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Greg Gumbel: 'The Tournament Is One Of The Major Stops On The Sports Calendar'

(CBS Minnesota/CBS Local) The first day of this year's tournament is in the books and Day 2 is just hours away. While the games are the main center of attraction, the studio crew is an integral part of recapping each half, game and getting you ready for the next contest.

Leading that charge is veteran studio host Greg Gumbel. Gumbel has been part of the tournament broadcasts for 40 years and has been hosting the Selection Show on CBS for most of that time. We caught up with Gumbel at CBS and Turner Sports NCAA Tournament Media Day last week in New York City and asked him what keeps him coming back every year.

"I have always called it one of the major stops on the sports calendar," said Gumbel. "No matter where you are it is one of those events that is so all-encompassing. There are people in the remote areas of the country that are watching because they have a school nearby that is of interest."

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That interest has only continued to grow over the years that Gumbel has been part of the tournament broadcast. With so much experience in his career, we were curious when it was that the idea of the tournament being a landmark on the sports calendar really struck him.

"It was way back when I, I want to say I did it from Indianapolis on a chalkboard once, and we had gotten the bracket and filled it in by hand," said Gumbel. "Everything is so electronic now and different but I realized then, this is something that nobody else is doing and it is kind of interesting to do. The way we do it now is easier/harder because it is more up to the minute and the margin of error is not huge or very forgiving. But, that is what makes it fun to do."

That fun will continue for Gumbel throughout the next three weeks leading up to the Final Four in Minneapolis on April 6th and the championship game on Monday, April 8th. In the past, Gumbel has been our travel expert, offering places to go and best things to do in the host city. This time though, Gumbel's advice is simple, stay indoors.

"College hoops in Minneapolis means that it is cold outside and I don't venture out in the cold," said Gumbel. "I hosted a Super Bowl in Minneapolis for CBS in the early 90's and I went everywhere underground. They have enough foresight for everyone to get everywhere under ground. To my mind I wonder, 'Why would anyone want to go outside and bother with that?' Someone said the other day that last year on the day that the Final Four is happening April 8th it was nine degrees.

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