Friday, March 24, 2006

Patriots are excellent, Verne you know what I mean? (Friday Column)

Jim Williams: Patriots are excellent, Verne,
know what I mean?
Jim Williams, The Examiner
Mar 24, 2006 7:00 AM (3 mins ago)
The NCAA Tournament will get its true Cinderella story from right here in the Washington
CBS is well aware the winner of the George Mason-Wichita State matchup tonight at Verizon
Center will put one of the mid majors in the Elite Eight, one game away from the hallowed ground
of the Final Four.
So the network sent two of their best storytellers — Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery — to D.C. to
call the action.
I had a chance to speak to Verne about the hometown Patriots and the D.C. regional.
Jim Williams: Well, you get the Bracket Buster rematch between George Mason and Wichita State.
What are your thoughts about this as a national game?
Verne Lundquist: I have been doing college basketball for over 30 years and the NCAA
Tournament for 23 years and it is the games like the Patriots and the Shockers that gives this event
its magic. There are so many wonderful stories to be told and it is games like this that I think fans of
college basketball love the most.
JW: How do you rate the D.C. regional?
VL: Wide open. I mean, conventional wisdom says that UConn is the best team in the tournament.
But if we have learned one thing it is that we now have a much more level playing field. The teams
like George Mason have their kids for the entire four years, while elite teams have their star players
for a year and sometimes two. That gives the mid majors a chance to compete and the differences in
the No. 1 and the 16 seeds in this tournament have gotten a lot closer in recent years. So yes we
could indeed see the team from the D.C. Region being the surprise Final Four team.
CBS 9 will have the local doubleheader with George Mason playing at 7 p.m., followed by the
Georgetown-Florida meeting in Minneapolis.
Big time local interest
Last week we had all the local TV stations and Comcast SportsNet covering the local teams. But
this week, things went into monster coverage. George Mason and Georgetown are getting Redskins
like-coverage. It helps that the Patriots are playing in D.C. but every sports department will descend
on Minneapolis as well to cover the Hoyas.

Mets New Network update...

Cablevision of New York signed a deal with SportsNet New York and so the Mets will be seen on all the major cable companies in the Big Apple area. Too bad we can't get that kind of help with the Nationals in DC !!
Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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