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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.”

Derek Futterman

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Kevin Kugler

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.”

Sports Radio News

670 The Score Hosts Congratulate Mike Mulligan on Award From Loyola Chicago

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

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670 The Score morning host Mike Mulligan is being awarded the Father Finnegan Memorial Award from Loyola University Chicago this weekend, and some of his colleagues congratulated him on the air Friday morning.

The award is given “in recognition of outstanding humanitarianism and service to youth through athletics”. Mulligan — a 1984 graduate of Loyola University Chicago — will receive the award Saturday during the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony during a game against George Mason.

“Tremendous award,” co-host David Haugh said. “Proud moment for the show. Proud moment for you family.”

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

“That is fantastic,” Laurence Holmes said, while his co-host, Dan Bernstein, continued to say “wow”. “Congratulations. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. You should be proud.”

“I’m being celebrated for being old,” Mully joked.

“That’s not what that award says,” countered Holmes. “It says something completely different.”

The Mully & Haugh host eventually admitted he was appreciative of the award bestowed upon him by his alma mater.

“It’s a good thing. I’m very moved by it. Sister Jean will be there,” Mully said. “She has a book coming out with — I think — Seth Davis.”

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Tony Romo Regressing Because He Loves Golf

“I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

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The performance of CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has been a hot-button topic in sports media circles, especially after a widely-regarded lackluster performance during the AFC Championship Game. Colin Cowherd believes he knows why Romo has regressed.

During an episode of The Colin Cowherd Podcast, the sports radio host claimed golf is the reason behind Romo’s regression.

“Romo wants to be on the Tour. He literally wants to be on the Tour,” Cowherd said. “And what’s the first thing Aaron Rodgers does in the off-season? He goes and golfs, he loves it. Both, by the way, great golfers, especially Romo. But I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

“Tony wants to be on the PGA Tour — but he likes the paycheck from CBS.”

Cowherd also added he hasn’t hired potential employees in the past if they told him they loved golf during the interview process, saying he has a theory that as men age they “get addicted to golf”.

“They’re on PGATour.com, they’re putting in the backyard, they’re thinking about it at work, they’re scheduling a trip to Scotland and they lose sight of their other job,” Cowherd said.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio Adds Lakers Games As LeBron James Nears Scoring Record

“As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.”

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The NBA’s all-time scoring record has stood for a long time. Kareem Abdul-Jabar, the current record holder, retired in 1989. LeBron James is on the verge of overtaking him though, and ESPN Radio wants to make sure it is part of history when it happens.

ESPN Radio has added two upcoming Lakers games to its schedule. The network will carry the national feeds of games on February 7 and 9. The first game is against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The second is against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both games will be played in Los Angeles with a 9:30 PM Eastern tip. Marc Kestecher and Vince Carter will be on the call for both games.

As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.

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