TULSA, Okla. — There is no last-second cram session for Clark Kellogg when March Madness beckons.
With more than two decades’ worth of experience in calling the NCAA Tournament for CBS, the Ohio State product will again serve as a studio analyst for this year’s action. As he prepares to offer insight into each of the 64 remaining teams in the tournament, Kellogg relies on the wealth of information built up during the course of a college basketball season.
It starts with a notebook.
“Any game that I watch, I typically chart what happened in it and what players stood out to me,” Kellogg told The Dispatch on Thursday morning, hours before the first round officially got underway.
“That way I’ve got it documented, I’ve watched it, I’ve written it down in my notebook. Then I can go back and read up on a team I watched in November and December and what my comments were on them then compared to now.”
Kellogg’s notebook holds observations from nearly every relevant team in the nation. He said he watches a lot of games involving teams from the power conferences but also makes sure he’s well-versed on the top teams in so-called mid-major leagues (think Belmont, UC Irvine, Liberty, Buffalo, etc.).
Kellogg also will visit teams to watch practice. During the season he calls a handful of games for CBS and also on radio for Westwood One, and he attends a number of Ohio State games as an alumnus and Westerville resident.
It’s a lot of information to process. Kellogg, who served as an analyst for the NCAA title game from 2008-13, then has to distill all the information, including the advanced scouting reports provided to the crew.
“I’m big on less is more,” he said. “You can go down thousands of rabbit holes with that information, but you’re not writing a book on every game. You just have to be able to converse about it, and a lot of that is observation combined with my prior observation that gives me a pretty good take on what’s happened.”
This year, former Ohio State standout Jim Jackson is making his debut as a member of the broadcast crew covering the tournament. As he transitioned from his career as a pro basketball player into a broadcaster, he reached out to Kellogg for advice. Including the likes of Kirk Herbstreit, Cris Carter and Robert Smith on the football side, the Buckeyes have a sizeable contingent in the national conversation.
“(Jim) texted me when he found out and I was thrilled for him, because obviously he does a great job and is one of the great Buckeyes in the history of our program,” Kellogg said. “Obviously the Buckeye connection makes it more special when you see … guys that have passed through the Ohio State family that are doing great work on television. It’s about knowing the game and then being committed to doing the work, and those guys have all stepped into it.”
When his alma mater tips Friday night against Iowa State in Tulsa’s BOK Center, Kellogg will be in-studio in front of a big monitor on wheels showing every game in action.
He believes the Buckeyes are going to have to score at a high level to beat the Cyclones.
“I don’t think they can beat Iowa State (if the score is) in the 60s,” he said. “I could be wrong, but it’s a really good offensive team. You’ve got to score the ball, I think, and you do that with good, solid offense and taking care of opportunities.
“I think the (key for the Buckeyes will be) turnovers, offensive flow and then how they defend Iowa State, because they’ll spread you out. They’ve got shot-makers and playmakers pretty much at every spot, the Cyclones do, and it’s hard to plug all those dikes.”