Smooth-sounding Clark Kellogg is easing his way into his role as CBS’ lead basketball analyst as the successor for veteran commentator Billy Packer, who had worn out his welcome with the network in covering 34 consecutive Final Fours. Kellogg and play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz will broadcast games from the Memphis Regional, including Oklahoma vs. Syracuse at 6:27 tonight. "It’s kind of like being an assistant and going to head coach, or being a guy who has been part of the team to being a main player,” Kellogg said of the transition. "It just takes time.” A former Ohio State basketball star who played five seasons for the Indiana Pacers, Kellogg, 47, won’t ignite controversy the way Packer did. His pro-ACC bias and constant whining about college basketball had worn thin on some viewers. Kellogg learned he would be joining Nantz this season in the fall of 2007. The news didn’t leak out all of last season, allowing Packer to avoid the fanfare of a farewell tour. "My style has always been one of enthusiasm, real passion and energy and being a good teammate,” Kellogg said, "and trying not to overwhelm the game while having fun at the same time.” The previous 12 years, Kellogg served as CBS’ main studio analyst, which called for marathon work days early in the NCAA Tournament. "I missed seeing all of the games that went on last weekend, but I did not miss the length of the days — back to back to back to back,” he said. The Memphis Regional isn’t the only games Kellogg will be closely following today. His son, Nick, a 6-2 junior guard for Columbus DeSales, is playing in the Ohio High School Final Four. He likely will be the third of Kellogg’s children to play NCAA Division I sports, following Talisa, a four-year volleyball player for Georgia Tech, and Alex, a 6-7 forward who has played two seasons at Providence. "Nick is starting to garner strong interest at the Division I level,” Kellogg said.
Q&A with Clark Kellogg
Two questions for the CBS college basketball analyst: What are the keys to the OU-Syracuse game?
"It’s going to be an interesting matchup. I look at Syracuse as a team that is playing some of its best basketball lately. Defensively, they tend to play zone most of the time, but they have played a little more man-to-man this year. They have enough size to perhaps go man-to-man at Blake Griffin and they also have terrific perimeter players. It is a very explosive offensive team and a better defensive team than people give them credit for being. That being said they will have their hands full with Blake and Taylor Griffin. Those two in tandem are really physically powerful and gifted frontline players. They are a combination of brute, strength and finesse and high basketball IQ. ... I know this sounds simplistic, but ultimately it comes down to execution, low turnovers, getting the kind of shots you want to get and then who’s going to control the paint. Obviously, Blake is the kind of guy who can take over a game and (Syrcause guard) Jonny Flynn is the same kind of guy.” Is Blake Griffin your pick for player of the year?
"Yes. To me he’s been the most brilliantly consistent and impactful player in college basketball this year. He has not had any significant down periods, other than the time he had to be away with the concussion.”