NEW YORK -- Even Charles Barkley would admit his strength is not hard core college basketball analysis. Freed from pregame breakdowns and the tight production of the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, Barkley emerged Thursday across the CBS and Turner platforms as his usual proactive voice.
During halftime of West Virginia's win over Clemson on CBS, Barkley called out Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton for the timing of his comments on Tennessee Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl. Hamilton said in a radio interview Wednesday that "the jury was still out" on Pearl. "Hamilton should get fired," Barkley said. "First of all, for hiring Lane Kiffin. That's what he should get fired for. But that's a disgrace to say that the day before the tournament game."
Turner Sports president David Levy said the feedback he received Thursday on Barkley's performance was fantastic, but where you can expect a change in Barkley's status next year is on the Selection Show. The sports blogosphere and critics correctly pointed out that Barkley was out of his element on that show and Levy indicated Thursday that a change will be made in 2012. (Turner Sports is in partnership with SI.com and runs the site's business operations.)
"I would work with [CBS Sports president] Sean [McManus] and make sure we both agree on it but from my quick perspective, I don't think we need six guys on the Selection Show," Levy said. "Charles was wrong for the show in the sense that there is so much information that we are trying to get out.
"What Charles is really good at is talking about the action of plays, what happened in the game, and the coaching. We didn't get to that because it's an hour show. If we made it a two-hour show, it might be different. But I think if it [the Selection Show] stays in that format as an hour show, I don't think it is free flowing enough for both Charles and Kenny [Smith]. I thought it was too many people trying to get too much in."