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CBS crew has many fond Indianapolis Final Four memories

CBS’ Clark Kellogg has had a front-row seat for Indianapolis’ metamorphosis from a sleepy Midwest city to a thriving pro town that also serves as the NCAA‘s home. The Indiana Pacers drafted Kellogg with the eighth overall pick in 1983 when Indianapolis was still called “Naptown.” But that was before the city was able to lure the Colts from Baltimore and attract many amateur events. The crowning jewel got the NCAA to move its headquarters from Kansas City in 1999.

“Several key folks saw sports as a way to drive economic development and enhance the city. “That was a fantastic period of growth based on the vision and leadership of some key people. I mean, the Indiana Sports Corporation is the forerunner for the sports commissions you see across the country now,” Kellogg said. Indianapolis had already hosted three Final Fours before becoming the NCAA‘s home base, but the contract guaranteed the city would be a part of the regular rotation.


This is Indianapolis’ eighth Final Four and the seventh that CBS will broadcast. This will be the sixth that Kellogg has worked as an analyst courtside or as part of the pregame crew. Kellogg’s best memory was being the courtside analyst in 2010 when Duke held off Butler’s Cinderella bid in the championship game.

“The electricity of Butler there, the theme of David versus Goliath, there was so much there that resonated on so many levels, but the excitement throughout the city was unlike any I’ve experienced,” he said. “We rarely have a hometown team in the Final Four in the home city, so I’m sure being in Indiana amplified the level.

“Plus, it was a dramatic game that came down to a last-second shot (Gordon Hayward’s miracle half-court shot nearly going in). You can’t make this stuff up, and when it happened, it’s hard to forget.”

Jim Nantz is doing his 30th Final Four. His first was in the old RCA Dome in 1991, when Duke upset undefeated UNLV in the semifinals and Kanas in the final. He also counts 2010 as his favorite memory. Nantz said he drove around the Butler campus the day of the game and then found an open door at Hinkle Fieldhouse to go in and take a look.

“You could feel something magical happening with that team throughout the ride to the championship game. If Hayward’s shot had dropped, it would have been the greatest finish in tournament history and maybe in any sports championship history,” he said.

Grant Hill was on the 1991 Duke team that gave Mike Krzyzewski his first of five NCAA championships. As a CBS analyst, his first Final Four was in 2015 when his alma mater beat Wisconsin in the championship game. It was also the last time Indianapolis hosted until this year.

“Aside from the fact that I had a horrible haircut that I’m often reminded of when they replay moments from that year (in 1991), that was a special time,” Hill said. “Many great memories from different segments in my basketball life.” Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson have fond memories from Arizona’s title run in 1997. Raftery was the radio analyst when the Wildcats denied Kentucky’s bid for repeat titles with an overtime victory.

Wolfson was a senior at the University of Michigan and a production assistant throughout the tournament. She was near the Arizona band during the championship game, telling them when they could play and when the network was going into and out of commercials. Raftery was close friends with Arizona coach Lute Olson and remembered the players messing with Olson’s perfectly combed gray hair.

However, Wolfson’s affinity for Arizona went a bit too far after they won.

“I took to this Arizona team. I just found them fun,” she said. “As soon as the game ended, I remember running onto the court celebrating with them, and I think it was (producer) Bob Dekas screaming in my ear, ‘Get off the court, Tracy.’ It was a special one, and it’s fun to come full circle now.”

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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