McNabb, Haywood on team-centric Final Four broadcasts
Donovan McNabb, Eduardo Najera and Brendan Haywood can speak freely about their alma maters while working NCAA Final Four broadcasts.
The former Syracuse quarterback, Oklahoma basketball standout and a player from North Carolina's 2000 Final Four team will be among the commentators on team-centric alternate telecasts offered by Turner Sports.
The alternate telecasts have been available for national semifinals the past two seasons and this year will additionally be shown during the national championship game from Houston.
Jim Nantz will call his 26th championship game on the national broadcast, which moves from CBS to cable for the first time and airs on TBS. He will be joined by analysts Grant Hill and Bill Raftery with reporter Tracy Wolfson.
TNT and truTV will feature Team Stream by Bleacher Report, starting Saturday when Oklahoma plays Villanova and North Carolina takes on Syracuse and again during the title game Monday.
Turner Sports introduced the so-called homer broadcasts two years ago when the semifinals shifted to TBS, but they were not used when the NCAA title games were broadcast on CBS. Each of the telecasts includes separate announcing crews calling the games from the perspective of each school. Those commentators were named Tuesday:
- The Villanova broadcast will be led by Scott Graham, a longtime Philadelphia broadcaster who has produced Inside Villanova Basketball with coach Jay Wright the past eight seasons. Former Wildcats and NFL player Brian Finneran will be the analyst, with Villanova reporter Kacie McDonnell as the reporter.
- Chad McKee of Sooner Sports TV will be the play-by-play commentator on the Oklahoma broadcast, along with 12-year NBA veteran Najera, who works as a pregame and postgame analyst for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. Sooner Sports reporter Jessica Coody also will be part of the Oklahoma crew.
- Haywood will be the analyst on the North Carolina telecast with play-by-play announcer Wes Durham, who has worked ACC football, basketball and baseball games for Fox Sports South. Durham's father, Woody, was the radio voice of North Carolina football and basketball for 40 years from 1971 to 2011. The Tar Heels' reporter will be Dwayne Ballen.
- McNabb, an NFL Network and Fox Sports reporter after playing 13 seasons in the NFL, will work with veteran ACC broadcaster Tom Werme and analyst Roosevelt Bouie on the Syracuse broadcast. Bouie was a Syracuse standout from 1976-80, an All-Big East selection as a senior, while playing for current Orange coach Jim Boeheim.