BY ADAM KUFFNER
The most exciting game of the young college basketball season took place Saturday in Bloomington, Ind. The University of Kentucky and Indiana University, two high-profile universities rich with tradition, went to battle on ESPN. Kentucky, ranked No. 1 in the nation, faced a tough road test against an undefeated and unranked Indiana Hoosier team on the rise behind head coach Tom Crean.
The game exceeded expectations as there was excitement play after play. Dan Shulman provided the play-by-play commentary while the famous Dick Vitale served as analyst. Vitale, known for his passion for the game of basketball, proved his love for the game after huge plays. Shulman added some excitement to his voice, as well. As Kentucky came roaring back late in the game, Vitale made an important note that Indiana was not getting the ball to its freshman phenom Cody Zeller. This analysis came at a perfect time as viewers were able to take notice of the key piece missing from the Hoosier puzzle, which allowed Kentucky to take the lead with under two minutes to play. Nonetheless, the Wildcats missed free throws down the stretch, and Indiana’s Christian Watford drilled a three at the buzzer to give Indiana the upset victory 73-72.
ESPN did a great job of covering the post-game craziness that packed Assembly Hall. Shulman and Vitale went speechless following the three to let fans at home take in the unbelievable atmosphere as Hoosier fans stormed the court. The production crew replayed the game-winning three from multiple camera angles to show how different people reacted to the play. For example, both coaches’ reactions were displayed and a wide shot of Assembly Hall showed fans storming the court following the basket.
ESPN concluded a great broadcast by waiting to interview Indiana head coach Tom Crean following the huge win. Crean was celebrating and had trouble making his way to the announcers’ table through the mass chaos on the court. Nonetheless, ESPN’s wait proved to be a smart move as Crean delivered a solid interview by mentioning how big this win was for his program
This game was a great game to watch as a regular sports fan who was neutral in regards to wanting a specific team to win the game. The whole ESPN crew helped make this game even more exciting than it already was. The whole production was extremely successful to capture one of the best games of the 2011 sports year.