Behind The Scenes

Burke and O’Brien make their men’s, women’s NCAA basketball title picks

ESPN game announcers Dave O'Brien (l) and Doris Burke have covered both men's and women's college basketball this season.

DENVER — The 2011-12 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons are just two games away from wrapping up for the year.

Veteran ESPN announcers Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke have seen a lot of basketball this season, traveling the country calling both men’s and women’s contests.

At the conclusion of the NCAA women’s national semifinal games in Denver Sunday night, O’Brien and Burke offered their opinions on which teams would come out on top.

The duo will have the call of the women’s national title game Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3 when undefeated Baylor will play 2011 national runner-up Notre Dame.

In addition, ESPN will feature additional content for both the men’s game — being played tonight in New Orleans as Kentucky meets Kansas — and women’s title games across its platforms, including SportsCenter, espnW,, ESPNEWS, WatchESPN and ESPN International.

O’Brien on the women’s national title game
Baylor. Brittney Griner. Special season. They are going to be the first team to ever go 40-0. I still think it will be a great basketball game, because Notre Dame can score.

O’Brien on the men’s game
And for Kentucky for the same reasons. Kentucky also has a player of the year in Anthony Davis. They have been on a mission all season long, and they appear unstoppable. I think that will be a terrific basketball game. It is a great way to wind down the basketball season, for both the men and the women.

Burke on the women’s national title game
I think the Baylor Lady Bears will go 40-0 for a few reasons. One: Odyssey Sims is a great matchup for [Notre Dame’s] Skylar Diggins. She can negate some of Skylar’s effectiveness. Two: Brittney Griner remains a force. Baylor has long, athletic players at every position to deal with the best offensive team still standing. I like Baylor on the strength of their defense, but they are going to have to score more than the 57 they put on the board [to beat Stanford on Sunday in one national semifinal] to win.

On the men’s game
Kentucky will win the men’s national championship. They are the most talented team. Coach [John] Calipari has done an outstanding job coaching them. I think talent wins, and Calipari wins his first national title.

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