Most nights when tuning into college basketball coverage on ESPN networks, the broadcast team is made up of a play-by-play commentator, an analyst and a reporter.
Tonight, however, that formula is being reworked for San Francisco’s matchup against No. 2 Gonzaga (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2) as two game analysts – Fran Fraschilla and Jimmy Dykes – will team up to provide analysis from GU’s McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.
“We’re always looking for new and fun ways to change things up,” said David Ceisler, ESPN senior coordinating producer. “For this game, it’s two analysts who know [Gonzaga coach] Mark Few well and will have great insight into one of the top programs in the nation.”
Front Row asked the duo’s usual booth partners what advice they’d give Fraschilla and Dykes.
“My advice for Fran is to always make Jimmy feel like he knows a lot more about basketball than he actually does,” said Bob Wischusen, who calls Big Monday matchups with Fraschilla and reporter Holly Rowe.
He added: “My advice for Jimmy is to always make Fran feel like he knows a lot more about basketball than he actually does! This technique has worked wonders for me when these guys have been my partner. . . Also, I’m happy knowing my job security will never be on more solid footing!”
Tom Hart, who works with Dykes on a number of SEC matchups throughout the season, was a little stunned to hear the news.
“Wait. . . there’s no play-by-play. . . for the entire game?! I see how it is. Jimmy doesn’t need me. Point taken, James.”
Things will return to normal this weekend but for one glorious night, Fraschilla and Dykes will be living every analysts dream: no pesky play-by-play guys interrupting their insights.