SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: A detailed view of the March Madness logo is seen prior to the first round game between the Utah State Aggies and the Missouri Tigers in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 16, 2023 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The 2023 March Madness Experience

KJHK SPORTS STAFF | Shane Price, Mishael Jamela, and Landyn Welch

As we wrap up another very exciting year for KJHK Sports, it is very exciting to be able to elaborate on the experiences KJHK and our university allowed us to embark on. Below we have broken down our individual experiences with the games we covered and called at the 2023 NCAA Men’s March Madness Tournament held March 16th and 18th at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Round of 64 – Shane Price (Junior from Crystal Lake, Illinois)

I never really thought about being able to be part of a broadcast for March Madness
entering KU, but I am forever grateful for being given the opportunity to call the first weekend of games in the 2023 tournament. I was given the opportunity to be on the broadcast for both games, however, it was not planned for me to do play-by-play for a half during the second game. The first-round game is always one of my favorites every year, as even though a 1 vs 16 game is usually a blowout; the first round is always the most exciting round of the tournament.

The game against Howard started slow, but by the end of the first half KU started to take off, leaving my half to be not a thrilling tight battle of a game, but blowouts are still fun to call in my opinion. The second game for KU was much closer and more fun to call because of this. The second-round game against the Razorbacks was the most exciting basketball game I have been on the call for while being a part of KJHK even though the result didn’t go how we wanted it to. Being able to broadcast a game with multiple NBA-level talents like Nick Smith Jr, Anthony Black, and Jordan Walsh was exciting to be able to do as the talent level being better makes the game better especially since it was a very close game until the end, ending with a one-point difference between each team. Outside of the games, being able to go around Des Moines during the weekend was fun, shoutout to the Cheesecake Factory. I think the experience was a good time overall.

Round of 32 – Mishael Jamela (Senior from Reno, Nevada)

My experience this year with KJHK was full of great moments, but none greater than
March Madness. When I was chosen to cover the first and second rounds of KU basketball, I
knew win or lose it would be a phenomenal experience. Although we were bounced in the
second round, I had a lot of fun traveling to Des Moines, Iowa with Shane Price, and our sports
director Landyn Welch. I am very thankful for Bobbi and all of KJHK for organizing and funding the trip.

The initial drive to the hotel went smoothly from my perspective. Maybe it was because
I was asleep the whole way as it was my first chance to rest in days. By the time we reached the hotel, we were eager for tomorrow to come. Stayed up a while during the night to study up on Howard and how much of a threat they might be. The next day, we got dressed up to go to the stadium. Thanks to Bobbi, our hotel was right by the stadium, so it was a crosswalk away. Inside the arena, the staff was wrapping up the last touches before the teams could hit the floor. It felt like the whole stadium was holding its breath, waiting for the spectacular to arrive. When it was time for us to go to work, the stadium was filled with fans ready for the action. The atmosphere felt electric and was different from any game I had ever announced for. The game vs Howard went well, and I tried to feed off the energy of the stadium. I was excited to get to the next game, but unfortunately fell sick and was unable to cover the second.

Even though the game ended up in a loss to Arkansas, I thank Shane and Landyn for picking up where I couldn’t. Des Moines was a beautiful city, and had we moved on from the second round who knows where would’ve wound up. We could debate and speculate forever, but what I know for certain is that I was with the right people at the right place during the best time of our lives. Thank you KJHK.

March Madness Tournament – Landyn Welch (Senior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

This year I was rehired for my second term as Sports Director at KJHK 90.7 FM. I have been involved on the staff since my freshman year it has been my favorite club I have joined since being at KU. Being able to lead this group of aspiring broadcasters has meant so much to me and I look forward to seeing the heights this group goes to in the future.
This year saw the Sports Staff grow to the highest involvement amount in Sports Staff history. With over 30 members throughout the year, this group grew to heights it has never seen before. The comradery and chemistry this group grew throughout the year was a blessing to see as games were being called, podcasts were being recorded, and our 6:30 Monday meetings always had excitement.

In terms of my March Madness experience this year, the weekend we had in Des Moines was one of my favorite moments of my Senior year. After such a strong and promising season that KU Basketball had this year and the life-changing three weekends last year, I was thrilled to be able to embark on this adventure again. These two games allowed the staff and I to experience the behind-the-scenes press conferences and media rooms, get up close and personal with individuals in the industry, as well as get a feeling of what it is like to work in this field and industry.

While the Round of 32 matchup loss cut our tournament run short, being able to have this opportunity to call two more games on the big stage meant the moon and the stars to me. I want to give a huge thank you to Bobbi and Bailee for their work in helping make this weekend happen. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that these two put in that goes unnoticed and without these two, our staff couldn’t have the experiences that we do. I also want to thank Mishael and Shane for experiencing this weekend with me. This is my final year on the Sports Staff at KJHK 90.7 FM and being able to go on one more March Madness weekend after last year’s heroics means so much to me.

The friendships I have fostered since joining this staff 4 years ago and the unforgettable experiences I have embarked on sincerely mean a lot to me and are something that I will cherish throughout my life.