It's been two years since Gus Johnson left CBS for Fox. This marks another year that we won't have Gus calling any NCAA Tournament games on the CBS/Turner consortium. It's hard to believe that we won't hear "Rise and Fire!" or "This! Is! March! Madness!" when an upset is about to occur.
As you're aware, Gus has been focusing on soccer over the last month as he prepares to take a major role on Fox's coverage of the FIFA World Cup starting in 2015. But this week, Gus returns to the sport that made him famous, calling the Big Ten Tournament on Big Ten Network.
However, Gus ending his college basketball season with the Big Ten Tournament and not being on any NCAA Tournament games is not right. While Gus will be like us watching the NCAA Tournament on TV, he admits to USA Today's Michael Hiestand that he'll get emotional knowing that games like Florida-Gonzaga in 1999 ("The slipper still fits!!"), Gonzaga-UCLA in 2006 ("Heart! Break! City!") and Xavier-Kansas State in 2010 made him popular among fans:
"It's emotional," Johnson tells USA TODAY Sports. "It was a big part of my life for 15 years. The NCAA tournament made me. … Yes, it's emotional. Yes, I miss it. Yes, I'd like to be a part of it." But, he says, "this is a business. And I'm glad I'm at Fox."
It's too bad that Johnson couldn't call some tournament games on radio for Dial Global, but with CBS and Turner also controlling that portion of the media rights, it's unlikely that he'll return unless he finds a way to come back to the Tiffany Network or sign with Turner when his current contract with Fox expires.
Until Gus and CBS can find some harmonic convergence down the road, we'll have to be content with him calling regular season college basketball on Big Ten Network and Fox Sports 1 (Voice of the Catholic 7 and/or the Pac-12, perhaps?). No one can begrudge him for leaving and wanting to be a number one announcer which he is for Fox on college football and now soccer, but not being on the NCAA Tournament is like having Gus live in exile in Eastern Europe. And if you are saddened by that, perhaps take some time off to play some bingo at partybingo.com.
While we have YouTube videos of his most famous NCAA Tournament calls between 1996 and 2011, fans would like to have some fresh memories to add to his already legendary caché.