Sunday, December 10, 2017
TV and Radio_sports

Tom Jones weighs in on the weekend of televised sports

Best coach

If voting took place right now, Florida's Mike White would deserve plenty of consideration for college basketball coach of the year. His work in the NCAA Tournament has been superb. He has pulled all the right strings, made all the right substitutions and dialed up all the right plays in victories over East Tennessee State and Virginia.

True, Virginia is offensively challenged, but to hold any team under 40 points in a tournament game is remarkable.

Give former athletic director Jeremy Foley credit. After losing Billy Donovan to the NBA, Foley's choice of White was not a no-brainer. After all, White was only 38 years old with four years of head coaching experience at Louisiana Tech and no NCAA Tournament appearances.

Not only has White quickly built a strong team, but one that has been extremely poised in big games. In other words, the Gators are well coached.

"They play for each other,'' White said after Saturday's victory against Virginia. "They play the right way.''

That's because they have a good coach.

Second-best crew

CBS's lead NCAA crew of Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery had a fantastic day calling Sunday's back-to-back thrillers of Michigan-Louisville and Kentucky-Wichita State. Nantz did a splendid job giving space to Hill and Raftery and, even better, Hill and Raftery never stepped on one another. A three-man booth is never easy, especially in basketball, but this trio knows what it's doing. Bodes well seeing as how these guys will call the Final Four.

But for my money, Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel still are CBS's best crew.

Worst decision

For the second week in the row, the featured NBA game of the week on national television was a dud because one team rested its stars. A week after the Warriors rested their top players, the Cavs sat LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in a game against the Clippers televised Saturday night by ABC. The Clippers, of course, won easily. ABC analyst Mark Jackson called it an "absolute joke,'' while partner Jeff Van Gundy said "if this were any other business, it would be a prosecutable offense.''

Not really sure what Van Gundy means by that, but you better believe the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver are going to crack down on this before next season.

Best point

Gotta love New York Post sports media columnist Phil Mushnick. He noted how CBS NCAA sideline reporter Allie LaForce talked about Mount St. Mary's "fascinating'' road trip which took 19 days, 12 states, eight games, seven flights and five bus companies. As Mushnick, however, pointed out, what LaForce didn't tell us was how many classes basketball players missed at that time.

Best player

ESPN's Sports Reporters did a segment Sunday on the only real topic of interest in the NBA until the playoffs start: Who is the league's MVP? There seems to be four strong candidates: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. When it comes to hoops, I'll listen to Hall of Fame writer Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe and his pick is Westbrook.

Best technology

Most informative piece of technology this weekend was during NBC's coverage of the PGA event at Bay Hill. Using a split screen, the camera on the left focused on the golfer's swing, while the picture on the right was an overhead shot of the hole with a tracer showing exactly were the ball was headed. Good stuff.

Media tidbits

Former Bills and Jets coach Rex Ryan is headed to ESPN, most likely to Sunday NFL Countdown.

Rumors have Trey Wingo replacing Mike Greenberg as Mike Golic's radio partner at ESPN.

Fox is said to be trying to woo quarterback Tony Romo into the broadcast booth to replace John Lynch on the network's No. 2 team, but the guess is he will keep playing.

Three things that popped into my head

1 The journalism world lost a legend over the weekend with the death of longtime New York City columnist Jimmy Breslin at the age of 88. The best description ever of Breslin: He was Charles Dickens disguised as Archie Bunker. Do an Internet search and read Breslin's column on the man who dug President John F. Kennedy's grave.

2 The guess —and it's just a guess — is the Lightning needs 15 points in the final 11 games to make the playoffs. That means going something like 7-3-1 the rest of the way.

3 The World Baseball Classic has been way more entertaining than in the past. Hmm, maybe it's because this might be the best USA team ever?

tom jones' two cents

 
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