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Kevin Kugler Needs to Be Careful When Making Final Call of Duke-North Carolina

“On your [final] call, Kevin, make sure you don’t say that whoever wins just won the championship.”

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When people think of college basketball, they often ponder over hypothetical matchups, especially those in the NCAA Tournament. Watching Saint Peter’s run to the Elite Eight round would have likely been enough of a story to signify this year’s tournament, but college basketball fans have now shifted their attention towards a situation that has been looming in the background since the tournament began in 1939.

The Duke Blue Devils will face the North Carolina Tar Heels for the 258th time in history. However, it will be their first-ever tournament meeting, let alone in the Final Four with a trip to the national championship game on the line.

Fans from Durham to Chapel Hill are eagerly anticipating this showdown, set to take place Saturday night from the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The home stadium of the New Orleans Saints has a basketball capacity of 74,000, and there will unquestionably be no open seats. The excitement extends far beyond North Carolina, though, as fans from all across the United States and the world look forward to the game, set to begin just after 8:45 ET.

One of the broadcasters set to bring the game to listeners is Kevin Kugler, the lead play-by-play announcer for college basketball on Westwood One. This long-awaited game has dominated the sports conversation all week and as a national broadcaster, he knows it is a very big deal to be on the call for the game.

“If you’re someone who’s doing this game on a national level and you can’t say this is a big deal, you probably shouldn’t be doing these games,” Kugler said while being interviewed on The Mac Attack Thursday on WFNZ in Charlotte. “Whether you’re a fan in North Carolina of these, or you’re someone who watches college sports from afar, this is a huge deal.”

The storyline, aside from Duke and North Carolina finally meeting in an NCAA Tournament matchup, is that it could be the final game on the bench for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Kugler knows that the Tar Heels’ fan base would love nothing more than to spoil Duke’s tournament run and end the career of the renowned Coach K after defeating the Blue Devils in their final regular-season home game in early March.

“If you’re a North Carolina fan… you have the chance to end his career with a loss to your team in the Final Four,” said Kugler. “That has to be the lottery ticket for any North Carolina fan, and if you’re a Duke fan, you get the chance to send Coach K out in the National Championship game and, oh, by the way, you get to step on your rival on the way there.”

This year’s Final Four contains seven of the national championship winners since 2008, which happens to be the same year Kugler began calling Final Four games on Westwood One. Sure, the matchups could turn out not to be as competitive or engaging to fans as is being anticipated, but it could also end up being one of the most storied semifinal rounds in tournament history.

“This is the blue blood of the blue blood Final Four, and people can argue ‘Villanova is not a blue blood,’ [but] Villanova’s a blue blood now,” said Kugler. “Maybe [they are] not a blue blood from the standpoint of 1984, although they won the title in 1985, but they’re not a blue blood in the sense of Duke, North Carolina, [and] Kansas. They are a blue blood in the sense of success though, and Jay Wright has…”

And then the interview suddenly stopped. Kugler had been dropped from the show, presumably because of a bad signal or loss of phone battery. (Did he use up the battery calling last week’s Providence-Kansas game via cell phone?) But Chris McClain and Travis “T-Bone” Hancock had other ideas as to why they had just lost their guest.

“Did he get dropped because he started talking [about] Villanova?,” asked McClain. “Was it not allowed? Too much talk about one of the other teams in the Final Four other than Duke or UNC.”

Kugler quickly re-joined the program and said what he supposedly meant to say before being cut off of the program.

“I’m sorry – I should have just said, ‘The only thing that matters in this Final Four is Duke-North Carolina. Then you guys wouldn’t have hung up on me,” he quipped.

The hosts also made it a point to give Kugler a valuable reminder before calling perhaps one of the most anticipated college basketball games in NCAA Tournament history.

“It is going to be a real buzzkill when the winning team fan base realizes they [have] to play one more game in order to win a title,” said McClain.

“On your [final] call, Kevin, make sure you don’t say that whoever wins just won the championship,” said Hancock.

“[I’ve] got to write that down,” said Kugler. “‘Not the championship.’ All right, good. I got that down now. I should be fine.”

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Damon Amendolara: Why Does Tom Brady Want To Call Games?

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving.”

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady is headed to FOX. According to Damon Amendolara, there is no question who is getting the better end of that deal.

The network’s interest in Brady has been well-known for months. Still, CBS Sports Radio’s morning man cannot believe it is actually happening. He said Tuesday morning that he can’t understand why Brady would want to pursue a media career after his playign days end.

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving,” Amendolara said. “I just always felt like Brady’s post-playing career was going to be pushing nutrition, pushing TB12 brand, pushing his apparel brand and doing kind of elite media work.”

A media career for Tom Brady is something Amendolara said he assumed would happen off-camera. He pointed to the Religion of Sport production studio Brady co-owns as an example of what he would expect Brady to want to be involved in.

Broadcasters work more Sundays during the NFL season than players do. No matter how good the games are, Damon Amendolara said that it is a grind he could not believe Tom Brady was willing to sign up for.

“They’ll get the number one games, but you still gotta do 17 or 18 of them before you get to the playoffs and not every one of them is a sizzler.”

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Ike Reese: ‘It’s Up To Us To Let Ray Didinger Stay Retired’

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

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Ray Didinger is feeling a lot of love from his WIP colleagues after announcing his retirement on Sunday. He will still be on the station through the end of the month, but on Monday, nearly the entire full-time air staff of the radio station was paying tribute to him.

Jon Marks and Ike Reese took time out of their afternoon drive show on Monday to replay Didinger’s announcement. Marks said that it was “as thoughtful as everything that he does.” He doesn’t doubt that Didinger is at peace with the decision.

Reese joked that it was good to hear PD Rod Lakin was not responsible for this. He also said that he was happy to hear that this was not a health-related retirement. According to the former Eagles linebacker though, that means it would be really easy for Didinger to want to abandon his plans if given the chance.

“We obviously know how much Ray Didinger means to us. And this WIP family, just like the Comcast Sports family I’m sure, is important to him,” Ike Reese said. “I’d imagine he would have a tough time saying no. That is why you leave it up to us to don’t bother him. Don’t put him in that position. Let him enjoy retirement.”

He knows that it will be hard for Didinger to not stay ready for a media appearance diuring the football season.

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

Both Marks and Reese said they hope that they would not hear from Didinger until at least the 2023 Eagles season and that Ray and his wife use that time to fully enjoy their new freedom.

Jon Marks reminded everyone that Ray Didinger is still an author with products to sell. If they really miss him, they can always go to a book signing.

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Mat Smith and Nate Jackson: ESPN Anger Over Nikola Jokic MVP ‘Is Garbage’

“He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has won the NBA MVP award for the second consecutive season. Jokic secured the award ahead of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.

ESPN NBA analysts Brian Windhorst and Tim Legler got the attention of Mat Smith and Nate Jackson on 104.3 The Fan in Denver Monday. Both Legler and Windhorst felt like Embiid was the MVP and sounded downright offended that he was not named the winner.

Legler said Embiid carried the Sixers and had a firm grip on the award from early February through the end of the regular season.

But Smith, who was filling in for Chad Brown on Monday, argued that the same things could be said for Jokic, adding that Jokic did more with less star power on the Nuggets roster. He didn’t understand how Embiid was Legler’s clear choice over Jokic.

“There’s so many different reasons why that specifically is garbage from Legler,” Smith said.

Jackson said Jokic is the Rodney Dangerfield of NBA players and made the point that it’s a continuation of a trend. For what ever reason, the national media overlooks the 27-year-old Serbian superstar.

“They don’t pay attention to it, they’re quick to write off this guy because they don’t appreciate his style of play,” he said. “He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

Windhorst explained he went with Embiid based on what advanced statistics were saying. Smith said Windhorst basically laid out why Jokic was most deserving of MVP.

“He just gave every reason why Jokic should win and said, ‘Well I voted for Embiid, and I’m not taking it back,'” Smith said. He added that it was puzzling why so many voters were against Jokic. “These guys don’t like Joker. He’s not likable nationally, and why that is I’m not sure.”

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