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DIANE PUCIN / ON SPORTS MEDIA

Billy Packer, Greg Anthony have new roles for NCAA tournament

Packer, who left CBS last year, will have his own show with Bob Knight to break down the tournament while Anthony, the former Nevada Las Vegas and NBA guard, will join CBS.

March 13, 2009|DIANE PUCIN | ON SPORTS MEDIA

Billy Packer is gone from CBS, he won't be dwelling on the awful slight some Clemson or Arizona might suffer at the hands of a Butler or George Mason or some mid-major team. So NCAA Selection Sunday (3 p.m., Channel 2) will be different this year.

Former Nevada Las Vegas guard Greg Anthony will be the main voice of CBS' coverage and Clark Kellogg will join Jim Nantz and take Packer's place on the network's lead team for NCAA tournament games.

"Billy's departure is a significant void," Anthony said. "But I'm going into this with the idea that I have to be true to myself. Clark's going to call games from his own perspective and for me, in the studio, I can't try to be someone else so I won't worry about how someone else analyzed things."

Packer's studio presence became controversial after he criticized the selection committee in 2006 for choosing too many so-called mid-major teams -- from conferences such as the Missouri Valley or the Colonial Athletic Assn.

If Packer didn't have to eat his words, he did have to watch Bradley and Wichita State out of the Missouri Valley advance to the Sweet 16 and George Mason of the CAA go to the Final Four that year.

Anthony spent time learning what the selection committee considers. "I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a little different perspective on the whole process," he said. "I'm going to find it hard to just criticize who gets in or out."

Packer isn't all gone. He'll be in Las Vegas with Bob Knight doing his own show: "Billy Packer's Survive and Advance."

Never known for his humility, Packer points out, "I was the first to use the phrase 'Survive and advance,' in regards to the tournament."

That's kind of what Packer did after he and CBS parted ways.

Beginning with a program at midnight Sunday on FS West, Packer and Knight will have a guest panel dissecting the draw and the tournament games.

And Packer is still unapologetic about his mid-major takedown of 2006.

"I felt very strongly in regards to what I said," Packer said. "To me, it gets down to consider what a Roy Williams at North Carolina who has a great history in the NCAA tournament against some coach in another league who hasn't coached a game in a tournament.

"These two teams are nameless, faceless to the committee but I would say that on Selection Sunday you should take that history into consideration.

"If I'm looking at the story line this year, it's the strength of the Big East. It makes no sense to me that a team like Providence might not get in."

Need more hoops?

ESPN has its own, exhaustive analysis of the NCAA draws, men's and women's. The highlights: seven hours of studio discussions spread across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU; reporter Andy Katz will try to interview all 65 coaches whose teams make the men's tournament.

Today's best bets

There are sports outside of NCAA basketball (Pac-10 tournament semifinals are on Fox Sports among 24 men's and women's televised games). So mix in a little golf. Tiger Woods is playing in the CA Championship and the Golf Channel is on live at 11 a.m.

Saturday's best bets

The Tennis Channel begins coverage of the BNP Paribas Open from Indian Wells at 11 a.m. Coverage switches to Fox Sports Net on Monday. If you were captivated by the Australian Open drama of the Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer final, both are playing here.

Sunday's best bets

It's Selection Sunday. Nuff said.

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

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