ESPN will be featuring their annual NBA-NCAA “crossover” this week when the network’s NBA announcers call NCAA games and vice versa. It’s been a gimmick that has been fairly successful for ESPN as it brings some extra incentive to watch regular season games in both pro and college with the unique perspectives being traded back and forth.
This year, it’s appropriate that the crossover takes place on Valentine’s Day Wednesday night because it will once again feature the most entertaining love affair in sports broadcasting: Dave Pasch and Bill Walton. The big redhead will be making his triumphant return to Portland as the Blazers host the Warriors. If you’ve had the pleasure of listening to Walton and Pasch on Pac-12 duty (and at this point, how could you have missed out on all of their highlights over the years), you know you’re in for a treat.
Here’s the full schedule with two college and two pro games being split between ESPN and ESPN2 respectively. Mark Jones and Hubie Brown will be calling Virginia Tech-Duke, Dick Vitale moves to the NBA for Clippers-Celtics to work alongside Mark Jackson, and P.J. Carlesimo joins Dan Dakich as analysts for Kentucky-Auburn.
While Walton and Pasch calling an NBA game is what we’re most excited about, the combo of Jay Bilas and Hubie Brown calling the Hokies and Blue Devils should be a lot of fun, too. Those are two of the best basketball minds around and with Virginia Tech just upsetting Virginia on the road, it could turn into quite the compelling contest as well.
You may recall that last year ESPN had Walton and Vitale call an NBA game together with Pasch, which was truly a once in a lifetime experience. This year, Doris Burke — who is widely regarded as one of the best basketball analysts out there — will join the Dave & Bill Show. That should be an entertaining combo and with Walton returning to Portland, it should lead to a lot of opportunities to relive some memories of his NBA championship glory days with the Blazers and get into even more hijinks than usual.