Saturday, 1 April 2023

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Jim Nantz to call last NCAA last Final Four for CBS

Jim Nantz to call last NCAA last Final Four for CBS

Jim Nantz has seen his share of magical moments and sendoffs during a career that has spanned nearly 40 years. He could get one of his own as he prepares to call his final NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Not only is the Final Four in Nantz’s adopted hometown of Houston, but with the University of Houston as one of the top seeds, Nantz could get to call his alma mater playing for a national title.

The Cougars basketball program was a launching point for Nantz in what has been a successful career at CBS as the network’s preeminent voice of the NFL, golf and March Madness.

“I wanted it to be a CBS year, but especially I wanted Houston to be my last dance for me and to exit college basketball stage right,” Nantz said. “It was truly through the basketball program — being the student public address announcer and while still a student later being entrusted to host the Guy Lewis television show, that was my entryway into television. I was just a kid living in the dorms. With a chance to possibly call my last basketball game with Houston playing for a championship, that would be amazing.”

Nantz called a regular-season game between Houston and Memphis on March 5. He will also have Cougars’ first-round game on Thursday against Northern Kentucky. The top crew of Nantz, Bill Raftery, and Grant Hill will be in Birmingham, Alabama, for the first two rounds on Thursday and Saturday since top seeds Houston and Alabama have games there.

Even though Nantz still has a deep affinity for the Cougars, you couldn’t tell by how he has called the games the past couple of years. Nantz called Houston’s Final Four run two years ago and has done at least one regular season game the past two years.

“You could not tell, if you listened to that broadcast, that he had a vested interest whatsoever,” Raftery said of the recent Houston game, where Jamal Shead made the game-winning basket as time expired. “The love he has off the court doesn’t exhibit itself during the game. It is all about the 10 kids playing. I think it’s been that way since he started, and it will continue until he finishes in Houston.”

Nantz and CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus agreed two years ago that this would be Nantz’s final tournament as the top announcer. Nantz started calling early-round games for CBS in 1986 and was the Final Four studio host for five years before taking over play-by-play duties from Brent Musburger in 1991.

When Nantz signs off…

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