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The Top 10 Analysts In College Basketball

Clark Kellogg

One Great Season

When you're young, you watch your favorite teams on television and you don't think of much other than whether your Cavaliers, Buckeyes or Bearcats won their games over the weekend.

But you get a little older, and suddenly your dad starts talking to you about those who call the games on TV and radio. And then you eventually find yourself talking about those play-by-play guys or their color partners as often as you talk about the games themselves. The broadcast has become as much of a game these days as the buzzer beater, the highlight-reel dunk and the final score. And of course the post-swat bicep flex.

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Consequently, we can't help but develop strong opinions about the talking heads, so I've come up with a Top 10 list of basketball analysts -- in no particular order -- for you to contemplate:

Clark Kellogg -- The Sade of college hoops analysts. He was once the best analyst in the game, but seems to rely on the same tricks he used five or 10 years ago. Still a smooth operator, though.

Doug Gottlieb -- Wish he did more games, but he's splendid in the studio. Always has excellent insights on both the game and many of its excellent players.

Bill Raftery

Bill Raftery -- What list would be complete without him? No one can pull off "Send it in, Jerome", "The kiss" or a high-pitched "Tootsies" the way Raft can. He's a college basketball staple.

Seth Davis -- A lot like Gottlieb. Smart, young, good-looking and always has strong stuff to share.

Jay Bilas -- Kind of a poor man's Kirk Herbstreit. I'm not crazy about his commercials, but he, too, is smart, and ESPN's Big Monday trio of himself, Raft and Sean McDonough always is entertaining.

Hubert Davis -- I think where many analysts shy away from speaking critically, Davis can be candid and I applaud him for it.

Steve Lavin -- The academic of the bunch. He and Brent Musberger often team up for ESPN's Big Ten tilts, and though he's half Musberger's age, Lav can drop a half-century-old pop culture reference better than any of his peers. Also observes the game well and articulates it intelligently.

Jimmy Dykes -- Seems like Dykes is the only one who regularly gets his hands dirty in the field before a broadcast, and whatever his angle is, it's always right on. Just last night, 5-foot-9 South Carolina guard  Devan Downey switched from a waist-high dribble to an ankle-high dribble to beat a defender in the Gamecocks' upset of No. 1 Kentucky. Earlier in the day, Dykes and an ESPN camera crew got some alone time with Downey and shot from interesting angles the high-scoring guard's very effective high-low bounce.

Stephen Bardo -- Doesn't do much glamorous and might not have an authoritative voice, but he's steady, knowledgeable and has made great improvement the last few years.

Len Elmore -- Hard not to love watching the Big East Tournament every March with the New York native on the call in his own backyard.

Also receiving consideration: Dick Vitale -- I don't hate him like many fans do, but he's a little too much of a cheerleader. In his mind, every coach is among the best in the country. He hasn't said anything critical since the days of Lawrence Funderburke, and that was a hot-mic-during-a-commercial accident. But overall, he and his passion are great for the sport.

Would never receive consideration: Digger Phelps -- Has cornered the market on talking and saying nothing. The only thing I hate about the month of March is hearing Digger say, "get it done" at least 400 times.

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Reader Comments (8)

A "Have You Seen Me Lately" could also go to Billy Packer, who is one of the most arrogant men to ever hit the airwaves.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLee Gerowitz

good list but i did hear Jay Bilas say John Wall is more explosive than Derrick Rose....just for saying that he should be at the bottom of this list. The dunk Rose had here in PHX over Dragic was as explosive as i have seen in many years. Jay tends to hype current players over recent college players just because they are the hot topic at the current time.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCreighton

Seth Davis=good looking: is that really necessary?

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermy jacket

Creighton: Rose certainly is explosive, but i haven't yet heard anything about Wall that's undeserving. His quickness is off the charts. Maybe he looks quicker than Rose because he's smaller.

And Jacket: Yes, good looks make one a good analyst.

January 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterJohn P. Wise

Al McGuire was still the best...I give it to Raftery now,He has as much passion as Vitale but no where near as over the top.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBearcatnaTion

Bearcat: Good point; gotta love McGuire and yes, Raftery is the more enjoyable version of Vitale.

And Lee: seriously, where is Packer?

January 27, 2010 | Registered CommenterJohn P. Wise

I like Gus Johnson in tight games, but not screaming in a 20 point blowout.

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