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After 17 years, Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel get new NCAA Tournament partners

CBS Sports broadcaster Ian Eagle

CBS Sports broadcaster Ian Eagle Credit: CBS

CBS and Turner will unveil a top-to-bottom reshuffling of their NCAA Tournament announce teams this week, in part driven by the departure of Steve Kerr and suspension of Greg Anthony.

One byproduct of Bill Raftery leaving Verne Lundquist to join the No. 1 team is the breakup of the longest-running NCAA duo of all - Jim Spanarkel and Ian Eagle.

Spanarkel will join Lundquist, and Eagle now will work with Doug Gottlieb.

"It will be strange, absolutely," Eagle said. "We have worked together 17 years on this event. We can finish each other's sentences. We're at that level of our relationship. To do the event with a different partner, there's an adjustment period. It's going to all work out, but the question is, will it be different? Yeah, it's going to be different."

Spanarkel called Lundquist "an institution in the world of broadcasting" and said he is honored to work with him, but "it's bittersweet, because Ian and I were together for 17 years . . . It was a great run with him. Hopefully someday down the road we'll get to do it again."

Eagle joked he and Spanarkel are so close "we have one iPod but we share the ear buds."

Then he added, "In all seriousness, 17 years, I don't think it will ever be matched. I don't think you will ever have another 17-year play-by-play/color commentator combo on this event. I think it's a very unique thing."

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