College Hoops

Ian Eagle discusses replacing Jim Nantz as the NCAA Tournament play-by-play broadcaster



Iconic broadcaster Jim Nantz was a staple of the annual NCAA Tournament for decades. But when it was announced in 2022 that Nantz would be stepping away from that role, Ian Eagle was viewed as a terrific replacement.

During an appearance on the “Eye on College Basketball” podcast on Tuesday, Eagle spoke about succeeding Nantz, and how the transition has been with the 2024 NCAA Tournament being his first as the top play-by-play broadcaster.

“The familiarity with Bill (Rafferty), Grant (Hill), and Tracy (Wolfson), that was part of the reason why I thought that the transition wasn’t going to be that challenging,” Eagle said. “It feels easy, it feels normal. It feels like it’s supposed to be this way.”

Eagle already had a comfortable rapport with color commentator Bill Rafferty, who he worked with for several years on New Jersey Nets broadcasts.

“The Bill part of the component, it’s huge that we already have so much shared experience and trust and respect,” Eagle added. “I speak Rafferty. The shorthand Rafferty, I understand. For many years on Nets broadcasts, I always thought that I was the perfect interpreter for Bill, his sayings. I could make them feel like regular nomenclature. If you didn’t know what Bill was talking about, you still kind of liked it because he did it in a festive way, but I could translate for him.”

Eagle is getting set to call his first Final Four this weekend, and is tasked with calling some high-profile matchups with No. 1 seed UConn vs. No. 4 seed Alabama and No. 1 seed Purdue taking on No. 11 seed NC State.

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