CBS brings you the Final Four

From CBS Sports –

CBS SPORTS AND TURNER SPORTS’ “ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR” MARCHES IN TO NEW ORLEANS FOR CBS SPORTS’ 31ST CONSECUTIVE YEAR OF EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE OF NCAA® MEN’S FINAL FOUR ON SATURDAY, MARCH 31

Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas Vie for College Basketball’s National Championship

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Butler’s Brad Stevens and Marquette’s Buzz Williams Join THE FINAL FOUR SHOW on Saturday

Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Kansas march in to New Orleans as CBS Sports and Turner Sports provide exclusive coverage of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and Final Four.  For the 31st consecutive year, CBS Sports broadcasts the national semi-final games live on Saturday, March 31 (6:00-11:00 PM, ET) and the National Championship game on Monday, April 2 (9:00 PM, ET-conclusion) from the New Orleans Superdome.

Saturday’s Final Four features Kentucky versus Louisville with tip-off scheduled for 6:09 PM, ET. Forty minutes after the game concludes, Ohio State takes on Kansas to determine the other participant in Monday night’s Championship game.  CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, and Turner Sports’ Steve Kerr call the games, with Tracy Wolfson serving as reporter. Nantz calls his 27th Final Four and National Championship, Kellogg works his fourth, and Kerr joins Nantz and Kellogg for the second time.

Leading in to the semi-final games on Saturday, March 31 (4:00-6:00 PM, ET), THE FINAL FOUR SHOW on CBS with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Seth Davis features tournament highlights, analysis of the four participating teams and interviews with coaches and players.  Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens and Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams also will be on set to provide analysis.

The opening tease of CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four on Saturday, March 31 (6:00 PM, ET) features New Orleans rising stars Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, in a two-minute music montage previewing the Kentucky-Louisville game. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined the band in iconic Jackson Square to welcome basketball fans to New Orleans as the band performed their song “Do To Me.”

In addition, Jim Rome, host of ROME, debuting Tuesday, April 3 (6:00 PM, ET) on CBS Sports Network, contributes an interview with Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Louisville Coach Rick Pitino.

Included in the broadcast are features on:

* LOUISVILLE’S PEYTON SIVA

Directing the offense for a Top 20 college basketball program is a major responsibility, yet starting at point guard for Louisville pales in comparison to the challenges Peyton Siva has already had to overcome. When Peyton was a youngster growing up in Seattle, his father left home because of various bedeviling addictions. While Peyton’s mother, Yvette, struggled to keep the fractured family going, it was young Peyton Jr., who bravely tracked down his father, confronted him, and then, remarkably convinced him to turn his life around.  Mark Burghart produces.

* KENTUCKY’S DARIUS MILLER

Darius Miller grew up in Maysville, Ky., just 65 miles northeast of Lexington, and is now living his dream playing for the team he rooted for as a child. If Kentucky wins the championship, Miller would become the first player in state history to win the so-called Commonwealth Triple Crown – capturing the boys’ high school state championship, Kentucky’s” Mr. Basketball” honors and an NCAA title at UK. As one of two seniors on the Wildcats’ Final Four roster, Miller has taken the team’s freshmen phenoms, such as SEC Player of the Year Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, under his wing.  Sarah Rinaldi produces.

* OHIO STATE’S JARED SULLINGER

Growing up as a coach’s son and winning a high school championship in the heart of Buckeye Nation, the expectations for Jared Sullinger were almost as dauntingly large as his current six-nine frame. Despite Ohio State’s surprisingly premature Sweet 16 exit last year, Sullinger resisted the lure of the NBA and assumed a leadership role in trying to fulfill his lifelong dream of bringing an NCAA championship back home to Columbus for the first time in half a century.  Alanna Campbell produces.

* KANSAS’S THOMAS ROBINSON

Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson has special motivation in his quest to help lead Kansas to its fourth NCAA championship. A year ago, within the span of less-than-a-month, Robinson lost two grandparents and his 43-year-old mother, Lisa. Two nights after his mom’s funeral in Washington, D.C., Robinson was back on the court for the Jayhawks, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds in an emotional victory over Kansas State. With the support of his teammates, Robinson has been able to find solace on the court. In a moving interview, he talks about the pain of enduring multiple family losses and the burden of having to help raise his eight-year-old sister, Jayla, while trying to win a national title as a tribute to the loved ones he lost in such sudden and unexpected fashion.  Jeff St. Arromand produces.

* JIM ROME WITH KENTUCKY’S JOHN CALIPARI & LOUISVILLE’S RICK PITINO

Jim Rome brings together Kentucky Coach John Calipari and Louisville Coach Rick Pitino on the eve of what is being billed as the “most important sporting event in the history of the Commonwealth.” Not only are the Wildcats and the Cardinals bitter rivals, but their head coaches – the only two coaches to ever lead three different teams to the Final Four – have a lifelong up-and-down history together.  Charlie Bloom produces.

* Special Features

ONE HEARTBEAT

In Chardon, Ohio and Harrisburg, Ill., the end of February and beginning of March were supposed to be all about basketball.  In both towns, the high school varsity teams were in the playoffs, with big matchups ahead on the calendar.  Instead, for both places – shockingly and unfathomably – what transpired was a week enveloped in tragedy.  On Monday morning, February 27th, a troubled teen opened fire in the crowded cafeteria of Chardon High School, killing three students and wounding two more.  Two days later in Illinois, a tornado blew through Harrisburg in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning; seven residents were killed.  Suddenly, two towns in the heart of America were forced to pick up the pieces of devastation.  Perhaps improbably, both would find strength, community, and inspiration in the game of basketball.  Pete Radovich produces.

Also on Saturday, CBS Sports Spectacular broadcasts COKE ZERO PRESENTS: THE BIG DANCE IN THE BIG EASY (3:00-3:30 PM, ET) hosted by Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg as they look back at the four previous Final Fours that took place in New Orleans.  The BUICK HUMAN HIGHLIGHT REEL (3:30-4:00 PM, ET) celebrates the achievements of six former NCAA student-athletes who made a difference off the field: Billy Mills, Cody Hodges, Jason Taylor, Chris Duhon, Angela Ruggiero and Amber Tollefson.

On Sunday, April 1 (3:30-4:30 PM, ET), CBS Sports’ Seth Davis hosts MERCEDES-BENZ PRESENTS: KINGS OF THE COURT, which looks at some of the top college basketball coaches in America including Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Kansas’s Bill Self.  The one-hour special examines the blueprint to success through exclusive interviews and footage of these leaders and their respective programs.  THE AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE HIGH SCHOOL SLAM DUNK & 3-POINT CHAMPIONSHIPS (4:30-6:00 PM, ET) highlights the nation’s elite high school players as they compete in New Orleans over Final Four weekend in a Slam Dunk contest and the Boy’s and Girl’s 3-Point Championships.

PRELUDE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP with Gumbel, Anthony, Barkley, Smith and Davis precedes Monday evening’s National Championship game (9:00 PM, ET).

Bob Dekas, coordinating producer of CBS Sports’ NCAA basketball coverage, produces the 2012 Final Four and Bob Fishman directs.  Eric Mann produces the preview and halftime programs, and Bob Matina directs. Harold Bryant is Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports.

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