BOB KNIGHT SAYS: "My influence with the NCAA is not real high, which in no way prevents me from telling them what I think should happen."

That kind of attitude is what could make the legendary coach a legendary television analyst.

But does he really have the guts to do it?

And will ESPN give him that opportunity?

After about a weeklong warmup, Knight's big-time debut as an ESPN analyst on Selection Sunday went well. Among other things, he made compelling arguments why seedings are important only to the media and why the tournament should either expand to 128 teams, eliminate automatic bids or both.

But one thing Knight did not do was question Selection Committee chair Tom O'Connor. ESPN sent George Smith to lob him softballs, leaving many hotly debated issues unresolved.

So, the answer to the second question already is tilting toward no. That's too bad, because the answer to the first question could very well be yes, and that would make for great TV.

Ted picks handful with punch

Ted Robinson will be working his 23rd NCAA tournament when he and Mike Montgomery team for the NCAA Radio coverage of the Thursday and Saturday games in Denver.

Robinson offers five teams he expects to exceed expectations (seeding in parentheses):

Pittsburgh (4). A good chance to be this year's Oregon — carrying over a conference-tournament title to a run to the Elite Eight. Watch DeJuan Blair, one of the country's best unknown freshmen.

USC (6). Forward Davon Jefferson is likely turning pro, thus has every motivation to control Kansas State freshman star Michael Beasley in the best first-round game. Beasley's counterpart, USC freshman standout O.J. Mayo, was superb in the final month and will shine in the bright lights.

Marquette (6). This pains me, but Stanford could have drawn a better potential second-round foe. Marquette has a terrific guard tandem, led by spectacular Dominic James. Stanford might root for Kentucky.

Davidson (10). A terrific coach in Bob McKillop and fabulous shooter in Stephen Curry. They get a good matchup in Raleigh against a Gonzaga team that played many tough teams, but only beat one (Connecticut).

Winthrop (13). Last year's first-weekend highlight was their win over Notre Dame. If it can upset Washington State, certainly a huge task, the second-round potential foe is ... Notre Dame.

Worst thing I saw all week

This practice of showing teams sitting around, awaiting their NCAA tournament announcement, has grown old and stale. Did we really need to see the Miami players jump up and cheer their selection like they weren't sure they were getting in? They're a 7 seed, for crying out loud. At least wait until it's announced they're playing St. Mary's. Then they'd have something to cheer about.

Three you gotta see

-Celtics at Rockets (Today, 6:30 p.m., TNT): Special night, special game. Yao who?

-NCAA tournament first round: Kansas State vs. USC (Thursday, 4 p.m., CBS): Winner advances. Loser's star freshman turns pro.

-WGC-CA Championship final round (Sunday, noon, NBC): If Tiger birdies the 18th at Doral's Blue Monster to win, then we've really got a story.

Scanning the airwaves

The CBS College Sports Network officially debuted Sunday amid the Big Dance madness. The network's staple will be "College Sports Tonight," a twice-nightly, one-hour highlights show devoted entirely to college sports. ... Need play-by-play on all 64 NCAA tournament games? SIRIUS Satellite Radio is devoting five channels to the event to assure not a single hoop is missed.

E-mail media-related questions and comments to Dave Del Grande at

dave@bayareanewsgroup.com.