As if March didn’t have enough madness, there’s the possibility that viewers could be in for even more of it this coming spring.
While Charles Barkley has worked the NCAA tournament for Turner/CBS the last two seasons as a studio analyst (and on location at the Final Four) he’s yet to do so as a color commentator.
According to Awful Announcing there’s a chance that Barkley could work games with Dick Vitale, which would make for an interesting pairing for viewers as well as for the play-by-play announcer chosen to work with them.
CBS has previously asked ESPN if it could use Vitale on its NCAA tournament coverage. ESPN has declined, saying, in effect, that Vitale is a franchise player.
But John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president for production, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday that “we are interested” in letting Vitale and Barkley call action together.
Both Barkley and Vitale have voiced their desire in the past to work together, with Sir Charles doing so in an interview with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. Barkley also voiced his need for something more, as the majority of his work for Turner has been done in studio as part of the Inside the NBA crew.
“I love my job. I love the people I work with. And I’m going to try to do things to keep me engaged,” Barkley said in the interview. “But I have four years left on my current deal and to be honest with you, it’s going to be a struggle for me to make it for the whole four years.
“I really don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this. I need something more, or something else to do to be honest with you.”
There are hurdles to leap over in regards to the television networks, but as Barkley said in a USA Today story on the possibility that they’re “all in the business of promoting college basketball.” CBS has approached ESPN in the past in regards to using Vitale for its NCAA tournament coverage but was turned down.
Could Wildhack’s comment, despite Turner/CBS issuing a statement that it was pleased with its current lineup of announcers, open the door for Dickie V to call the sport’s biggest games? We’ll see, and if it takes a partnership with Barkley to make that happen then so be it.