AA: How are you instructing the announcers to handle their side of the Team Streams?

HB: We don’t want them to be cheerleaders. They’re not there to jump up and down and go “Rah! Rah! Rah!” It’s to show their depth of knowledge about the team like a Mateen Cleaves, he’s been in the locker room with Tom Izzo so he can say “You know in this situation, he’s going to take at halftime and tell us x, y and z” or “down the stretch, they have a tendency to take timeouts and set up this type of play,” so it’s using that in-depth knowledge and bringing that across the band as opposed to being a rah-rah cheerleader. That’s what we’re encouraging with the guys as well as in the production truck.

CB: We’re looking for them to be biased. We’re looking for them to use words like “we” and “our.” We want it to feel kind of like a fan’s perspective, a fan of that team. That’s the differentiator. Being excited about big plays, being disappointed when the team doesn’t execute. This is all part of the emotional connection that Team Stream provides. And absolutely, we’re looking for the announcers to be part of that connection.

AA: What are some of the things you’re going to do to improve upon last year’s experience now that you have a year under you belt?

HB: As I mentioned before, we’re improving the graphics, but we’re added a couple of more cameras that we can focus on more on certain players or coaches or the bench. So through additional equipment, graphics, preparation and I think our guys at least know going into it they’re going to be prepared a little bit more.

They’re going to have additional customized video so at halftime we’ll have what we call the “Confidential” series, pieces that are geared towards specific teams so if you’re a Wisconsin fan, you’ll see what Wisconsin did all week here at the Final Four. We’ll have vignettes we can roll at halftime and even sound bites that we can roll during the game, anything that gives that home team fan can feel like “man, there’s a little nugget I didn’t know about my team.”

We’re going to focus on it that way to push the broadcast.

CB: One of the things that we felt we really needed this year just for a coverage standpoint was a reverse camera because we’re spending so much time looking at the benches and making sure we had specific angles that the broadcast wouldn’t normally need or want because we’re team specific. So it fills in a blind spot that we had last year.

AA: Would you consider doing a dedicated channel to a Film Room concept that ESPN has done for the College Football National Championship?

CB: I wouldn’t take anything off the table. I think we have a good format right now. I think we still have a pretty high ceiling on building on that format and continue to make it better and better. With that said, with the media landscape evolving and changing and people not only wanting, but demanding new ways to watch new content, I would never take a special execution or idea off the table.

AA: This being the 5th year of CBS and Turner working together, how would you assess the partnership?

HB: The partnership has really been terrific. We both have very similar philosophies on broadcasts, on productions. We challenge each other and it allows us to put on the best possible broadcast. We saw that with the announcing teams, changing them up a bit, technology, cameras. We do surveys together. It’s really been a terrific partnership and hopefully viewers have noticed the difference. We’re constantly finding ways to provide a better broadcast. The partnership has been smooth.

CB: I would say the partnership has really evolved. When we started, we went in a little blind, and we had partnered with CBS before on the PGA Championship and even farther back in the Olympics so we had some history with them. Once we got in a room, we knew our goals were aligned. But you still don’t know about personalities, the way you execute until it actually happens and I’m happy to report that we have been great partners.

Our strengths really compliment each other. They’re really good at some things, and we’re really good at other things and we manage to those strengths and it’s turned out to be a really productive, creative and fulfilling partnership not only for the people that are in the trenches like myself and the rest of the production team, but also for the fans.

TBS’s coverage of the Final Four begins at 3 p.m. ET with “At the Final Four” with Dennis Miller, Charles Barkley and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. That will be followed by The Final Four Show at 4 p.m.

The games tip off at 6:09 p.m. with Duke-Michigan State on TBS. The Duke Team Steam on TBS while the Michigan State feed will be seen on truTV.

Then at approximately 8:49 p.m., TBS will have Kentucky-Wisconsin with the Wildcats Team Stream on TNT and the Badgers Team Stream on truTV.

We thank Craig Barry and Harold Bryant for taking time from their busy schedules at the Final Four in Indianapolis to talk with us.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.