Billy Packer out at CBS

The Miami Herald is reporting that college basketball analyst Billy Packer will leave CBS after a 27-year run to pursue “other projects in basketball.”

Here’s a follow-up to that report from USA TODAY.

That means a more than quarter-century run of providing color for the Final Four also will come to a close, with the newspaper announcing that Clark Kellogg will fill Packer’s spot in the No. 1 seat.

I have always respected Packer’s work, but perhaps because of my geography, I had to agree with many local fans that his slant toward the ACC was more than I could overcome.

One problem I always have with fans criticizing announcing on UK or U of L games is that I didn’t get to hear it — quite often, I was at the game. But having covered the UCLA-Memphis semifinal, I was back in the press room writing and listening to the telecast of the Kansas-North Carolina semifinal when the Jayhawks led 38-12 and Packer said, “This game is over.”

Anybody who has watched much college basketball knew better, and UNC did cut its deficit to only four before eventually falling.

So I doubt if too many tears will be shed by basketball fans in these parts, but I do think that Packer’s more analytical style is important, and will be missed. Far too often, color commentators are focused on outlandish reaction to plays instead of analyzing the game, and Packer did know the game and focused on the game at hand without worrying about promoting other things on the network or resorting to gimmicks.

He is one of the voices that ushered college basketball into the modern broadcasting era, and will be remembered for that contribution.


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