmore//Lewis Johnson

Verne Lundquist/Jim Spanarkel//Allie LaForce

Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner//Rachel Nichols

Studio coverage will continue with Greg Gumbel hosting alongside analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York with Doug Gottlieb contributing.  Ernie Johnson will host studio coverage from Turner Studios in Atlanta with analysts Steve Smith, Seth Davis and guest analyst and current Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter. 

This year’s Final Four National Semifinals on Saturday, April 4, will be televised on TBS along with team-specific telecasts airing on TNT and truTV.  The National Championship Game on Monday, April 6, will air on CBS.

Regional Semifinals – Thursday, March 26

(Beginning at 7 p.m. ET)


Tip Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
7:15 p.m. CBS Cleveland I Notre Dame vs. Wichita State Marv Albert/Chris Webber/Len Elmore//Lewis Johnson
7:47 p.m. TBS Los Angeles I North Carolina vs. Wisconsin/Oregon Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner//Rachel Nichols
After Conc. I CBS Cleveland II Kentucky vs. West Virginia/Maryland Albert/Webber/Elmore//Johnson
After Conc. I TBS Los Angeles II Arizona vs. Xavier Harlan/Miller/Bonner//Nichols
Regional Semifinals – Friday, March 27

(Beginning at 7 p.m. ET)

Tip Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
7:15 p.m. CBS Houston I Gonzaga vs. UCLA Jim Nantz/Bill Raftery/Grant Hill//Tracy Wolfson
7:37 p.m. TBS Syracuse I Louisville/Northern Iowa vs. N.C. State Verne Lundquist/Jim Spanarkel//Allie LaForce
After Conc. I CBS Houston II Duke vs. Utah Nantz/Raftery/Hill//Wolfson
After Conc. I TBS Syracuse II Michigan State vs. Oklahoma Lundquist/Spanarkel//LaForce

Follow us on Twitter: @MarchMadnessTV and NCAA.com for schedule updates and the latest NCAA Tournament broadcast news and information.


CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ Exclusive Coverage of the 2015 NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Tips Off March 17

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaAnnounce Teams Set for NCAA Tournament First and Second Round Coverage

Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will tip off with the NCAA First Four™ on truTV presented by Northwestern Mutual on Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18 (6 p.m. ET; both days). Second round game coverage will begin Thursday, March 19, and Friday, March 20 (Noon-Midnight; both days) with all 67 games available live in their entirety across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – and via NCAA March Madness Live. Additionally, truTV will televise a one-hour pregame show Thursday and Friday at 11 a.m.

Following are the tip times and commentator assignments for the first and second round games. Tip times for the third round games on Saturday will be announced on Thursday after the conclusion of the day’s games. Sunday’s tip times will be released after the conclusion of play on Friday.

The Final Four on Saturday, April 4, will be televised on TBS along with “TeamCasts” or team-specific telecasts airing on TNT and truTV.  The National Championship Game on Monday, April 6, will air on CBS.

First Round Games

Tuesday, March 17


Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton I Manhattan vs. Hampton Brian Anderson/Steve Smith//Lewis Johnson
After conc. I truTV Dayton II BYU vs. Ole Miss Anderson/Smith//Johnson

First Round Games

Wednesday, March 18

6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton I North Florida vs.

Robert Morris

Ian Eagle/Doug Gottlieb//Evan Washburn
After conc. I truTV Dayton II Boise St. vs. Dayton Eagle/Gottlieb//Washburn

Second Round Games
Thursday Afternoon, March 19 (Noon- 6 p.m. ET)


Tip (ET)










12:15 p.m. CBS Pittsburgh I Notre Dame vs. Northeastern Brian Anderson/Steve Smith//Lewis Johnson
12:40 p.m. truTV Louisville I Iowa State vs. UAB Verne Lundquist/Jim Spanarkel//Allie LaForce
1:40 p.m. TBS Jacksonville I Baylor vs. Georgia State Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas//Jamie Erdahl
2:10 p.m. TNT Portland I Arizona vs. Texas Southern Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner//Rachel Nichols
After conc. I CBS Pittsburgh II Butler vs. Texas Anderson/Smith//Johnson
After conc. I truTV Louisville II SMU vs. UCLA Lundquist/Spanarkel//LaForce
After conc. I TBS Jacksonville II Xavier vs. BYU/Ole Miss Catalon/Lappas//Erdahl
After conc. I TNT Portland II VCU vs. Ohio State Harlan/Miller/Bonner//Nichols

Second Round Games

Thursday Evening, March 19 (6:30 p.m. ET-Midnight)

(Announce Teams Same as Day Games)


Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:50 p.m. TBS Pittsburgh III Villanova vs. Lafayette Anderson/Smith//Johnson
7:10 p.m. CBS Louisville III Cincinnati vs. Purdue Lundquist/Spanarkel//LaForce
7:20 p.m. TNT Jacksonville III North Carolina vs. Harvard Catalon/Lappas//Erdahl
7:27 p.m. truTV Portland III Utah vs. Stephen F. Austin Harlan/Miller/Bonner//Nichols
After conc. III TBS Pittsburgh IV N.C. State vs. LSU Anderson/Smith//Johnson
After conc. III CBS Louisville IV Kentucky vs. Hampton/Manhattan Lundquist/Spanarkel//LaForce
After conc. III TNT Jacksonville IV Arkansas vs. Wofford Catalon/Lappas//Erdahl
After conc. III truTV Portland IV Georgetown vs.

Eastern Washington


Second Round Games

Friday Afternoon, March 20 (Noon-6 p.m. ET)


Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
12:15 p.m. CBS Omaha I Kansas vs. New Mexico St Marv Albert/Chris Webber/Len Elmore//Craig Sager
12:40 p.m. truTV Charlotte I Michigan State vs. Georgia Jim Nantz/Bill Raftery/Grant Hill//Tracy Wolfson
1:40 p.m. TBS Seattle I Northern Iowa vs. Wyoming Spero Dedes/Mike Gminski//Jaime Maggio
2:10 p.m. TNT Columbus I West Virginia vs. Buffalo Ian Eagle/Doug Gottlieb//Evan Washburn
After conc. I CBS Omaha II Wichita State vs. Indiana Albert/Webber/Elmore//Sager
After conc. I truTV Charlotte II Virginia vs. Belmont Nantz/Raftery/Hill//Wolfson
After conc. I TBS Seattle II Louisville vs. UC Irvine Dedes/Gminski//Maggio
After conc. I TNT Columbus II Maryland vs. Valparaiso Eagle/Gottlieb//Washburn

Second Round Games

Friday Evening, March 20 (6:30 p.m.-Midnight ET)

(Announce Teams Same as Day Games)

Tip (ET) Network Site Game Play-by-Play/Analyst//Reporter
6:50 p.m. TBS Omaha III Oregon vs. Oklahoma St. Albert/Webber/Elmore//Sager
7:10 p.m. CBS Charlotte III Duke vs. North Florida vs. Robert Morris Nantz/Raftery/Hill//Wolfson
7:20 p.m. TNT Seattle III Iowa vs. Davidson Dedes/Gminski//Maggio
7:27 p.m. truTV Columbus III Oklahoma vs. Albany Eagle/Gottlieb//Washburn
After conc. III TBS Omaha IV Wisconsin vs. Coastal Carolina Albert/Webber/Elmore//Sager
After conc. III CBS Charlotte IV San Diego State vs.

St. John’s

After conc. III TNT Seattle IV Gonzaga vs.

North Dakota St.

After conc. III truTV Columbus IV Providence vs. Boise State/Dayton Eagle/Gottlieb//Washburn

Follow us on Twitter: @MarchMadnessTV for schedule updates and the latest NCAA Tournament broadcast news and information.



Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage ­ Thursday, March 12, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, March 12, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue on Tuesday, March 24 with a doubleheader featuring the San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com 

Matt Winer, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Steve Smith

K. Smith on the Cavaliers path to the Eastern Conference Finals: “Their route got easier if [Bulls point guard] Derrick Rose doesn’t’ come back  [from injury]. Overall the Bulls are the team that could match up to the Cavaliers talent wise. Chicago has Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah – three All-Stars. How many teams have three All-Stars when their best player is out?”

K. Smith on how the Cavaliers would match up against the West: “Whoever comes out of the Western Conference is going to be the favorite. They will have experience, coaching and talent. All the elements Cleveland is looking to have…they will have them.”

O’Neal on the Cavs since the All-Star break: “Ever since LeBron took those nine games off, the Cavaliers are starting to gel. [Guard] J.R. Smith is starting to play like the J.R. of old. He’s more focused. If they get on a little roll in the postseason they should be the favorites in the East.”

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Memphis Grizzlies (87) @ Washington Wizards (107)
Marv Albert (play-by-play) Mike Fratello (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

Fratello on the Grizzlies’ recent slump: “That’s because of lack of practice. This time of year when you’re not practicing a lot, you get game slippage. All you need is one good day of practice, and it’s amazing how it comes back.”  

Fratello on Grizzlies guard Vince Carter: “They know that Vince Carter needs minutes on the floor. This is a rehab period to get him healthy.”

Fratello on Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos: “He has really improved. This is the case of a lot of hard work, understanding the game, getting better, realizing what you can do as a big man in the NBA.”

Fratello on Grizzlies forward/center Jarnell Stokes: “I like Stokes. He has some toughness about him, hangs in there and has done some good things. It seems like he has a very high basketball IQ.”

Fratello on Wizards center Kevin Seraphin: “I liked him when he was first in the league. I thought he had a big upside. I thought he could be a post-up guy on a regular basis, could rebound the basketball and protect the rim. He hasn’t developed as far as I thought he might at this point.”

Fratello on the Wizards quick start to the 2014-15 season: “Everybody knew they had a soft schedule and lot of home games in the beginning. They weren’t tricking those who follow basketball. It all eventually caught up to them.”

Fratello on the growth of the Wizards over the past two seasons: “[Wizards head coach] Randy Wittman went through the tough years in Washington with young players. Eventually there was a point when he decided they needed to add veteran guys. Nene, [Marcin] Gortat and [Rasual] Butler came in…guys with experience, who have been in the playoffs. Then this team really turned around.”

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Cleveland Cavaliers (128) @ San Antonio Spurs (125) in Overtime
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Charles Barkley and Chris Webber (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Barkley on Cavaliers center Timofey Mosgov: “This kid is the reason the Cavaliers are now contenders. They were too small, and he is a legit seven-footer. Mosgov and [power forward] Kevin Love fit great together.”   

Webber on Kyrie Irving’s 57-point game: “LeBron loves having some help. He is letting Kyrie do his thing, but could take over at any time.”

Barkley on Cavaliers center/forward Tristan Thompson: “He’s the best offensive rebounder in the NBA.”

Barkley on the matchups between LeBron James/Kawi Leonard and Kyrie Irving/Tony Parker: “How often do you get the four best players in a game guarding each other on both ends of the court? It’s pretty cool to watch.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers’ playoff picture: “They are playing in the East, which gives them an advantage. If the Cavs were in the West, they would have no chance. I don’t think they could win three seven-game series in the Western Conference. With a shorter bench, the Cavaliers can survive because they are in the East.”

Barkley on whether this game is an NBA Finals preview: “These two teams know they could actually play each other in The Finals. It’s impossible to play hard for 82 games, but when you face a really great player or team, your intensity goes through the roof. That’s what we are seeing from the Cavaliers and Spurs.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers offense: “The problem with the Cavs’ game is their half-court offense. They don’t get easy baskets.”

Webber on power forward Kevin Love in the fourth quarter: “The fact that Love is averaging only two points in the fourth quarter, I worry about that coming into the playoffs. You are going to need him to be engaged and get him involved in the fourth.”

Barkley on Kyrie Irving’s 57-point game: “The Spurs just need to shake Kyrie’s hand and say ‘you were better than me tonight,’ because he is making some shots that are ridiculous.”

Barkley on Kyrie Irving’s performance: “This is one of the best individual performances I’ve ever seen. He is making tough shots. It’s not like he’s been wide open.”

Webber on the Cavaliers heading into the postseason: “They are right where they want to be. They feel it, they have their chemistry going and their two leaders are hot like fish grease.”

Webber on the Spurs’ up and down season:  “They started out the season well, with wins on the road against teams like the Grizzlies and the Clippers. Then they had some injuries and tough times in the middle, but they have regained their identity.”

Barkley on the importance of point guard Tony Parker to the Spurs: “Tony Parker has been the best point guard in the NBA for the past five years. Guys like Marco Belinelli, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili need Tony Parker to be dominant. He is the guy who makes everything go.”

Barkley on the Spurs getting healthy and playing well at the right time: “We don’t really know what the Spurs are. This is the first time all season that [point guard] Tony Parker and [forward] Kawhi Leonard have been on the floor together in a while [due to injuries]. The next month is going to be interesting for San Antonio.”

Barkley on Kawhi Leonard: “I love his competitiveness. This kid is beautiful to watch.”

Webber on the aggressiveness of Leonard: “We always hear the word aggressive. Aggressive for Leonard means forcing the issue until he can score or pass. He keeps going.”

Barkley on the Spurs playoff picture: “What is interesting about the Western Conference is the Spurs could lose three games in a row and be the No. 7 seed. They are finally getting healthy, but are they going to have enough left in the tank to win three series on the road? I don’t think any team in the West could beat three really good teams in a seven-game series on the road.”

Webber on the Spurs success in March: “They are gearing up for another championship run. They play this time of year to get where they want to be at the end of the road.”

Barkley on Spurs veteran Tim Duncan: “He’s the greatest power forward ever. To be 39 years old and this excited for a regular season game is pretty cool.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Winer, O’Neal, K. Smith, S. Smith

K. Smith on the Cavaliers victory over the Spurs: “The Spurs didn’t lose this game; the Cavs won it. Typically you lose games like this because you turn the ball over or make a bad decision. I didn’t think any decision they made was bad. All of the sudden the Cavaliers came and grabbed the bull by the horns. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving made some spectacular plays.”

S. Smith on Kawhi Leonard missing two free throws in the fourth: “When you have a chance to seal it, you are supposed to be that guy and they want to hand you the throne in San Anthonio…you have to make one [of the two free-throws]. The game was fabulous, but you have to make one. You send the Cavs home if you just make one.”

Visit the Turner Sports online press room for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR


CBS Sports and Turner Sports Announce 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Commentator Team

cbs-tnt-tbs-ncaaGrant Hill & Bill Raftery Join Jim Nantz & Tracy Wolfson

to Call Final Four and National Championship

Chris Webber, Steve Lappas and Steve Smith Added as Game Analysts

Mateen Cleaves Joins March Madness Studio Team

Turner Sports and CBS Sports will feature a collection of marquee commentators for its fifth consecutive year of combined coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.  CBS Sports and Turner Sports will once again provide live, full national coverage of all 67 tournament games across four networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – as well as NCAA March Madness Live, beginning Tuesday, March 17, with the NCAA First Four on truTV presented by Northwestern Mutual.

This year’s NCAA Final Four National Semifinals from Indianapolis will be televised Saturday, April 4, on TBS with team-specific “TeamCast” coverage available via TNT and truTV.  The National Championship will air Monday, April 6, on CBS.

The networks’ commentator lineup includes several new roles for this year’s coverage:

  • Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will provide game analysis with play-by-play commentator Jim Nantz and reporter Tracy Wolfson throughout the NCAA Tournament, including their first time calling the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship on television.
  • Chris Webber, Steve Lappas and Steve Smith will contribute to the networks’ tournament coverage as game analysts for the first time this year.  Webber will join play-by-play commentator Marv Albert, analyst Len Elmore and reporter Craig Sager during the first two weeks of the tournament.  Lappas will team with Andrew Catalon and reporter Jamie Erdahl, while Smith will pair with play-by-play commentator Brian Anderson and reporter Lewis Johnson throughout the first week of the tournament.
  • Mateen Cleaves will be a studio analyst, joined by host Matt Winer and analyst Seth Davis from Turner Studios in Atlanta.

Ernie Johnson will once again host studio coverage from the Final Four and National Championship with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith. They will be joined by Greg Gumbel with analysts Reggie Miller, Seth Davis, Steve Smith and college coaches.

Gumbel and Johnson will host studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York during the first full week of the tournament, with Johnson hosting studio coverage from Atlanta during the second week of tournament action.  Steve Smith will also join the studio team in Atlanta following the opening week while Doug Gottlieb joins studio coverage from New York.

Following is the complete list of announcer pairings:

Play-by-Play / Analyst // Reporter

* Regional Weekend Announce Teams

Jim Nantz / Bill Raftery / Grant Hill // Tracy Wolfson*

Marv Albert / Chris Webber / Len Elmore // Craig Sager*

Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce*

Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner // Rachel Nichols*

Ian Eagle / Doug Gottlieb // Evan Washburn

Brian Anderson / Steve Smith // Lewis Johnson

Spero Dedes / Mike Gminski // Jaime Maggio

Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // Jamie Erdahl

The tournament will tip off Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18, with the NCAA First Four on truTV presented by Northwestern MutualBrian Anderson will call Tuesday’s games with analyst Steve Smith and reporter Lewis JohnsonIan Eagle will handle play-by-play on Wednesday alongside analyst Gottlieb and reporter Evan Washburn.  Studio coverage for the First Four will originate from Atlanta with Winer and analysts Davis, Cleaves and Wally Szczerbiak.

Accompanying the live television presentation, NCAA March Madness Live will once again be the ultimate digital destination for direct access to all 67 games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.


Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

nba-on-tntTNT’s NBA coverage will continue Thursday, March 5, with a doubleheader featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m. 

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com 

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith



 O’Neal on whether Cavaliers vs. Warriors is a potential NBA Finals preview: “A lot of people say, ‘W e’re only concentrating on our conference,’ but I guarantee you the Cavs are looking at what Golden State is doing. They realize they could play this team in The Finals. One team tonight is going to play to send a message to the other. I’m going to be looking for the intensity from both teams.”

Smith on Warriors point guard Stephen Curry as an MVP candidate: “Right now, Stephen Curry is the MVP. He has the longevity, but there is a guy coming like a bullet named Russell Westbrook.”

Barkley on Curry: “I love Stephen Curry, but he’s not the MVP. The MVP is [Rockets guard] James Harden.”

  Barkley on the Cleveland Cavaliers: “I think the Cavaliers are the team to beat now…because of the Derrick Rose injury, the Cavs are the front-runner in the Eastern Conference.”  

Smith on the Cavaliers-Warriors matchup: “This is going to be the true test. We’ll see if they are the best team in the East. This is a litmus test game. This is one of the games that you look at on our schedule and say, ‘We are championship contenders,’ or this is when you make substitutions and changes because you aren’t good enough yet. This is a real statement game for both teams.”


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Golden State Warriors (99) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (110)

Marv Albert (play-by-play) Chris Webber (analyst) with Allie LaForce (reporter) 



 Webber on Warriors forward Draymond Green: “The heart and soul of this team is Draymond Green. He is their best defender and their toughest guy. Having him on the floor is great for the Warriors.” 

Webber on Warriors center Andrew Bogut: “Bogut may be one of the best passers in the NBA. He loves to pass and gets everyone involved.”

Webber on All-Star point guards Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving: “You love seeing two point guards with so many skill sets, that get their teammates involved and don’t just play super hero ball. It’s a pleasure to watch.”

Webber on head coach Steve Kerr’s eighth technical foul of the season: “That’s just him putting his imprint on his team.”

Webber on Warriors sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson: “I know these are the Splash Brothers, but they can score in the intermediate area, they can score with layups and they play defense. It’s not just a three-point scoring team. You can tell by the effort of this team against the Cavaliers.”

   Webber on Cavaliers forward LeBron James: “He is so strong, he can’t be stopped inside and his vision is wonderful.” 

Webber on James as an MVP candidate:  “This is what’s scary for the rest of the NBA; while we have all of those other MVP candidates out there, they still better remember who the man is. When he is coming out this aggressively in games, like he will the rest of the season, he is tough to guard.”

Webber on the Cavaliers in the second half of the NBA season: “This team is getting their mojo back.”

Webber on Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving: “[Warriors point guard] Stephen Curry is the best ball handler of any shooter in the NBA, but Kyrie Irving is the best ball handler in the game…period.”

Webber on LeBron James: “I hope we never stop appreciating what he brings to the game. He brought the game back to a level where it was about the best player being part of a team, instead of the best player being the hero with his team just joining him. You have to love the way he gets his teammates involved. He loves to see them succeed.”

Webber on Cavaliers reserve power forward Tristan Thompson: “He gets the crowd involved as a role player for this team. He isn’t a starter, yet he is second in the league in total rebounds. When you have an energy guy coming in, whether in the playoffs or regular season, and they do their jobs like Thompson does, it helps so much. Not only do you get extra possessions, he gives extra energy to the crowd. It also pumps the players up.”

Webber on the rhythm of LeBron James in the second half: “When he starts off bullying, going to the paint, getting shots that he loves and getting his players involved, he seems to open up in the second half because he already has a great rhythm. Those shots are easy for him to knock down.”

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Oklahoma City (113) @ Phoenix Suns (117) in Overtime

Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Reggie Miller (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter) 



 Miller on the dominant performance of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook after the All-Star break: “To show leadership is one thing, but the dominance he has shown in the month of February, averaging almost a triple double with Kevin Durant out and a quarter of his roster new from the trades.  There is a reason why he’s in the MVP discussion.”

Webber on the Thunder’s acquisition of center Enes Kanter before the trade deadline: “It was a great pick up to get Kanter. Now you have two young centers [Kanter and Steven Adams] to use with your superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. You couldn’t tell [recently traded center] Kendrick Perkins to go down and get a bucket, he was more of a defensive guy. You can do that with Kanter.”

Miller on how the Thunder are building their franchise: “I love everything that is going on with the Thunder and their organization. The two words they always talk about are commitment and sacrifice. That’s how they want to build the base of their franchise. They are trying to build through players that are going to be molded to play the way the Thunder approach and play the game.”

Miller on Russell Westbrook: “Have we ever seen a point guard that can attack the lane like Russell Westbrook? Maybe Derrick Rose before his injury.”

Miller on Westbrook as an MVP candidate: “There are 25 games left. Let’s say the Thunder go 20-5, get 52 wins and up to that sixth seed. Is that enough for him to win MVP, if he’s still playing like this?”

Miller on Thunder guard D.J. Augustin:  “This is a guy who understands his role and can knock down shots.”

   Miller on Suns point guard Brandon Knight: “Brandon Knight is going to be a great addition to this team. Playing with [guard] Eric Bledsoe, he is going to be ball dominant. Even though he is a point guard, he is more of a scoring point guard. He can catch and shoot.”

Miller on the Suns recent trade of Goran Dragic to the Heat: “Dragic wanted to leave once the Suns signed [point guard] Isaiah Thomas. He felt a little threatened because of the competition, for whatever reason.”

Miller on the impressive rebounding of the Suns: “I am shocked how the smaller Phoenix Suns are beating up on the Thunder off the offensive glass. The Thunder are normally the best rebounding team in the NBA…and it’s not even close.”

Miller on the Suns lack of a closer: “Who is the closer for Phoenix? Who is the guy that you can just put the ball in his hands to get you a bucket?”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith



 Smith on Russell Westbrook taking 38 shots in the Thunder’s loss to the Suns: “Too much Russell. He is playing unbelievable basketball, but he took 38 shots tonight. No one else got into an offensive flow to help them win against Phoenix.”

Barkley on Westbrook: “You can be a good player, you can even be a really good player, but you can’t become a great player until you learn how to make the guys around you better. When you are as explosive as Russell Westbrook is, you can take 38 shots a night, because you can get a shot every time down the court. However, he should say, ‘I’m going to get Ibaka a shot, I’m going to get Kanter a shot, I’m going to get Dion Waiters a shot.’ Just because you can get a shot doesn’t mean you should take it every time. It will make it easier on him.”

Smith: “Westbrook abandoned the game plan tonight. What he needs to realize is when they lose, they should still lose a certain way. He really put himself in a position to lose. He didn’t put himself in a position to win.”

O’Neal: “This guy can really play, but he has to utilize his help some more. Every time Kevin Durant is out there, he utilizes Durant as help. Westbrook can get his when Durant is not out there, but he needs to utilize his talents to draw defenders so he can kick it out to his teammates.”

   Barkley on the Cavaliers as a postseason team: “This is still basically a brand new team. Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and Timofey Mozgov haven’t been deep in the playoffs. LeBron James is the best player in the world, and the addition of Mozgov changed the team. They went from a small team to a big team. Then Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith gave them some athleticism around the perimeter. They are now the only team in the Eastern Conference that you would be afraid of [in the postseason].”


 Smith on the Atlanta Hawks: “We thought it was a three-team race, but now two teams are clearly ahead. Toronto is still in the boat, but they don’t have as many paddles as Atlanta or Cleveland. The one thing we haven’t seen is Atlanta in duress, in a playoff situation, seven games, meeting the same person over 10 nights and the same person is Super Man, LeBron James.”

O’Neal on the Eastern Conference Finals: “I think it’s going to be Atlanta and Cleveland as the last two teams in the East.”

Visit the Turner Sports online press room for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR


Inside Sports Illustrated 2.4.15


Tom Brady Does it Again – This Time In Comeback Fashion

NEW YORK, NY (February 4, 2015) ­– This week’s Sports Illustrated features Super Bowl Champions: The New England Patriots and QB Tom Brady with a recap by Greg Bishop. With the big game in the rearview, SI offers a look at the needs and wants of all 32 teams, plus a list of the 40 best free agents available in an NFL Off-Season Preview. Pete Thamel analyzes how Western Michigan’s coach P.J. Fleck excels in the cutthroat game of recruiting. Watch out, Billy Goat: Joe Maddon is ready to change things up. Tom Verducci profiles the new face of the Chicago Cubs.

Also in this issue, NASCAR’s Kyle Larson just might provide the fresh air that the all-American sport needs, while Alan Shipnuck dives into the brash and controversial life of professional golfer Patrick Reed. Luke Winn analyzes John Calipari’s efficient and top-ranked defense at Kentucky and Ben Reiter examines New York Rangers’ Rick Nash and his rediscovered puck luck. Shipnuck also introduces us to Toronto Raptors’ GM Masai Uriri who leads with perseverance, integrity and generosity thanks to the influence of his hero, Nelson Mandela, and SI presents Athletes to Watch in 2015, from tennis and soccer to swimming and track, they’re poised to grab our attention.

Greg Bishop: ELATED

The lead-up to the Patriots-Seahawks defied logic (and maybe science). The game itself reversed the laws of probability (and maybe play-calling). But after an instant-classic win, this can’t be questioned: the place Tom Brady and the Pats hold in history. A game full of suspense, fantastic performances and questionable calls stands as perhaps the biggest feather yet in New England’s cap.

Pete Thamel: No Grind, No Glory

A day in the life of Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck shows what is takes to excel at the game of recruiting – mounds of caffeine, deep connections and an unmatched enthusiasm for the sport. The youngest coach in the FBS has changed WMU from an afterthought school to one that is hot on the recruiting trail and a force on the field. Orchestrating the biggest turnaround in school history, Fleck knows that to capture a recruit he needs enthusiasm, sincerity and a routine that is anything but monotonous. Although it seems to be working so far, Fleck understands that every day is a new one and new tricks are required.

Tom Verducci: This Is the…

…Year?! Savior?! Last we’ll ever hear of Billy Goats?! Whatever it is, it’s exciting. Welcome to Joe Maddon’s Chicago. Optimism as big as Maddon’s is rare for a team that has been so bad for so long, but Maddon – along with Vegas oddsmakers – has the Cubs going far this year. There are many questions swirling around them and as the season approaches, some fans believe this could be the year they win it all. Armed with a solid core of returning players and a slew of free-agent signings, the time of wishful thinking is past. To Maddon, this is the season of winning.

“After he was hired, I went to dinner with him at his restaurant in Tampa. I was blown away. He flat-out told me, ‘The reason I’m coming here is to win the World Series. There’s no sense aiming for anything lower.’”- Anthony Rizzo, Cubs first baseman

“Maddon is so engaging, you find yourself sitting up a little more, leaning forward in your chair a little more, your mind is going a little faster and you want to make him laugh. You want to rise to his level of energy, intellect and accomplishment. I think he has that effect on players. They want to match his energy and offer him ideas.”- Marie Epstein, wife of Theo Epstein, president

Andrew Lawrence: Fresh Face in the Race

Poised to challenge racing’s reigning old guard, 22-year-old Kyle Larson is already attracting new fans to NASCAR – at a time when the sport badly needs a boost. With four DNF’s in the past, Larson has come a long way from where he was. Despite winning Rookie of the Year Honors, he knows there is a ways to go. NASCAR is in the midst of a changing of the guard and as it stands, Larson is set to lead the new crop of youngsters as they look to shake up the Sprint Cup ranks in the years to come.

Alan Shipnuck: Dream Team

Brash? Absolutely. Controversial? No doubt. Patrick Reed has been deemed the bad guy and has certainly paid for it. Putting aside past relationships, college controversies and a near-death experience involving his wife Justine, the 24-year-old golfer now looks to pair his maturation and internal drive to continue a winning resume that includes four Tour events – a feat accomplished by only an elite few. With the help of the fearless Justine, Reed battled for his Tour card the hard way and has already shown he has the game to back up his ambition.

“I don’t want to be the bad guy; I just want people to realize how passionate and how determined I am and how much love I have for the game of golf.” – Reed

“When he came out he was a little mean, he was a little too confident. He’s still confident, but now he does it in a nice way. I could learn a lot from him as a player and as a person.” – Bubba Watson

Luke Winn: The Deep Blue D

Kentucky is littered with NBA first-round talent, but the Wildcats aren’t focused on offense. Rather, coach John Calipari and the Cats have put together the best defensive team in the nation – possibly in history – en route to holding an undefeated record and a no.1 seed. As the Big Dance approaches Kentucky has mastered defensive schemes and formed a substitution method that sacrifices nothing while costing opponents everything. Their defense is oppressive, their energy is never ending, and as the season continues, we just might see history being made.

“[They are] the best defensive team I’ve seen in the last 20 years, in terms of the way they get over screens, and the physicality of the way they play, the way they block shots.”- Rick Pitino, Louisville head coach

“The only film we watch is 10 clips during the pregame meal. It’s all about effort and energy. It’s about you versus him, like, I’m not going to let him make his name off me.”- Calipari

Ben Reiter: Goals in Bulk

Rick Nash had the Rangers playing for their first Stanley Cup in 20 years, but lost his puck touch when it mattered most. Now the proven scorer, who combines small-man skills with a big-man frame, is working to put the Rangers back in the Cup discussion. Nash went scoreless in three of New York’s four playoff series and scored only three times in 25 postseason games last season. He was booed by New York fans as it seemed he may have lost his ability to score. This year, thanks to improved fitness and health he is on pace for his first 50-goal season and possibly an MVP award.

“He knew how to play in tight spots. Now, he’s 6’4” [but] playing a little man’s game, stickhandling in small areas. We watched him develop from not a very big kid into a monster.” – Mark Hunter, GM of the London Knights, Canadian Hockey League

“It’s unbelievably unique in the NHL, that combo. He is a power forward, but he’s a different type of power forward– a power forward with great skill. Usually [power forwards] will bull through you. He doesn’t. – Doug MacLean, Blue Jackets GM

Alan Shipnuck: ‘He Lifts Us All’

Like his hero, Nelson Mandela, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri leads by example, with perseverance, integrity and generosity. His approach has resulted in a team that has captured the Toronto fan base, as well as a brighter future for his fellow Africans. The Raptors have become the most beloved team in the staunchest of hockey towns and it’s not by accident; Ujiri commands respect and treats everyone in the organization with honesty. His players sing his praises as he has built chemistry like no other, while holding each player accountable for success. So far it’s working, as Ujiri’s team is playing before sellout crowds and is possibly a title contender.

“You can’t buy this kind of goodwill in the community. Masai is the perfect ambassador for what we’re trying to accomplish here. In many ways he’s become the face of the franchise.”- Ujiri’s boss, Tim Leiweke, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

“You don’t hear thank you a lot in this business, so I always remembered that. We had exchanged emails, but I assumed I would never hear from him. I was wrong. That’s one of Masai’s strengths: He reaches out.”- NBA Trainer David Thorpe

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage ­ Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Tip-Off Presented by AutoTrader.com – Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

2015 NBA All-Star Reserves Exclusively Announced on TNT

TNT is the exclusive home of extensive live NBA All-Star coverage including all of the marquee events from New York. Programming highlights include the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13; State Farm All-Star Saturday Night featuring the Degree Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 14; and the 2015 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith

Western Conference All-Star reserves:

James Harden Houston Rockets
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City Thunder
LaMarcus Aldridge

Tim Duncan

Chris Paul

Portland Trail Blazers

San Antonio Spurs

Los Angeles Clippers

Barkley on Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins being left off the Western Conference All-Star team: “DeMarcus Cousins deserved to make the All-Star team…the kid is a hell of a player.”

Barkley on Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard: “I have a serious problem with Damian Lillard not making this team. That’s really not fair. I love [Thunder forward] Kevin Durant, but he hasn’t played enough games. This isn’t a lifetime achievement award. Lillard is having a terrific year.”

Barkley on Thunder forward Kevin Durant making the All-Star team: “Kevin Durant is the second best player in the world, but he has not played enough games to be an All-Star.”

Smith on Durant: “We all know he’s an All-Star. He’s an MVP. However, there is validity to [basing All-Star selections] off of the amount of games they’ve played and the type of season they are having to this point. Damian Lillard and DeMarcus Cousins have played well enough in the games that they’ve played this season to be on this list. I believe in Kevin Durant, but 21 games isn’t enough.”

Barkley on the two Thunder players, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, making the All-Star team: “If the playoffs started today, the Thunder wouldn’t be in it…and they get two All-Stars? That’s not right.”

O’Neal on choosing All-Stars based on individual accomplishments: “All-Star is singular. [Kings center DeMarcus] Cousins is an All-Star, he’s playing like an All-Star, and like the best center in the league. His feelings are hurt and my feelings are hurt for him. He definitely got snubbed today.”

Smith on choosing between Western Conference point guards Damian Lillard and Chris Paul: “Damian Lillard is having a better year than Chris Paul. Lillard got snubbed when he was left off of the USA Men’s Basketball team, and now the All-Star team.”

Smith on Rockets center Dwight Howard missing the All-Star team for the first time in eight years: “It’s because of injuries. He’s been hurt, and hasn’t played enough games consistently to say he’s an All-Star. He is arguably one of the top two centers in the league. For the same reason we said ‘no Kevin Durant,’ they said ‘no Dwight Howard.’ Also, the Rockets won games while Howard wasn’t there.”

Eastern Conference All-Star reserves:

Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers
Chris Bosh Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler Chicago Bulls
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
Paul Millsap

Jeff Teague

Dwyane Wade

Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat

Smith on who was snubbed in the East: “The guys I feel for in the East are [Milwaukee Bucks point guard] Brandon Knight and [Atlanta Hawks shooting guard] Kyle Korver.”

Barkley on Heat veteran Dwyane Wade as an Eastern Conference All-Star: “Dwyane Wade shouldn’t have made the All-Star team. He is a Hall of Famer, but he didn’t deserve to be an All-Star this year. [Heat center Chris] Bosh has been the best player for Miami this year.  Brandon Knight in Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings in Detroit or Kyle Korver in Atlanta should have been rewarded for having good seasons. This might be the only time Knight, Jennings or Korver have a chance to make the All-Star team. I always give the edge to guys who are winning. Dwyane Wade is not having an All-Star year.”

Barkley on why Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver deserves to be an All-Star: “I always give the edge to guys who are winning. I would fine guys who left him wide open if I coached a team. Even if you have to hold his hand, don’t leave him shoot.”

O’Neal on Wizards center Marcin Gortat: “I think Marcin Gortat got snubbed. I think he is having a wonderful year. Washington is playing very well, and he is a vital part of that.”

Barkley on naming veteran stars to the All-Star teams over players having better years: “We all know who used to be great, but you can’t keep rewarding guys for what they used to be.”

Barkley on whether Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving or Bucks point guard Brandon Knight deserved to be an All-Star more: “Kyrie is incredible. Irving is a better all-around player, but for the first half of the season, Brandon Knight was better. He lifted his team to greater heights.”

Notes from NBA on TNT Coverage – Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

TNT’s NBA coverage will continue on Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. ET with a doubleheader featuring the Los Angeles Clippers @ Cleveland Cavaliers followed by the Phoenix Suns @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m.


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Denver Nuggets (69) @ Memphis Grizzlies (99)
Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Reggie Miller (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)


Miller on the Memphis Grizzlies: “Even before they went out and got [forward] Jeff Green, I thought this team was the best in the West. They have a great floor general in [point guard] Mike Conley and two bigs down low in [center] Marc Gasol and [power forward] Zach Randolph who pound the paint. They are tough to beat.”

Miller on Grizzlies All-Star center Marc Gasol: “I think what Marc Gasol does at both ends, as well as his passing ability, really separates him from the other centers in the league.”

Miller on Memphis forward Tony Allen: “This is why the Memphis Grizzlies are a special team. Tony Allen had been the starter on this team for the past few years, through all their success. When they went out and got Jeff Green, this young man basically gave up his starting position. Allen is all about grit, hard work and toughness at the defensive end. That is a selfless player. It makes the Grizzlies bench that much better.”

Miller on the positive effect the Jeff Green trade has had on the Grizzlies: “[Memphis forward] Jeff Green brings a level of athleticism that this team has not seen. No disrespect to [Grizzlies guard] Courtney Lee or Tony Allen, but at 6’9” Green has an ability to both stretch the floor and knock down threes.”

Miller on how the Grizzlies get it done on the defensive end: “They don’t put you on the free-throw line a lot. They don’t foul you, so you have to make shots against their stingy defense. That has always been the mark of a championship team.”

Miller on the frontcourt duo of Marc Gazol and Zach Randolph: “We always get into the great debate of the best backcourt. We talk about the Splash Brothers, John Wall and Bradley Beal…but what about the best big man duos in the game today? I would certainly pick Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as the best frontcourt duo.”

Miller on Green replacing Allen in the Grizzlies’ starting lineup: “This is a team that is going to go much further with Jeff Green on the floor than it would with Tony Allen. That’s not to say anything bad about Allen. His minutes will be very valuable in the starting unit.”

   Miller on Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried: “There is no way Faried is going to be able to handle [Grizzlies power forward] Zach Randolph down low.”

Miller on Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson: “Lawson leads the nuggets in scoring, assists and steals, but his game has been very inconsistent. If he wants to be the floor general on this team, he has to be consistent every night.”

Miller on Faried: “He’s a high energy guy. When he is able to get the guy off the glass and go coast to coast, you can see that athleticism.”

Miller on Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson: “Take away what he does on the court, his most valuable contribution has been in the locker room. His leadership and veteran savvy have really rubbed off on the young players on the Nuggets.”

Miller on the future of the Denver Nuggets: “How are the Nuggets doing? I just don’t know what direction or path they want to take. Before the season started, they were supposed to be one of those teams fighting for that eighth spot. They have kind of been a rollercoaster team all season.”

Miller on Faried: “I was expecting a bigger and better season from Kenneth Faried. I thought coming off that gold medal this summer and playing with USA Men’s Basketball, being that energy guy off the bench for Coach K, that confidence wise, he would come in and play like gangbusters. He hasn’t done that. His numbers are the same, but he’s not quite the same player confidence wise.”

Miller on Nuggets center JaVale McGee: “He has loads of talent and great athleticism.”

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Chicago Bulls (118) @ Los Angeles Lakers (123)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Brent Barry (analyst) with Lewis Johnson (reporter)

  Barry on newly named All-Star guard Jimmy Butler:  “He is absolutely remarkable this year. The things that he has been able to do and show regarding the growth of his game are great. He can post up at the 2-guard position. He can defend the best player on the opposing team whether that is a two or three man…well deserved All-Star appearance with many more to come. This guy works and goes about his business.”

Barry on guard Derrick Rose learning how to be a great player: “The greatest players in our league motivate themselves just because they are out here competing.”

 Barry on shooting guard Mike Dunleavy: “He doesn’t stop on the offensive end of the floor but is constantly moving…he’s one of the better three-point shooters in the league.”

   Barry on Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson’s athleticism: “I saw him play last summer in Las Vegas and there were signs of what Jordan Clarkson can do on the court where you raised an eyebrow to his potential. Can he find his way to be a point guard in this league where most of them dominate the game? I’m not sure if he is ready for that test but this season will pay some dividends.

Barry on the Lakers’ bench: “The Lakers have guys coming off the bench that have started in the league: Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin…these guys are capable of putting points on the board.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, Barkley, O’Neal and Smith

Barkley on Bulls guard Derrick Rose: “Derrick Rose is still playing like the old Derrick Rose. He’s got to learn that he is not the same guy. He has to learn to play with Jimmy Butler. You are a great player when you play with other great players. You shouldn’t try to do too much.”

Barkley on Derrick Rose: “He has to realize he’s not the MVP anymore.”

Barkley on Rose sharing the field: “You have to adjust. He can’t shoot 33 times. It was like when he was a one-man crew…but, in my opinion, Jimmy Butler is the best player on the team and he is also playing with the best offensive big man he’s ever had.”

O’Neal on what the Bulls need to work on: “They need to get their identity back on defense and create easy shots. Offense is not the problem, defense is.”

   Barkley on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol: “The best power forward center combination in the NBA.”
  Barkley on Denver Nuggets: “We blame the coaches all the time and these players never take responsibility. It’s hard to lose an NBA game by 30 points. I feel bad because Brian is a really nice guy and a good coach. It’s a players league and sometimes the coach gets thrown under the bus.”

Smith on how the Nuggets lack effort: “They have to beat you one way.  If they don’t play you that way, they are going to lose.”

Visit the Turner Sports online press room for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR



Inside Sports Illustrated 1.29.15


Richard Sherman Dishes on the Legion of Boom and SI Pays Tribute to One of Baseball’s Greats

NEW YORK, NY (January 29, 2015) – This week’s Sports Illustrated cover features Seattle’s Legion of Boom. As the Seahawks line up for another run at the Lombardi Trophy, Richard Sherman exclusively offers his own take on the state of the game, while also reflecting on how he will evoke change by being a great role model. Andy Benoit analyzes the three key arguments for the Seahawks and the Patriots, including Russell Wilson’s speed and New England’s hidden gem in Devin McCourty. With all eyes on “deflategate,” Ben Raskin recaps past Super Bowl distractions.

This week’s regional cover pays tribute to Mr. Cub – Ernie Banks and his impact on the Chicago Cubs. In remembrance, Rich Cohen discusses Banks’s life and how he became –and still is – the heart and soul of the Wrigley Field faithful. The two-time national league MVP and Hall of Famer’s buoyant spirit never changed throughout numerous losing seasons. Also in the issue, Luke Winn delves into Coach Larry Krystowiak and how he’s transformed the University of Utah Men’s Basketball program from a historically bad team to one that has Final Four potential. Winn explores the turnaround for a program on the verge of having its best season record since 1998. Albert Chen takes a look at the growing industry that is daily fantasy sports and the way it has captivated fans, while maximizing revenue and expanding its demographics. Lee Jenkins delves into the life of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the struggles he’s endured since entering the league.


Richard Sherman: Boomsday

Before Richard Sherman became the center of the media’s attention he received a contract extension, and when asked what the increase in pay would do for him he simply replied that he wasn’t playing football for the money but rather to be the best in the game. In this piece, Sherman discusses not only his Legion of Boom teammates, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, but also his coach, Pete Carroll. Sherman, conveys his disappointment in Roger Goodell, as well as NFL management, talks about the difficulties that New England’s offense might pose and speaks on the league’s top defenders (hint: It’s not who you think). This is not just a football piece by a football player though, Sherman seamlessly transitions from football life to the everyday world as he opens up about media scrutiny and social issues that players face but are not allowed to speak out on and relates all of this into how he plans on being the best role model he can be as he prepares for the arrival of his first child, and the challenges that lie ahead for him.

“I’ll be the guy who has $50 million in the bank and plays like he has $5.” – Richard Sherman

Albert Chen: Every Sunday Is Super Bowl Sunday

With new fantasy leagues emerging constantly, each day can be a payday for players of snake drafts or keeper leagues. Growing from 500,000 participants in 1988 to over 40 million in 2014, fantasy football has become more than a hobby; it’s become a way of life to those willing to invest. Daily fantasy sports (or, DFS as the professionals call it) have turned amateur fans into stat-studying magicians who live and die by mathematics, analytics, spreadsheets and just a bit of intuition. But more than just a nice payout, DFS leagues are changing the way fans interact with the game, as well as the way that leagues interact with fans. MLB has a sponsorship deal with DraftKings, as does the NFL and the NHL while the NBA has inked a four-year partnership with FanDuel. Leagues have shown their support for these games and the revenue for the companies has ballooned to $97 million between them. This much is clear; the traditional season long fantasy games are long gone and the bright future that is DFS has only begun.

“I’ve been playing fantasy football since 1983; I’m in 26 leagues now. I’ve seen the evolution of fantasy. I see all the weaknesses that piss people off. Daily fantasy fixes it all. It’s not just a fad. It’s the future.”- Bob Harris, emcee and DFS participant

“If the NFL is looking for its [most ardent] audience, this is where they find it. There’s not a more passionate group.”- Harris

Luke Winn: Keep Chopping Wood

Thanks to a former NBA player, a one in 1,000 recruit and the Navy SEALs, head coach Larry Krystkowiak – and his childhood mantra– have brought the Utah Utes from historically bad to Final Four good. After landing recruit Jakob Poeltl in a lottery that included 1,000 other schools (according to Poeltl’s mother) and enticing young guard Delon Wright– brother to the NBA’s Dorrell Wright–  to stay in school rather than enter the NBA draft coach Krystkowiak began to see the results he knew would come. This Coach K saw it all. He became the coach with only four players returning, lost his starting center to injury and became desperate enough to hold walk-on tryouts for starting jobs. Through it all, he knew that the train was, moving though, and used exercises employed by the Navy SEALs, a scholarship offer that landed him a top 100 recruit and a stingy defense to get the Utes to where they are today– on the brink of greatness. They are on pace to finish with their best record since Andre Miller and the 1998 squad landed in the national title game and it comes as no surprise to anyone on the team.

“I’m not saying much today, but when I am, you’ve gotta be listening. Good thing we’re not Navy SEALs, because we’d all have our asses shot up right now.”- Coach Krystkowiak

“What I would tell people back then was, I can see myself at Utah. And just look where we’re at now.”- Point Guard Delon Wright

Lee Jenkins: Work In Progress

For many players a 19-foot jumper and a smooth postgame interview would be nothing to blink at. For Michael Kidd-Gilchrist it represented a culmination of a lifetime of hard work. Recruiting for Kidd-Gilchrist started when he was seven; at 12 he was friends with Jay-Z and his middle school team was sponsored by Reebok. He played alongside No.1 pick Kyrie Irving in high school and alongside No.1 pick Anthony Davis in college. He won a national championship in 2012 and was selected No.2 overall by the Hornets in the NBA draft. But while Davis and Irving thrived in the NBA and gained All-Star status, Kidd-Gilchrist struggled to find his identity. He enlisted the help of shooting guru Mark Price to fix his erratic shot and mend his confidence while he also sought assistance from a speech pathologist to help him with his stutter. At age 21 he has overhauled so many things about himself during his long journey that he is at last comfortable with where he is makes that jumper and his perfect post-game interview that much sweeter.

“What I saw was a tenacious defender who could get to the basket and a motor that would not shut off. I thought, if there is a way to improve the shot, this kid is going to find it.” – Charlotte general manager Rod Higgins

“Everybody has flaws, and I’m a prime example, but this is me. I’ve come a long way. Everyone can see it. I can see it myself.”- Michael Kidd- Gilchrist

Rich Cohen: Ode to Joy

Ernie Banks – 1931-2015

Sports Illustrated pays tribute to Mr. Cub. An inextinguishably bright light on some very grim teams. He was, and remains, the heart and soul of the Wrigley faithful and the city of Chicago. Losing with him wasn’t always fun, but losing without him would have been intolerable.