Update 3/21: CBS has released the Sweet 16 TV schedule and announcer assignments. Gus Johnson and Len Elmore will be out west, calling the Syracuse-Butler and Kansas State-Xavier games on Thursday, then the winner on Saturday night.
The three most exciting aspects of the NCAA Tournament, in order, are: 1) analyzing the tournament field and making your bracket predictions; 2) trying to figure out where upsets will come from and then watching them unfold during the first two rounds of the tournament; and 3) Gus Johnson.
I’ve already written posts about the first two, so it is only natural that I now write about the third.
The NCAA Tournament is exciting enough that Ben Stein could call every game and I would still watch and be enthralled. Luckily, CBS has top-notch analysts like Bill Raftery, Len Elmore, and Jay Bilas providing entertaining and insightful commentary.
No one though, and I mean no one, compares to the peerless Gus Johnson when it comes to pure, unadulterated enthusiasm.
Here are the best YouTube videos that show Johnson’s one-of-a-kind ability to capture the passion of March’s most exciting moments.
Video: Gus Johnson Calls Ohio State’s Victory over Xavier
This will always be my favorite Gus Johnson moment – “Out to Lewis…WHO’S BEEN AWESOME!!!…” – and KVB and I have probably watched this 100+ times. I’m not kidding.
Video: Gus Johnson Goes Nuts During Gonzaga-UCLA Game
The best part about this video is Greg Gumbel’s deadpan comment when it cuts back to the studio.
Video: Gus Johnson Great Call Compilation (Fort Minor Remix)
This is a pretty popular video, and for good reason. I compiles many of Gus’ most exciting calls.
Video: Gus Johnson Calls Vermont’s Upset over Syracuse
Video: Gus Johnson’s “The Runner” Call When Gonzaga Beat Florida
I think those five videos sum up Gus Johnson’s perpetual March excitement pretty well. Follow this link if you want more Gus Johnson videos, including his many exuberant calls of NFL games.
This March, Johnson will be in Buffalo calling games with his usual partner, the underrated Len Elmore, whose smooth and understated style is the perfect complement to Johnson’s boisterousness. Here is Gus Johnson’s NCAA Tournament first round announcing schedule:
- Fri, 3/19 @ 12:15 ET – #2 West Virginia v #15 Morgan State
- Fri, 3/19 @ 2:35 ET – #7 Clemson v #10 Missouri
- Fri, 3/19 @ 7:10 ET – #8 Gonzaga v #9 Florida State
- Fri, 3/19 @ 9:30 ET – #1 Syracuse v #16 Vermont
Johnson will then be announcing the winners of these games on Sunday.
It is interesting that Johnson will be announcing the tournament rematch between Syracuse and Vermont. There is a much greater disparity this year between the two teams this time around, at least based on the regular season; but in the very unlikely event that Vermont can make a legit run at being the first #16 seed to beat a #1 seed, is there any other announcer you’d want calling the game? Hell no.
Johnson also has a history with Gonzaga, as the video above shows, and he will get another chance to call the Zags in the tournament in what should be a pretty competitive game against defensive-minded Florida State.
Enjoy the tournament and enjoy Gus. I know I will.
* – Gus Johnson photo credit: Getty Images via NYMag.com