If you're looking for some local flavor – or full-court partisan spin – as you watch the 'Final Four' of the 2014 NCAA men's basketball tournament this Saturday night, you've got options.
The NCAA has announced for that television rights holder CBS and its cable partner, Turner Sports, will provide for the first-time "team-specific broadcasts" of Saturday's 'Final Four' games.
Turner Sports and CBS are experimenting with airing two additional telecasts of both NCAA semifinals. Along with the main coverage on TBS, there will be separate versions on TNT and truTV with different announcing crews connected to each school.
What this means is that for fans of all four schools will be able to watch coverage of their specific game and listen to announcers who are very familiar with their favorite team. Whether this will improve, or diminish, the experience may depend on your point of view.
Here's how Sports Illustrated described it:
These "Teamcasts" will feature custom music, custom graphics, team-specific replays, additional cameras geared toward one team, and a custom halftime show. Most importantly, they will feature broadcasters who have been hired specifically to appeal to that fan base. The broadcasters will be encouraged by Turner and CBS to be over-the-top homers for those schools.
The two national semifinal games will be broadcast on TBS, beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern time Saturday. This will be the "no-spin" zone.
The TV coverage lineup for each individual school is as follows:
Connecticut vs. Florida
- Gators fans: Top seed and South region champion Florida will be on TNT at 6 p.m. Eastern time Saturday. Former University of Florida sports broadcast host David Steele will handle the play-by-play, with Mark Wise and James Bates taking care of analysis and sideline reporter duties.
- Huskies fans: Coverage of East region champ Connecticut, which is the Gators' opponent in the first semifinal, can be found on truTV at 6 p.m. Eric Frede, UConn women's television play-by-play announcer this season, will be joined by former Huskies greats Donny Marshall and Swin Cash.
Kentucky vs. Wisconsin
- Wildcats fans: 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first semifinal on TNT, Midwest champion Kentucky will tip off against Wisconsin. Longtime Lexington, Kentucky sports broadcasters Rob Bromley and Dave Baker of WKYT-TV will take care of the play-by-play and sideline reporting chores, respectively. Former Wildcats legend Rex Chapman will provide analysis of the game action.
- Badgers fans: At the same time over on truTV, West region champion Wisconsin fans can find Green Bay Packers radio voice Wayne Larrivee calling the NCAA action. He will be joined by former Badger star Mike Kelley, who helped Wisconsin reach the 2000 NCAA Final Four.