ESPN analyst Bill Walton (left) and play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch during the game between the UCLA Bruins and the Maryland Terrapins at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s final broadcast of a Pac-12 men’s basketball regular season game took place on Saturday night. The USC Trojans upset the No. 5 Arizona Wildcats 78-65, sending the conference into its final tournament before 10 of its members shuffle off to new homes.

Just like with Pac-12 football, it was a bittersweet send-off that stood as a celebration of the conference while ushering in the end of an era.

There was only one thing missing to make the experience feel complete: Bill Walton.

Dave Pasch was on the call for ESPN, but instead of being joined by his longtime broadcasting partner, he called the game alongside Sean Farnham. Given how much Walton has been synonymous with Pac-12 basketball over the years, it didn’t seem right to close out the conference with the voice that has defined it. More than a few people were wondering why Walton wasn’t on the call, especially considering ESPN doesn’t have the broadcast rights to the Pac-12 Tournament.

Awful Announcing has learned that Walton was unable to call the game due to health issues. Those health issues have also been the cause of his absence from several scheduled appearances dating back to mid-February as well.

ESPN declined to comment and efforts to seek a comment from Walton were unsuccessful.

An NBA spokesperson did confirm to Awful Announcing that tomorrow night’s Throw It Down with Bill Walton alternate telecast on NBA League Pass will be rescheduled. There had been two remaining Throw It Down alternative NBA broadcasts with Jason Benetti, with the next one previously scheduled for Monday, March 11 between the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers. The duo are currently scheduled for their next broadcast on Monday, March 25 for the Indiana Pacers – Los Angeles Clippers game.

Walton pared back his broadcasting schedule, in general, this college basketball season, splitting his time between ESPN and the Pac-12 Network. For ESPN, he worked the Maui Invitational in November and then called games on Dec. 22, Jan. 4, Jan. 13, Jan. 27, Jan. 29, and Feb. 1. Since then, on Pac-12 broadcasts that would have traditionally featured Pasch and Walton, Pasch has instead been paired with Cory Alexander, Josh Pastner, Richard Jefferson, and Farnham. Saturday night’s Pac-12 regular-season finale was the last opportunity for Pasch and Walton to call a game together this season.

Walton has also worked several Pac-12 Network games this season but hasn’t worked one since the Feb. 10 Washington State-Oregon broadcast. He was scheduled to work the Feb. 28 game between Arizona and Arizona State but was replaced on the call by Matt Muehlebach.

Two days before that Arizona-ASU game, Arizona State Associate AD Doug Tammaro posted on X that Walton would be “on the call.” However, on the day of the game, he shared that they “had to go to the bullpen today” for Muehlbach, adding “Get well soon Bill Walton!”

The Hall of Famer did attend NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was in the crowd for the All-Star Game on Feb. 18.

Walton’s personal website has his season broadcasting schedule posted and includes several games that he did not end up calling, including Saturday’s Pac-12 regular-season finale. It includes the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament (which is being broadcast by Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports) which we’re hoping he’s feeling well enough to call as well as the Throw It Down broadcasts on NBA League Pass.

Walton was listed in ESPN’s announcer guide that came out earlier this week, an indication that his return to the air was plausible versus any type of medical emergency that would definitively keep him off the air for the foreseeable future.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to