As we enter late February, college basketball is starting to take center stage in the world of sports. The regular season is winding down and March Madness is right around the corner. In approximately three and a half weeks, Selection Sunday will be here to kick off the best postseason event in all of sports: The NCAA Tournament.
Every year, the NCAA Tournament produces memorable upsets, rising stars and terrific storylines. 68 teams fighting for one common goal with 67 games of thrilling excitement. There truly is nothing better. It’s the best three weeks of the year as far I’m concerned.
Oftentimes, we remember and pay tribute to the great players, coaches and teams who make the Tournament the national phenomenon that it is. And deservedly so. Yet, we forget to honor and recognize the broadcasters whose voices tell us the amazing story that is March Madness. As the Tournament inches ever closer, I wanted to take the time pay my respect and show my appreciation to one of the greatest college basketball personalities of all time, Bill Raftery.
When Raftery left ESPN for Fox Sports, I was deeply saddened. In fact, probably more saddened than I should’ve been. My cable package, of course, doesn’t have Fox Sports 1 so the times I’d have the privilege of hearing the legend broadcast were about to greatly diminish. Thankfully, Raftery kept his gig with CBS and that meant he would still call games during the NCAA Tournament.
The best sporting event in the world deserves to have the best announcer in the world. And with Raftery, it does.
The NCAA Tournament is filled with incredible finishes and countless Kodak moments. What a fan wants in an announcer is someone who is knowledgeable, passionate and full of energy to guide them through these moments and provide as exciting of an atmosphere in their living room as possible. The 70-year-old Raftery fits the bill in all of the above. His love for the game is so apparent and his great passion and enthusiastic personality is infectious.
On top of all of this, no one is more goofy and has more fun doing their job than Raftery, and that makes his broadcasts all the more enjoyable to watch. His catchphrases are legendary and will surely live on forever.
So as we near the NCAA Tournament, I can’t wait to be riveted by the iconic voice of Bill Raftery again.
“Send it in!” “A little kiss!” “ONIONS!”
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27