Fox kicks off their 2015-16 college basketball season on Friday evening with a Wagner-St. John’s matchup, but the schedule really gets cranking with doubleheaders next Monday and Tuesday. In advance of the beginning of the season, Fox has announced their studio and game commentators for college basketball coverage, with plenty of familiar names popping up.
To the surprise of no one, the Gus Johnson/Bill Raftery duo returns once again as Fox’s top broadcast duo. As announced over the summer, Steve Lavin will also serve as both a studio and game analyst, making his Fox debut in the studio during that aforementioned Wagner-St. John’s game. Plenty of play-by-play commentators will return for the 2015-16 season, including Brian Anderson, Tim Brando, newly-minted Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis, Kevin Kugler, and Justin Kutcher. New Padres play-by-play broadcaster Don Orsillo will also jump into the fold for college hoops games.
Game analysts include Nick Bahe, Stephen Bardo, Dickey Simpkins, Jim Spanarkel, Ron Thompson, and Tarik Turner, while Jim Jackson, the aforementioned Lavin, and Donny Marshall will work as both game and studio analysts. In the studio, Rob Stone (of course) takes on the role of lead studio host, while Kevin Burkhardt, Ryan Field, Mike Hill, and Greg Wolf will also host on occasion.
This season, Fox’s broadcast network will be airing a minimum of 15 games, including the final of the Big East tournament. FS1 will show more than 150 games this year, including the men’s tournaments for the Big East, Pac-12, and Conference USA and the women’s tournaments for the Big East and Big 12.
Maybe this will be the year where viewership starts to tick up for Fox’s college basketball coverage, because the first two years didn’t exactly light the airwaves on fire. Fox has a solid stable of commentators, but the lack of national powers in the Big East has severely limited the reach of their coverage.