(CBS Minnesota/CBS Local)– Jim Nantz has called many magical moments in his broadcasting career, but some of his best have come during the NCAA Tournament.
Nantz was court side last year when UMBC shocked the world as the first #16 seed to beat a #1 seed. That game represents why Nantz loves the Big Dance.
“It’s the unexpected turn of events. You just can’t ever predict what’s going to happen,” said Nantz in an interview with CBS Local at CBS & Turner Sports NCAA Tournament Media Day. “Last year at this time, we’re going into the tournament and Virginia looks like a Final Four team. They end up being the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed and I was there to call it. The stories, they write themselves.”
Nantz will call tournament games this year with Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson. The CBS Sports play by play announcer has always been a fan of his partner Hill.
“He was one of my favorite players I ever covered. He was just such a good guy. Back in those days, my regular season obligations were different. I had a lot of Duke regular season games and I was around Grant a lot and that team that won back to back championships. I was always struck by how impressive, engaging, kind and smart he was. He is the perfect embodiment of what an NCAA athlete should look like.”
While Nantz works with a great crew today, he still misses his time with his former partner Billy Packer. Nantz says there was so much more to Packer than just college basketball.
“The games were a blast and he had such an amazing ability to see things I’m incapable of pointing out. I miss the evenings where we would go out to dinner. It was never about basketball. Billy is a genius. He invented things. He held rights to Notre Dame football internationally. He created cycling events around the world. He has a great business sense and he had a profound influence on my life.”