One of our favorite days of the year is when CBS and Turner Sports reveal their announcing assignments for the NCAA Tournament. The 2014 version introduces more than one high profile change to the broadcast lineup. Most notably, Greg Anthony will call his first Final Four joining Steve Kerr and Jim Nantz in the broadcast booth. And, Ernie Johnson will slide into the hosting chair and replace Greg Gumbel for the Final Four and National Championship. All of the announce teams, studio teams, and assignments are listed after the jump.
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony, Steve Kerr, Tracy Wolfson
Studio: Ernie Johnson, Clark Kellogg, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and contributions from Greg Gumbel, Seth Davis, Doug Gottlieb, Reggie Miller, Grant Hill and college coaches.
* With Turner offering three separate broadcasts
First Four – Tuesday
Announcers: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Kristine Leahy
First Four – Wednesday
Announcers: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Len Elmore, Rachel Nichols
Second weekend announcing teams
1) Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony, Tracy Wolfson
2) Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager
3) Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, Allie LaForce
4) Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Len Elmore, Rachel Nichols
First weekend announcing teams
5) Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Lewis Johnson
6) Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Kristine Leahy
7) Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Jaime Maggio
8) Andrew Catalon, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston
New York Studio
Hosts: Ernie Johnson, Greg Gumbel
Analysts: Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith
Host: Matt Winer
Analysts: Steve Smith, Grant Hill, Seth Davis, Doug Gottlieb (second weekend)
* After years of Jim Nantz teaming with Billy Packer, the Final Four broadcast booth has undergone a few changes in recent years. Although this will be Nantz's 24th Final Four, the latest alteration sees Greg Anthony and Clark Kellogg swapping roles – Anthony moves to the booth and Kellogg returns to the studio where he was a mainstay for several years. It should be a positive change for both and CBS's coverage as a whole. Kellogg is very likable, but his biggest contribution to being a game analyst was his repeated use of bizarre analogies. (Orange, Pumpkin, Dairy Queen'd, Allen Wrench, etc.) He's a better fit in the studio and chemistry between the new trio of Nantz/Anthony/Kerr and Kellogg with the Inside the NBA gang should be just fine. It'll be interesting to see if CBS tries to force Doug Gottlieb into that mix again, something that… didn't quite work last year.
* The Turner imprint on tournament coverage becomes more pronounced in 2014. With the Final Four games on TBS for the first time, Ernie Johnson replaces Greg Gumbel as host of both those games and the National Championship Game on CBS. It'll be Johnson's first time hosting at the Final Four. There were rumors that Marv Albert might eventually replace Jim Nantz one year to call the Final Four and Championship Game, but Albert recently told us on the AA Podcast that Nantz should keep the job.
* With Turner Sports revolutionizing the national semifinals with "team-centric" broadcasts on truTV and TNT, expect to see many tournament analysts and some current college coaches employed for the unique studio coverage across 3 channels at Cowboys Stadium.
* Andrew Catalon continues his great year as he moves from Olympic curling to the NCAA Tournament where he will announce games for the first time. He replaces Tim Brando, who recently parted ways with CBS. Catalon's one of the true up-and-comers in the industry and very deserving of the assignment.
* On the sidelines, Allie LaForce gets a promotion to the second weekend as she joins Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. Also, Kristine Leahy steps in to replace Marty Snider.