Hello, friends. This weekend sports fans across the country are preparing for a tradition unlike any other: Jim Nantz’s cheesy national championship calls as the clock hits zero. We’ve got 10 suggestions for him.
This is the 20 year anniversary of Jim Nantz’s first Final Four telecast and in that time, he’s built quite a resume of corny lines to crown the national champion.
Following the 1999 NCAA Championship: “Just when everybody says you can’t, you can, and UConn has won the national championship!”
Following the 2001 NCAA Championship: “That’s it. Duke has the Championship! And Coach K is the proud father of three in more ways than one!”
And then there’s this gem from the 2005 NCAA Championship: “It started in March, ended in April, and belonged to (Sean) May.”
As Nantz racks his brain over the next couple days to come up with the perfect, we decided to drop a couple suggestions for him we’d like to hear. We even got help from you, the reader.
Jim, you can thank us later.
10. “I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks: Butler wins its first national championship!”
Butler has a long history of college basketball greatness and came inches away from winning a national title last year. And if they pull off an improbable national championship this year, there’s nothing cheesier than an overused cliche. In other words, it’s a perfect fit for Nantz.
9. “With the heart of a lion, Kemba is the new king of college basketball! Connecticut wins it!”
Considering Kemba Walker has been carrying his team since all the way back in the Big East Tournament, it only seems fitting his entire team would swarm him when the final buzzer calls. As if Nantz isn’t already family friendly enough, a “Lion King” reference would have soccer moms in tears.
8. “Shak-a and awe! VCU’s your national champion!”
The shock and awe word play was already used by Yahoo! Sports but Nantz has never shied away from the obvious word play. You could definitely see the camera panning the VCU bench as Shaka Smart hugs everyone while Nantz delivers this line.
7. “From underdog to top dog. Butler is your national champion!” — via Scott Bell
Oh yes, it’s cheesy. And now that we know mascot Blue II will be making an appearance, is there any doubt that the cameras will cut from an elated Butler bench to the dog? This is a fastball down the middle for Nantz.
6. “March Madness came in like a lion and now goes out with a Lamb. Jeremy Lamb and UConn are champions!” — via Paul Kalinauskas
This would be a trifecta by Nantz: Encapsulate the entire tournament, drop a witty pun and be incredibly cheesy. The only question is whether Jeremy Lamb would warrant this much praise at the end of the title game. But then again, with a line like this in the tank, does it really matter?.
5. “With Mack providing the dagger and Reliant Stadium as the ballroom, the Butler did it!”
Yes, we’re all extremely worn out on Clue references regarding Butler. Will that stop Nantz from using one? Absolutely not.
4. “Last year they hit a Wall in the Elite Eight. But with a Knight in shining armor, Kentucky has once again been crowned national champions!”
We can envision it. Brandon Knight goes off for 30 points, carrying the Wildcats on his back to a national title after John Wall couldn’t get them to the Final Four. Dropping two puns in two lines would be deadly.
3. “They were the last ones in and now they’re the last ones laughing. VCU is your 2011 NCAA champion!”
It’s.a perfect fit to describe the journey from the First Four to the national championship and the way they’ve used pundits questioning their at-large bid to fuel their run. If VCU wins, this line has to be the leader in the clubhouse.
2. “Vacate this! At long last, John Calipari has his national championship!”
This is a little too straight forward for Jim Nantz, but perhaps as John Calipari runs to the middle of the court to celebrate with his team after coming so close to a title in 2008, Nantz channels his inner Gus Johnson. After all the attention Johnson got this year, Nantz may think to step up his game.
1. “Houston, we have a champion!” — via Tony Chapman
Chapman prefaced his suggestion with, “Isn’t this a lock?” It’s pretty close, it’s just so classic Nantz. We’re still hoping he uses “Houston we have a problem,” when VCU cuts a 17-point deficit to two points and Jim Calhoun needs to call a timeout. But this is a perfect fit that incorporates the Final Four city and can be used for any of the four teams.