For the third straight year, Turner Sports will bring what it calls the “Team Stream” to the NCAA men’s Final Four. And for the third straight year, people will get militant about TNT and truTV having the homer calls while not realizing that the main objective feed with Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery will be on TBS. Still, we’ll see angry tweets from fans wondering why TNT or truTV is using biased announcers.
With that in mind, let’s provide you with the men and women who will be on TNT and truTV for the homer calls on Saturday. And bear in mind that when the National Championship airs on TBS on Monday, TNT and truTV will also have the individual team streams.
The announcers for the team-centric telecasts should be familiar to the individual fans of each school. They are as follows:
Oklahoma — TNT, 6:09 p.m. ET
Chad McKee (play-by-play): McKee is the pregame and postgame host for Sooner Sports TV football programming. He has called Oklahoma baseball and softball and has worked on Sooner sports so he’s familiar to viewers in the Sooner state.
Eduardo Najera (analyst): A Sooner basketball legend, Najera played for Oklahoma from 1997-2000. He later played in the NBA and is a studio analyst for the Dallas Mavericks on Fox Sports Southwest.
Jessica Coody (sideline reporter): Coody is the full-time lead reporter for Sooner Sports TV and will serve as the sideline reporter for the Oklahoma Team Stream. She covers all sports on Sooner Sports TV and hosts Spring football game coverage on the channel.
Villanova — truTV, 6:09 p.m. ET
Scott Graham (play-by-play): Graham is well-known to Delaware Valley sports fans having called the Philadelphia Phillies from 1999-2006 and the current preseason TV voice for the Eagles. Graham is the studio host for the NFL on Westwood One Radio and has done voiceover work at NFL Films. He’s also called football and basketball on Big Ten Network.
Brian Finneran (analyst): Finneran played football at Villanova and played 10 years in the NFL with the Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. He’s currently a sports talk show host in Atlanta.
Kacie McDonnell (sideline reporter): McDonnell is a news anchor with KSHB in Kansas City, but is a Villanova alum and is an unabashed Wildcats fan. Before going to KC, McDonnell covered the Eagles and was a traffic reporter for the Philly Fox affiliate.
North Carolina — TNT, 8:49 p.m. ET
Wes Durham (play-by-play): The son of legendary Tar Heels voice Woody Durham, Wes calls ACC sports for Fox Sports Net and is the radio voice of the Atlanta Falcons. Durham has also called games on the ACC Network.
Brendan Haywood (analyst): Haywood played on the Tar Heels 2000 Final Four team and currently works at CBS Sports Network.
Dwayne Ballen (sideline reporter): Ballen has worked for many sports media outlets including CBS Sports network, Golf Channel, Fox Sports net and ESPN. He recently started calling play-by-play for CBSSN.
Syracuse — truTV, 8:49 p.m. ET
Tom Werme (play-by-play): Werme is one of several million Syracuse grads who have gone into sports broadcasting. He’s called games on the ACC Network as well as the ACC Digital Network. Werme has also called basketball, football and other sports for ESPN, Big Ten Network and Fox Sports Net.
Roosevelt Bouie (analyst): A Syracuse basketball legend, he was part of the “Louie and Bouie Show”as Bouie and Louis Orr were part of the very first recruiting class for coach Jim Boeheim back in the 1970’s. Bouie played professionally overseas for 12 years and was later an assistant coach with Boeheim. His number is retired by the Orange.
Donovan McNabb (sideline reporter): That’s right, Donovan McNabb. After losing gigs at FS1 and NBC Sports Radio after a DUI arrest last year, McNabb returns to television as the sideline reporter on the Orange homer call. Not only was McNabb a quarterback for Syracuse in the 1990’s, he also played basketball as a walk-on for two seasons.
So we’ll very likely see complaints on social media about the bias on TNT and truTV. Despite the heavy promotion during the NCAA Tournament, there will be viewers who won’t know and will wonder why the announcing leans so much towards one team. And of course, we’ll be here to monitor the complaints.