ESPN Men’s College Basketball Commentators: Bob Knight teams with Brent Musburger; Dick Vitale back for his 31st season

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October 15th, 2009


ESPN Men’s College Basketball Commentators

Musburger & Knight on Big Monday Big 12; Saunders & Fraschilla on Wednesday BIG EAST; Vitale Returns for 31st Season

ESPN’s 2009-10 men’s college basketball telecasts will feature knowledgeable and experienced commentators in familiar and new roles, highlighted by the return of two Basketball Hall of Famers:

  • Dick Vitale, in his 31st season with ESPN, will continue to call top games from various conferences, including an ACC game on Wednesday nights, the weekly Saturday Primetime series and will provide post-season studio analysis. He will primarily work with play-by-play voice Dan Shulman.
  • Bob Knight will move to the weekly Big Monday Big 12 game with Brent Musburger and reporter Holly Rowe and various non-conference games throughout the season. He will continue to appear weekly on College GameDay Driven by State Farm, including on-site on select weeks, and provide post-season studio analysis. Knight, who joined ESPN in 2008 for Championship Week and post-season studio analysis, called a weekly Thursday night and select non-conference game telecasts last year along with College GameDay, and post-season studio analysis.

Fran Fraschilla, who worked the Big Monday Big 12 matchups last year, will now call a weekly BIG EAST game Wednesdays during conference play with veteran commentator and studio host John Saunders. Fraschilla will also call select Big 12 contests with Big 12 partner Ron Franklin (who will work Wednesday night Big 12 telecasts with various analysts).

Commentator Dave O’Brien will move to the Super Tuesday Big Ten matchups every week in January with returning analyst Steve Lavin and reporter Erin Andrews (also a reporter for Saturday Primetime games with Shulman and Vitale).  Musburger, who has worked with Lavin and Andrews on the weekly Big Ten telecast since 2004, will join them for February telecasts.

Additional highlights include:

  • Analyst Jay Bilas will return to work Big Monday BIG EAST games with Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery (a network analyst since 1980), top non-conference telecasts on various days, a matchup on most Wednesday nights during conference play and the weekly College GameDay as well as select studio appearances.
  • Notre Dame All-Century Basketball Team member LaPhonso Ellis will join ESPN as a game and studio analyst. He will appear on ESPN’s Thursday studio coverage, a weekly ESPNU Wednesday night game with commentator Carter Blackburn and select ESPN and ESPN2 game telecasts. Ellis, who was selected fifth overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by Denver, holds the school record in blocked shots with 200 and is third in rebounding (1,075 rebounds), 12th in career points (1,505) and 22nd in points per game (15.5).
  • ESPN’s Super Tuesday SEC telecasts will feature the return of Brad Nessler, Jimmy Dykes and reporter Jeannine EdwardsRece Davis and Hubert Davis will work select Thursday SEC telecasts.
  • In addition to working the sidelines on top games, Doris Burke will return to work as a game analyst on ESPN’s Thursday Night Showcase BIG EAST telecasts with Dave Pasch and they will also call the action on Saturday BIG EAST matchups.
  • Additional returning commentator pairings include: Mike Patrick and Len Elmore on ACC matchups and various top games as well as Terry Gannon and Stephen Bardo on West Coast Conference Thursday night telecasts.
  • Primary studio hosting duties on ESPN and ESPN2 will be handled by Rece Davis as well as Karl Ravech, Saunders and Dari Nowkhah.
  • ESPNU will field a team of commentators to call the 24-hour college sports network’s more than 200 games and extensive studio coverage. Highlights include former Providence coach Tim Welsh working a weekly Wednesday night game and former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried joining the network to call SEC telecasts.

Commentators appearing in regular weekly ESPN and ESPN2 time slots -- Big Monday, Super Tuesday, Wednesday Night Hoops and Thursday Night Showcase– plus Saturdays throughout the season (conference assignments can vary):

Saturday Primetime Play-by-play                 Analyst                                  Reporter

Jan. 16 – March 6 Dan Shulman Dick Vitale Erin Andrews

Various Days                            Play-by-play                 Analyst                                  Reporter

Select Games Dan Shulman Dick Vitale Doris Burke

Big Monday Play-by-play                 Analyst                                  Reporter

BIG EAST Sean McDonough Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery
Big 12 Brent Musburger Bob Knight Holly Rowe

Super Tuesday Play-by-play                 Analyst                                  Reporter

Big Ten Dave O’Brien or Brent Musburger Steve Lavin Erin Andrews
SEC Brad Nessler Jimmy Dykes Jeannine Edwards
Various Conferences Mike Patrick Len Elmore

Wednesday Night Hoops Play-by-play                 Analyst                                  Reporter

ACC Mike Patrick Dick Vitale or Len Elmore or Jay Bilas Heather Cox
BIG EAST John Saunders Fran Fraschilla Allen Hopkins
Big 12 Ron Franklin Bill Raftery or Fran Fraschilla or Hubert Davis or Stephen Bardo

Thursday Night Showcase Play-by-play                 Analyst                                  Reporter

BIG EAST Dave Pasch Doris Burke Allen Hopkins
Big Ten Dave O’Brien or Terry Gannon Steve Lavin or Stephen Bardo
West Coast Terry Gannon Stephen Bardo
SEC Brad Nessler or Rece Davis Jimmy Dykes or Hubert Davis

Saturday                                  Play-by-play                 Analyst

BIG EAST Dave Pasch Doris Burke
Big Ten Dave O’Brien Steve Lavin
Big 12 Ron Franklin Fran Fraschilla
Atlantic 10 Bob Wischusen Tim Welsh
ACC Mike Patrick Len Elmore
SEC Brad Nessler Jimmy Dykes

In addition to regular assignments on ESPN and ESPN2, ESPNU will field announcer pairings on select days and conferences, including:

ESPNU Wednesday                  Play-by-play                 Analyst

ACC, BIG EAST, Big 12 Carter Blackburn LaPhonso Ellis
ACC, BIG EAST, Big 12 Dan McLaughlin Tim Welsh

ESPNU Saturday                      Play-by-play                 Analyst

BIG EAST and Big 12 Justin Kutcher Dickey Simpkins
BIG EAST and Big 12 Clay Matvick Stephen Howard

ESPNU Various Games            Play-by-play                 Analyst

Todd Harris, Jim Barbar or Doug Sherman Bob Wenzel, Miles Simon, Mark Adams or Rob Kennedy

ESPNU SEC                             Play-by-play                 Analyst

Rob Stone or Dan McLaughlin Jay Williams or Mark Gottfried

SEC Network                            Play-by-play                 Analyst

Saturday and Wednesday Eric Collins, Carter Blackburn, Dave Lamont, Dave Baker or Dave Neal Joe Dean, Jr., Bob Wenzel, Mark Gottfried or Barry Booker

Big 12 Network                         Play-by-play                 Analyst

Saturday and select weekdays Dave Armstrong or Mitch Holthus Reid Gettys, Bryndon Manzer, Jon Sunvold or Rich Zvosec

BIG EAST Network                   Play-by-play                 Analyst

Saturday Mike Gleason Mike Kelley

ESPN and ESPN2 Studio Shows

ESPN and ESPN2’s studio programs and segments will feature Rece Davis as the primary host with Karl Ravech, John Saunders and Dari Nowkhah rotating duties.

Day                                       Studio Analyst

Big Monday Digger Phelps and Hubert Davis
Super Tuesday Stephen Bardo and Jay Williams
Wednesday Night Hoops Steve Lavin and Jimmy Dykes
Thursday Night Showcase Fran Fraschilla and LaPhonso Ellis
Friday Doug Gottlieb
Saturday College GameDay Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis and Bob Knight
Saturday Doug Gottlieb, Adrian Branch, Jay Williams and Andy Katz

ESPNU’s studio coverage will include Lowell Galindo as the primary host. Most games will be supported by the highlights show SportsCenterU during halftime and pre-and post-game segments.  SEC and Big 12 syndicated action will also include studio coverage

Studio                                      Host                             Analyst

ESPNU Lowell Galindo Adrian Branch or Drew Barry
SEC Whit Watson TBD
Big 12 Doug Bell Reid Gettys or Bryndon Manzer

ESPN’s 2009-10 men’s college basketball coverage on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic,, ESPN Regional Television and ESPN FULL COURT will feature more than 1,100 games. A full schedule will be released within a week.

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