mike francesa march madness
Peter Ackerman | Asbury Park Press

Let’s take a look back at five of “College Basketball Expert” Mike Francesa’s best March Madness moments over the years.

March Madness won’t be the same without Mike Francesa on the airwaves for WFAN. There’s something about his antiquated takes, constant reminders that he used to work on college basketball for CBS, and his fantastic play-by-play that does it for us.

Let’s take a look at five of Francesa’s most memorable March Madness moments over the years.

Tim Cluess of Eyeowner joins the show

This was the clip that inspired this list. It’s only fitting that we kick things off with Francesa telling Tim Cluess that North Carolina was going to blow Iona out of the water.

In this 139-second clip, Cluess talks for all of about five seconds. No one is better than Mike at inviting a guest onto his show only to talk over that guest the entire time.

Francesa was almost forced to eat his words here. Iona led by five at halftime, but would eventually succumb to North Carolina’s high-octane offense in the second half. The Tar Heels beat the Gaels 88-73, but Iona had a brief moment in the spotlight with Francesa.

UCLA goaltending

There’s nothing like a little March Madness play-by-play from the Sports Pope. Francesa is a radio icon, but he wasn’t cut out for play-by-play duties. Listening to Mike try and explain things as they happen in real-time was always…entertaining. This moment makes our top five moments based almost entirely on the “OH MY GOD!” that Francesa drops.

This moment also gets bonus points for Francesa mentioning that he would have done the opposite of what Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown did.

Ty Jerome claps back

Francesa was never a big fan of Virginia, and more specifically, Virginia’s coach Tony Bennett. Early in 2019, Francesa proclaimed that the Cavaliers couldn’t win it all because their offense wasn’t good enough.

Virginia guard Ty Jerome, a New Rochelle native, remembered those remarks from Francesa when he appeared on the show after winning a national championship. Jerome made sure to set the record straight on Virginia’s offense.

“Our offensive numbers, offensive efficiency, I think we’re top five in the country,” Jerome said. “We have been all year. I’m sure a lot of people don’t do their proper research of college basketball before they speak.”

Maryland is uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


This video epitomizes “College Basketball Expert” Mike Francesa in recent years. Have you heard that Mike used to cover college basketball for CBS in the ’80s? Let’s break down everything this college basketball expert says about Maryland-Florida State in between the long periods of dead air:

  • They played each other during the regular season.
    • They didn’t — Maryland moved to the Big Ten three years earlier.
  • It wasn’t a “vintage” Maryland year (whatever that means).
  • Maryland should have been better.
    • They had some injuries.
    • They’re hot and cold.
    • Their best player is hot and cold.
      • From that standpoint, Mike could see them winning this game.
      • He could also see them losing this game.
        • He doesn’t think it’s a shocking thing one way or the other.
          • Good coach, well-coached team.
  • Bottom line is, Mike could see this game going one way or the other.

Impeccable analysis from the Sports Pope.

Jalen Adams buzzer-beater

Honestly, credit where credit is due. Francesa does a solid job on the play-by-play in the heat of the moment. However, he struggles to figure out what is going on once the review starts. Mike recovers and actually does a decent job through this entire video.

The game itself is what makes this moment though. There’s something about listening to the NCAA Tournament in the car. Whether you were driving home from work, picking the kids up from school, or just heading out to pick up a pizza, Francesa’s helter-skelter play-by-play was a March Madness staple for years.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.