The NCAA Tournament will begin on March 13 with the First Four games taking place in Dayton, Ohio. While the tournament is sure to be loaded with the same upsets and ridiculous moments that we've seen in years past, there will be one noticeable absence in this years tournament.
Gus Johnson was released by CBS last May when the two sides could not agree on a new contract. While Johnson's absence was rarely noticed during the National Football League season, there is one thing that's certain: Gus Johnson is the soundtrack of March Madness.
There are different opinions about Johnson's work. Some people need to have a bottle of Tylenol ready to go when they see that Johnson is calling their favorite team's game. For myself, I know that if the game is anywhere close, there's going to be one epic soundtrack involved.
Think about most of your memories surrounding the NCAA tournament. There is a good chance that one of them has Gus Johnson screaming in the background.
Whether it's "The slipper still fits!" for Gonzaga's 1999 Sweet 16 victory over Florida or "Heartbreak city!" several years later after UCLA's comeback against the Bulldogs, Johnson's highlights are plastered all over March Madness.
That's something that can't be said for CBS' current lead broadcaster, Jim Nantz. While Nantz can hold his own covering Tiger Woods on the fairways of Augusta, his work on the basketball court leaves something to be desired.
(NOTE: This is where I would leave a clip of Nantz's work, but his clips have been so lackluster that there is no trace of a memorable college basketball moment with Nantz in the background. Interesting.)
March Madness is supposed to be filled with chaos and the intensity that could only be matched if you were watching a steel cage wrestling match from the front row. It's not supposed to sound like it was read off a script by your creepy neighbor. ("Hello, friends?" Really?)
So while the NCAA Tournament will have just as many compelling storylines and upsets, it just is not going to sound the same without Gus Johnson.