A shrewd gambler and scratch golfer, 'Sir' Charles Barkley is the most brutally honest basketball analyst on the planet. And when it comes to ratings, that whole honestly angle puts big Chuck in an elite class. Love him or loathe him, the man's drawing power is quite phenomenal. So when news broke today that Barkley and his whipping boy were being added to Turner/CBS's March Madness coverage, it sounded like a clever PR move.
That's not to say we weren't excited about the news. We just prefer to withhold our judgment until we find out just how these guys will actually be utilized. Like, is this going to be the studio panel for those damn truTV games, or will they be sitting alongside Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas and Dickie V at the big boy table? There's a big difference between the two. Sandwiching Barkley's appearances in-between re-runs of Forensic Files isn't going to the get the job done, and something of that nature would be a sizable blunder. Don't make a splash like this unless you have the balls to put Barkley in a respectable role. That's all we ask.
In Kenny "The Jet" Smith, college basketball fans are getting an immensely knowledgeable, albeit slightly goofy, commentator who should do well in the position. Chuck's brainless tendencies make Smith the X's and O's guy by default, but he does a respectable job of having a fun time and dropping bits of knowledge along the way. In a weird way he's kinda like the hoops version of Harold Reynolds, minus the excessive hugging of course.
At any rate, Turner and CBS both agreed that we weren't quite reaching our weekly Charles Barkley quota, so you haters out there are stuck with him. Play-by-play man Marv Albert will also call a few early round games as part of the deal. Yesh!
Be sure to remember this post when CBS inevitably pulls the plug in February after a Barkley DUI or something. We kid, we kid...