BY ADAM KUFFNER
Two commentators were in positions they are not used to being in for Friday night’s game between Belmont and Duke on ESPNU, the season opener for both teams. Mike Breen called the play-by-play for this game. Breen, an NBA commentator for ESPN, stepped into the college basketball world Friday with the NBA Lockout still looming over professional basketball. However, the change of scenery didn’t affect Breen as he called a great game.
Doris Burke also found herself in a different position. She has been seen on ESPN doing play-by-play and sideline reporting for college football and college basketball games. Friday, she served as color commentator alongside Breen. The analysis for Friday’s game was the best I have ever seen out of Burke. She was very thorough in every analysis, adding how certain players have improved from last year. Speaking with comfort and confidence, it seemed as if this was a natural position for Burke. I think the sport of college basketball and the position of color analyst is the right position for Doris Burke. Remembering games where she was play-by-play for college football, I felt as if she seemed out of position. She fits better in an analyst role whether it is in the booth or on the sidelines.
On the production side, ESPNU highlighted Duke Coach Mike Krzyzweski inching closer to Bob Knight’s record of career wins (902). During the telecast, flashbacks of monumental Krzyzweski wins were shown; moreover, a member of the United States military mentioned how Coach K has inspired his leadership techniques. This piece fit perfect with Coach K being a former point guard at Army along with Friday being Veterans’ Day. Also, to make the production better, I noticed ESPN has added a “Bonus” section to its scoreboard under each team’s score. This brand new feature will be used to notify viewers when each team is in the penalty to shoot free throws on non-shooting fouls.
Duke, ranked 6th in the nation on the AP poll to start the season, pulled off a close 77-76 victory over a scrappy Belmont team who will be one of the top mid-major teams in the nation this year. The Blue Devils victory gives Coach K win number 901 in his career; he is now one victory away from tying his former coach, Bob Knight, for the career win mark in Division I Men’s college basketball. The Coach K storyline along with two commentators who stepped into different roles excelled to make the broadcast a success.