TV-Radio / Larry Stewart : A Team in Malibu Finds Its Station in Orange County

In these days of college basketball overexposure, Pepperdine is amazingly underexposed.

The Waves, however, will make a rare TV appearance tonight at 7:30 when their NCAA tournament game against Duke is televised by Channel 56. It will be shown again on ESPN Saturday at 7 a.m.

Unfortunately, Channel 56's signal covers only part of Southern California. It doesn't even come close to Malibu, where Pepperdine is located.

But thank goodness there is a Channel 56. If it weren't for the Anaheim-based UHF station, not only would the Waves not be on TV tonight, but Thursday night's USC-Illinois State game wouldn't have been televised, either.

No other Los Angeles station was interested in either game.

One reason is that USC and Pepperdine had only a couple of days to find a station. First, they had to wait to see what CBS and ESPN were going to do. Last Sunday, CBS selected two first-round games for late-night showing, then ESPN picked 10 games to show live. The games involving the Trojans and Waves were not included on either network, although ESPN later decided to give Pepperdine's game a tape-delayed showing.

Fourteen of the 32 first-round games were passed over completely by CBS and ESPN.

"In past years, ESPN televised all the first-round games live, except for the ones on CBS (at 11:30 p.m.)," said Tim Wilhelm, Pepperdine's associate athletic director. "Now there are too many games for ESPN to do them all.

"So we find out Sunday we're not on ESPN live, and we have to scramble and try to line up a TV station. Independent stations such as KTLA and KTTV were unwilling at that point to change their programming, and you really can't blame them. We understand their position.

"We're just grateful for Mike Volpe (Channel 56's general manager). He shuffled programming around to accommodate us. We're also grateful to Santa Anita for agreeing to move their race recalls from 7:30 to 9:30."

If the Waves upset Duke tonight, they'll play either Texas Tech or Boston College Sunday, and that game would be regionally televised by CBS at 1 p.m.

The first game of CBS' Sunday tripleheader will be Michigan State vs. Memphis State, if the Spartans beat Alabama Birmingham tonight and the Tigers get past Penn. If the Spartans lose, the CBS opener will be Georgia Tech or Mercer vs. Syracuse or DePaul.

If Pepperdine loses to Duke tonight, the second game Sunday will be Georgia or Wichita State vs. Illinois or Northeastern.

The third game Sunday will be Tulsa or Texas El Paso vs. North Carolina State or Nevada Reno.

Three weeks ago, in front of a national television audience, golfer Peter Jacobsen lost the $500,000 Honda tournament when he three-putted for a bogey on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Curtis Strange.

That was embarrassing, and so is what happens to him on television this weekend. He loses a match to Jack Lemmon. Yes, Jack Lemmon the actor.

Jacobsen and Lemmon, taping a segment for a new TV show, "War of the Stars," squared off last fall for a six-hole match at La Costa. It will be shown Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on Channel 7.

Lemmon was given a two-stroke advantage per hole. After two holes, it was changed to one, and after four it was changed to none. Still, Lemmon made a 15-foot putt on the sixth hole for par and a one-stroke victory.

"I'm still in a state of shock," Lemmon said the other day while recalling the match. "It was a case of me playing very well and Peter playing just so-so."

Lemmon, 60, has been golfing since his mid-30s and plays in as many pro-amateur tournaments as possible. "Usually in pro-ams I'm scared to death," he said. "I get stage fright so bad you'd never know I make a living working in front of a camera."

Lemmon said he is a 15 handicapper. "If I could play regularly, I'd be 10-11 minimum. But sometimes I go four or five months without playing."

"War of the Stars" is produced by Berl Rotfeld, best known as the creator of the "Greatest Sports Legends" series. "War of the Stars" is a monthly half-hour show that pits entertainment celebrities against professional athletes. With Bob Uecker as host, it's mostly a comedy show. In the next segment, comedian Don Adams will play pool against Lou Butera.

Notes NBC takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the pro wrestling craze in a one-hour special Sunday at 10 a.m. "This is not a journalistic piece, heaven forbid," said sportscaster Bob Costas, who will be the host. Referring to a more serious report on ABC's "20/20" recently, Costas said: "Proving that pro wrestling is phony is like proving that Hugh O'Brian wasn't really Wyatt Earp." The show's main sponsor is wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, who uses the commercial time to push his March 31 show at Madison Square Garden, which will pit Mr. T and Hulk Hogan against Rowdy Roddy Pipper and Paul (Mr. Wonderful) Rondorff. . . . NBC's Al McGuire will take a look at the NCAA championship game in a one-hour special March 31, the day before the basketball final is shown on CBS. Not only is the show a promotional spot for CBS, but McGuire has also asked his buddy, Billy Packer, who works for CBS, to be a special guest. McGuire's bosses at NBC have given approval. No word yet from CBS, however. . . . Add McGuire: He's been openly campaigning for the role of the Coach on NBC's "Cheers." Nicholas Colasanto, the actor who played the Coach, died recently of a heart attack. "I was a bartender for six years and a coach for 25," McGuire said. He also said the role didn't seem very demanding. "It's no Hamlet; it's not even Chef Boyardee," he said. . . . The first anniversary of Bob Elder's "Calling All Sports" talk show on Channel 56 will be observed on Monday night's 10 p.m. show. The studio guest will be the Rams' Eric Dickerson.

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