Tar Heel Sports Network improvises with football, basketball playing Saturday

Angell explains change in postgame network basketball coverage

By R.L. Bynum

When the seasons overlap, it creates logistical challenges for all reporters who cover Carolina sports and that’s especially true for the Tar Heel Sports Network.

Saturday will be a good example of that with the football team playing Wofford at noon in its final home game (regional sports networks) and the No. 18 men’s basketball team facing No. 6 Purdue in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Uncasville, Conn., at 4 p.m. (ESPN News).

Jones Angell, the Voice of the Tar Heels, can’t be at both games, so he’ll be in the Kenan Stadium press box calling the football game with analyst Brian Simmons and sideline reporter Lee Pace.

Kyle Straub will be the host for the football broadcast because Dave Nathan, the usual THSN host, will be at the Mohegan Sun Arena on the play-by-play call of the basketball game. Matt Krause, the radio voice of UNC women’s basketball, was a fill-in host for the football game at Pittsburgh, but he will be part of the Elon broadcast Saturday of its home game with Rhode Island.

Working with Nathan will be the normal basketball crew, with analyst Eric Montross and Adam Lucas.

They control all of that but can only hope that the football game doesn’t go more than four hours. If there is time, there will be a postgame discussion with Coach Mack Brown and some postgame analysis as well as some pregame basketball analysis from Connecticut.

“The goal is to then get you up to Connecticut in enough time that Dave and Eric can preview the matchup with Purdue a little bit, run an interview with Hubert Davis as well, and off we go,” Angell said on Friday’s episode of the “Carolina Insider” podcast.


Although the initial first-round game in the tournament between No. 5 Villanova and No. 17 Tennessee starts at 1 p.m., the UNC game is still not supposed to begin until 4 p.m.

Angell will join the postgame show after the basketball game. Since Nathan will already be in Connecticut, he will also call the Sunday basketball game against either Villanova or Tennessee. Angell will serve as the host for the Sunday basketball broadcast.

The Sunday game will be at 1 p.m. if UNC wins Saturday (ABC) and 3:30 p.m. if the Tar Heels lose Saturday (ESPN).

Fans of both UNC basketball teams have extra reasons to hope that the men’s team wins on Saturday: The women’s team’s game at TCU on Sunday (ESPN+) starts at 4:30 p.m.

One change on THSN basketball broadcasts this season is that, for the first time in years, the network doesn’t air the UNC head coach’s postgame press conference. Instead, Angell conducts an exclusive interview with Coach Hubert Davis after the game, something Davis suggested.

“Coach Davis said he’d be willing to try it and he has been very clear behind the scenes to folks who work around the basketball program that he wants to try some new stuff, and that doesn’t mean it’s all going to stick,” Angell said on the podcast. “But he wants to just experiment with some things and he said this first year or two is the right time to do it. … He was willing to do it this way and so we’re trying it out.”

Angell said that the radio affiliates like that the interview happens quickly after the game, particularly when the game starts at 9 p.m. For home games, that interview is also recorded for the “Rapid Reactions” postgame video show that runs about 10 minutes.

“We can carry three to five questions with Coach Davis, and we can ask what we want to ask and do it in a speedier fashion,” Angell said. “So, that is attractive to us to have the exclusivity and also the speed factor to it.”

For a number of years, the THSN has opted for an exclusive postgame interview with Carolina’s head coach after football games and hasn’t aired the postgame press conference.

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