Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Charles Barkley has a serious side and he has a stand-up comedian side, and one never knows when one of those personas will interrupt the other.

That scenario happened Saturday on the AT&T Halftime Show during the North Carolina vs. Michigan State game.

The No. 1 Tar Heels had a 40-31 lead on the No. 9 Spartans at the break, and the March Madness: Road to the Final Four studio crew broke down the first half. Serious Barkley talked about the Tar Heels taking charge.

“You can see [the Tar Heels are] a better team, and I think it’s gonna end up getting out of hand,” Barkley said.

Ernie Johnson pointed out that’s not what he’d said earlier, when he predicted a Michigan State win.

“So in the course of this day,” Johnson said, “You’ve gone from you like Tom Izzo and Michigan State, not going to bet against him, to now it’s going to be North Carolina.”

On cue, Barkley the comedian emerged: “I want (Tom) Izzo to win because I hate Kenny (Smith),” he joked.

Smith responded with a broad smile, a fist pump and weird exclamation, possibly some secret Tar Heels chant from back when he starred at the school in the mid-1980s.

Johnson got a huge laugh out of the exchange.

“As much as I want North Carolina to lose, they’re just better than Michigan State,” Barkley concluded.

In the end, Barkley did not get his wish, as North Carolina won, 85-69. The former Auburn star suffered the indignity of having to talk about his own alma mater’s upset loss to Yale on Friday night.

Fans loved Barkley’s dig at Smith’s North Carolina roots.

[@ awful announcing]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.