Jim Spanarkel Verne Lundquist

When CBS and Turner Sports announced their broadcast teams for the upcoming NCAA Tournament on Monday, one big name was conspicuously missing: Verne Lundquist.

According to the New York Post, Lundquist has chosen not to work the tournament because calling four games in a day seemed unmanageable only months after his November back surgery. Brad Nessler, who replaced Lundquist as CBS’ lead college football voice last fall, will slot into the broadcast lineup in his absence, while Ian Eagle will be assigned the regional final Lundquist previously worked.

Lundquist has called NCAA Tournament games for CBS for the better part of 35 years, becoming one of the network’s most recognizable and popular voices. He stepped away from college football in 2017, but has continued to call college basketball and golf for CBS, without announcing plans for a full-on retirement.

Other than Eagle shifting to Lundquist’s previous team alongside analyst Jim Spanarkel and Nessler joining the Tournament lineup, little has changed from last year’s CBS/Turner broadcast assignments. Reporter Lisa Byington moves up to the No. 2 team (replacing Lewis Johnson) and John Schriffen slots into her previous spot, while the Carter Blackburn/Debbie Antonelli booth loses Mike Gminski, but otherwise all remains the same. Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will again call the Final Four, with Tracy Wolfson reporting.

Here’s the full list of CBS/Turner broadcast teams

  • Jim Nantz / Bill Raftery / Grant Hill // Tracy Wolfson
  • Brian Anderson / Chris Webber // Lisa Byington
  • Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce
  • Kevin Harlan / Reggie Miller / Dan Bonner // Dana Jacobson
  • Brad Nessler / Steve Lavin // Evan Washburn
  • Spero Dedes / Steve Smith / Len Elmore // Ros Gold-Onwude
  • Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // Jamie Erdahl
  • Carter Blackburn / Debbie Antonelli // John Schriffen

In addition to revealing broadcast teams, CBS and Turner Sports also announced Monday that WNBA star and two-time NCAA Tournament champion Candace Parker will join the networks’ studio coverage for the opening rounds, alongside Casey Stern, Brendan Haywood, Seth Davis and a rotating cast of college coaches. Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel will again anchor studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York, with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith.

The NCAA Tournament begins Tuesday, March 13 with the First Four on TruTV.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.