Friday, March 31, 2006

Rating the Announcers

Everyone's been ragging on Billy Packer and Jim Nantz, and probably justifiably so, but let's take a look at the all 4 of the commentating duos that worked the Sweet 16 and Elite 8:

Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery - Quite simply, Bill Raftery is my personal hero. He has solid knowledge of the game, but I always have fun listening to him. He'll criticize a little, he'll get really excited over small things, but he's entertaining. I love listening to the guy. As for Lundquist, he's not my favorite play-by-play guy, but he's solid, and he works very well with Raftery. Bottom line, these two are the top duo in the Tourney. A.

Gus Johnson and Len Elmore - I've ragged a little on Len in the past for not really being excitable, but the truth is, I don't mind him at all. He's a little negative at times, he's not excitable (although he got about as close as he'll ever be at the end of the UCLA/Gonzaga game), but this is why Gus Johnson is a good complement to him. Gus is extremely excitable, but I don't mind that. You can tell he's really into the game. All in all, above average as a duo. B+.

Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas - I really like Dick Enberg, but let's be honest, he's been showing his age for a while now. I can only hear so many "Oh My!" (although he threw in a "My oh my!" after that Texas/LSU sequence when Gibson hit the 3) and name mess-ups before it gets a little old. But he's still got a great voice for calling the game, which is why I won't complain much. He's the basketball equivalent of Keith Jackson... old, but never really calls a bad game. As for Bilas, meh. I don't dislike him, but I think he's better in a studio role than in calling play-by-play. C.

Jim Nantz and Billy Packer - I used to like these guys, but now I'm starting to dislike them, joining most of America. I think it started on Selection Sunday, although not because of their behavior, but because of something Packer said. He said something to the effect of, "I haven't seen anyone in the MVC play, but looking at the numbers..." Wait, this guy is supposedly the top college basketball analyst out there, and he hasn't seen anyone from a 4-bid conference play? That's not right. (Digger Phelps said something similar, but I won't go into that here). As for Nantz, I don't really mind him per se, but he's really got to lay off a little on the cliches. Let's just say I'm not the only one cringing when I think he might say after the National Championship game this year. D+.

Bottom Line: Give me Lundquist and Raftery and you won't hear a peep out of me! How about you guys? What's the consensus out there?

EDIT: Thanks to a couple of readers for pointing out that I messed up in saying that Gus is not excitable enough, when I actually meant that Len was the one that doesn't get excited I have edited it out now. My apologies.

29 comments:

Pradamaster said...

All three of the tandems are worlds better than Packer-Nantz. Len Elmore and Jay Bilas are two really solid color commentators that understand when a moment is truely important (like Elmore finally did with the UCLA game). Enberg is getting old, but he's a great voice of the game, and putting him with a guy like Bilas who really does his job well masks his deficiencies.

I'm simply tired of Packer's excessive negativity on the air. He's not only a jerk, but he has an annoying tendency to point out the wrong in a play instead of the right. It's a shame a good broadcaster like Nantz gets shoved into the abyss with him.

Benny said...

I'm just glad I don't have to listen to Joe Theismann for awhile.

Who was the guy who called the UCLA/Gonzaga game? I thought he was about to lose a lung. He was screaming so loud.

twins15 said...

Heh, that was the Gus Johnson/Len Elmore duo. And you may be right, Johnson did sound awfully close to having his losing his voicebox.

Ian C. said...

It's not one of the teams you mentioned, but if not for Bill Raftery, I would've fallen asleep during last night's NIT final. Raftery was the only thing remotely interesting during that broadcast.

If only he'd had Lundquist with him, instead of Ron Franklin (who's solid) and Fran Fraschilla (who's a complete bore).

Anonymous said...

Bill Raftery is a god. My favorite Raftery moment is when he yelled, "Sweep the lingerie off the deck!" when a player went diving for a loose ball. He's the most creative color commentator out there.

Fudge Packer sucks.

insomniac said...

Here was another great moment in Bill Raftery last week. In describing UConn's Rashad Anderson's ability to make the clutch shot, Raftery said, "When it's on the table, he grabs it all..a Croupier!"

Brilliant.

Jack Fu said...

I used to really like Raftery, but he’s been getting on my nerves recently, I have no logical reason why. He’s just become grating for me. If I had to choose a team, I’d go with Enberg and Bilas without thinking twice. Johnson and Elmore are a relatively close second.

Benny said...

Thanks for the answer Twins15

Mike said...

Raferty goes to his cliches too much: Onions, mantaman, kiss off the glass. It gets old. He's still light years better than Packer.

I can't wait to see who Packer lavishes with his annual March Madness Man Crush. Last year it was Sean May, previous winners include Chris Duhon, Gerry McNamara and the All-time great Mateen Cleaves.

readydownhuthuthut.blogspot.com

twins15 said...

My money on the Packer lovefest is on Joakim. He's big, he's goofy looking, and he plays hard. I'd say someone from GMU because they're the Cinderella, but I don't think Packer knows anyone on the GMU team yet. Should be interesting.

JC said...

Nothing lets you know you're watching a college hoops game like Bill Raftery shouting "And (team name) comes out in the mantaman!" Love it every single time.

~CW~ said...

You don't think Gus is exciting enough!? Gus was made to cover this, he's so happy to be out there. Plus, any signs of negativity he has you have to chalk up to calling all those crappy AFC North games September through December.

Bill Raftery 4 Life.

twins15 said...

No no no, Gus is excited enough. He's very excited, and I love listening to him because of it. It's his partner, Len Elmore that is, well, more subdued.

Chris Ahl said...

Please tell me that was some sort of subliminal sarcasm when you said that Gus Johnson "isn't excitable enough." The guy couldn't humanly be MORE excitable. "At the BUZZZZZZZZZERRRR. . . ", "The Slipper STILLLLLLL FITS" etc.

twins15 said...

Whoops! My apologies, as I meant to write that Len is the one that doesn't get excited. I have edited my mistake, and I apologize for the typo.

As you said, Gus is the super-excited one, which is why I like him.

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David said...

At least Nance can show some class. I didn't think it possible but Packer hit a new low in the UNC Dook game today.

Anonymous said...

Bill Raftery is the most annoying person on TV, just above Vitale. His grating, ridiculous drunken sentence fragments make me hit 'mute' instantly. I pray every time I turn on a college basketball game that he is NOT on the crew. Even if he didn't slur and gargle everything, he's like Krusty the Clown when somebody makes a play.

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