PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tips off in about 18 hours.
KDKA-TV can’t wait to bring it all to you, although it will look and sound a bit different this year.
The last time we saw the men’s tournament was two years ago when a packed house watched Virginia capture the title. This year, because of coronavirus concerns, the crowds will be thinner and the entire tournament will take place at six venues in central Indiana.
CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz says Indianapolis is ready.
“That city, with just two months’ notice, is so prepared to take on this incredible endeavor,” said Nantz. “I think we are going to appreciate March Madness more than ever.”
Centralizing the production makes it a bit easier on CBS Sports, but covering these games while dealing with COVID protocols can be difficult.
“The challenge is you’re not going to be able to do what we love to do in this tournament. One of those things is listening into those huddles,” said CBS Sports sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson. “But one of the nice things about reporters and this tournament is the reporters and we tell stories that nobody knows about.”
One of those stories is the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse, where the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed.
“The fact that we have Hinkle in the first game of the tournament on Friday, that is a real thrill for me,” said Nantz. “I’ve never been there and I’m into it big time.”
But regardless of where the games take place, the CBS crew is looking forward to bringing you as much basketball as possible.
“Everything that goes on in this tournament, you can’t predict it but you know it’s going to happen,” said CBS Sports analyst Grant Hill. “There’s something special, something magical that occurs. I’m excited and looking forward to it. It will be a great journey.”
The first round tips off on CBS Friday at 12:15 p.m. ET when Virginia Tech plays Florida.