Selection Sunday is a sports fan's television bonanza as the nation's college basketball teams learn who's in, who's not and who goes where for March Madness.
Well, unless you live on the West Coast and know that there is no mystery involved this year. Our teams are so bad that either they will get an automatic bid by winning their conference tournaments or they will hear what so many "Project Runway" contestants dread to hear from judge Heidi Klum — "You … are … out!"
The selection sho w will be shown live on Channel 2 at 3 p.m. and is hosted by Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony and Seth Davis. Dan Guerrero, UCLA's athletic director and the head of this year's NCAA men's selection committee, will be interviewed about the process, and it is usually worth watching the person in charge of the committee defending a last-in, first-out type of pick.
This year, Guerrero might be the perfect person for this job. There will be nobody second-guessing whether he pulled strings to get the Bruins into the NCAA tournament because UCLA's season is no-strings attached — either win the Pacific 10 Conference tournament or nothing.
Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg will be offering analysis via satellite (they'll also be calling the Big Ten Conference championship game).
As soon as the brackets are announced live, the ESPN basketball crew will be on the case.
The most entertaining part of what ESPN is billing as 89 consecutive hours of college basketball discussions (beginning well before the live selection show when we're all still guessing) should be analyst Andy Katz's attempt to interview the head coaches of the 65 teams who make the field. Last year he got 63 head coaches and one assistant.
Missing Bob Miller
The painful case of shingles that has sidelined the Kings' Hall of Fame television broadcaster Bob Miller will likely keep him off Sunday's broadcast as well.
Miller has a doctor's appointment Friday but a shingles-caused rash is lingering near his left eye. "We're a little concerned about that," Miller said. "I really wanted to be back Sunday but the doctor warned me it's going to take time."
It was a week ago Monday, as Miller was flying with the Kings to Dallas, when he started getting a headache. It was the first sign of the uncomfortable condition's onset. The headache didn't go away as the Kings went to Nashville.
"I hurt but not enough to keep me incapacitated," Miller said. "Last Thursday, when we were flying home from Nashville after the game, I kept reaching up and noticing blisters on my head.
"I went to the doctor the next day, he said, ‘You've got shingles, it's going to be painful. It's going to take awhile for it to go away.' He's right."
Even though he's uncomfortable, Miller has kept his sense of humor. "With the games in high definition and still having these blisters, I'm not sure it would be a good idea to be on television Sunday," Miller said.
By his calculations, Miller said his absence from Wednesday's game against Chicago was his 20th in 37 years. Until this illness, he said, he hadn't missed a broadcast since Nov. 2, 2002, when his mother-in-law died.
Welcome to ESPN, Nomar. Now, smile
ESPN announced this week that former Dodger (and, yes, former Red Sox star) Nomar Garciaparra was joining its baseball talent pool. You can't quibble with Garciaparra's knowledge of the game, but — and this is just a personal feeling — he seemed to be such a narrow-focus guy during his playing days that it's hard to see him being an engaging conveyor of baseball news.
Going back over video clips on YouTube, watching more than three dozen television interviews Garciaparra gave from around the country, one sees barely a smile. It never seemed as if Garciaparra enjoyed talking baseball. He loved playing baseball, but does that make for a great imparter of information? Will he form a connection with the viewing audience? Does he really want to do this?
ESPN senior coordinating producer Jay Levy said, "Nomar offers the perspective of an All-Star player, recently out of the game, with experience playing in both leagues and in high-profile markets. His baseball knowledge will enhance our telecasts."
Maybe it will, but could he perhaps loosen up a little and act as if he wants his knowledge to enhance anything? Because, for television, that's as important as having the knowledge.