Newburyport Daily News
---- — ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Just call AT&T Stadium’s first Final Four an audition for its next one.
The NCAA has been keeping a keen eye on how things are running at the mega-sized arena near Dallas because it is also bidding to host another Final Four at some point from 2017-20.
Official bids for that period are due to the NCAA next month, and the cities will make their final pitches to the Division I men’s basketball committee at its meeting in November.
Dallas is also a finalist to host a women’s championship at American Airlines Center.
“This is a superb arena, stadium and experience. There’s no better stadium probably in the country than this one,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said Sunday. “This one works pretty darn well.”
The size of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington helped the NCAA establish a new record crowd for a college basketball game of 79,444 during Saturday night’s semifinals.
Among those competing with AT&T Stadium for the next round of Final Fours are: Indianapolis, which will host it next year; Atlanta, which hosted the game last year; New Orleans, which hosted it two years ago; Minneapolis, which is building a new stadium for the Vikings; Phoenix-Glendale, which is hosting the upcoming Super Bowl; and former hosts St. Louis and San Antonio.
Houston is scheduled to host the game in 2016.
“It’s a great venue,” Emmert said of AT&T Stadium. “I know there’s a critique about playing in a big venue like this or San Antonio or somewhere else, but the reality is you can get 80,000 people in to watch a game, and that’s pretty exciting.”
There will be a celebration of Kentucky today, win or lose.
The school’s athletic department announced that there will be a public celebration of the season at Rupp Arena today. The team is scheduled to return from the Dallas Metroplex at about 2 p.m. local time, and the party will begin when the players and coaches arrive at the arena.
Fans can begin lining up for free tickets to the event immediately after the Wildcats’ game against Connecticut. There is a limit of four tickets per person. All seats are reserved, though there will be a special student section.
No word yet if Ashley Judd will be in attendance.
During the NASCAR telecast yesterday, there was a whole lot of talk about basketball.
Fox announcers Darrell Waltrip and Mike Joy went back and forth throughout the 500-mile race, arguing about who was going to win last night’s national championship game between Connecticut and Kentucky.
Joy grew up in Connecticut and Waltrip is from Kentucky, and they were both sure the school from their state would win the game.
The Sprint Cup race took place at Texas Motor Speedway, about 30 miles away from AT&T Stadium, the site of the national title game. The race was rained out Sunday and moved to Monday.
Joy got the last word, predicting that Joey Logano’s win was a good omen for the Huskies. Logano is from Middletown, Conn.