In a move that was probably a couple years too late, CBS announced on Monday that college hoops analyst Billy Packer would leave the network, ending his streak of covering 34 consecutive Final Fours.
Studio analyst Craig Kellogg will take over as the lead game analyst, pairing with jim Nantz during the 2008-09 regular season and NCAA tournament.
Regardless of one's opinion of Packer (and I was certainly not a fan), this change was likely necessary. Packer was starting to lose his edge, evidenced most recently when he declared the Kansas-North carolina Final four contest "over" in the first half back in April. While Kansas did go on to win the game, that contest wasn't nearly the laugher Packer so assuredly pronounced it to be.
Packer was also infamous for his staunch opinions that mid-major schools did not deserve at-large bids. Anyone remember his famous rant in 2006 when he said George Mason didn't deserve an at-large, and that by looking at the five years previous, tournament history showed major conference teams fared better than mid-majors?
Never mind the selection committee was only supposed to look at the season in question, but a lot of people (myself included) took great joy in watching mason make its run. And while Nantz had the intelligence to eat crow on the air, Packer never indulged us.
If nothing else, Kellogg will be a fresh voice on what is CBS' marquee sporting event, next to The Masters. I like his energy, and I appreciate the knowledge he brings to the game. While Packer's basketball credentials can never be questioned, I think it was time for a change, and Kellogg's just the guy to do it.
Besides, anyone who can make Nantz less snooze-worthy gets an A-plus in my book.
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