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NCAA PREVIEW / TELEVISION

For L.A., No Teams, Just TV

March 15, 2004|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

CBS will announce today what first-round NCAA tournament games will be shown in Los Angeles on Thursday. The TV schedule for Friday will be announced Tuesday.

One thing is known for sure: No Southern California teams will be on CBS' schedule.

As expected, no team from this area made the field, meaning that CBS is left with a tournament that is missing a team from the nation's No. 2 television market.

CBS' Billy Packer, looking for that positive spin, said that's not a bad thing, at least not nationally.

"Think about how it used to be and the fact that the rest of the country used to say, with that team out in Southern California, why would you watch, nobody can beat UCLA?" Packer said after Sunday's selection show.

"Now we have a situation where the committee right up to the last day was considering eight or nine teams for No. 1 seeds. That has to generate much more interest across the country than the day when Southern California, in the name of UCLA, dominated college basketball for more than a decade."

CBS colleague Clark Kellogg said, "It's a national tournament and it attracts interest across the land."

Kellogg, who picked all four No. 2-seeded teams to reach the Final Four, said that "12 to 15 teams have a chance of cutting down the nets in the end."

CBS' Jim Nantz said, "By the end of next weekend, I think one or two No. 1 seeds might be gone.

"Just look at the possible matchups [in the second round]. We may have Washington facing Kentucky, Bobby Knight's Texas Tech team meeting Saint Joseph's, Stanford against Alabama, and Duke and Arizona, a rematch of the 2001 championship game, meeting again."

Nantz praised tournament selection committee Chairman Bob Bowlsby, athletic director at Iowa, for admitting that the lateness of the Big 12 and Big Ten conference championship games Sunday had affected the seeding of the winning teams, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.

"I thought he was being very forthright," Nantz said.

The CBS game announcers for the first round of the tournament will be:

THURSDAY

At Raleigh, N.C. -- Kevin Harland and Dan Bonner.

At Buffalo -- Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery.

At Denver -- Nantz and Packer.

At Seattle -- Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.

FRIDAY

At Orlando -- Gus Johnson and Len Elmore

At Columbus, Ohio -- Dick Enberg and Matt Guokas

At Milwaukee -- Tim Brando and Mike Gminksi

At Kansas City -- Craig Bolerjack and Bob Wenzel

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