NCAA Wrap Up
This article is coming a day late because once I got off my rhythm, it took a little while to readjust. In addition, I took a trip Saturday to James Madison University for the day, but more about that later.
Was anybody surprised at the size of the Edward Jones Arena other than me? The attendance for the Final Four approached 50,000, but the most surprising figure was the 104,000 that attended the pope's visit back in the late 90s. I don't know how they got over 50,000 more into the arena when the only space gained would have been seats on the playing floor. Must be something I don't know of. Incidentally, did you see where they are removing the floor and installing it somewhere else. I can't remember where. The floor was constructed especially for the 'O5 Final Four. Amazing what can be done with enough money and I believe there was enough money for this Final Four.
Several of us here in Richmond decided on the day of the game to meet and try out a BBQ place for lunch that we had not visited previously in Chester, Va. It was nice and if any of you are ever traveling through Richmond, it is located about 3 miles off the Interstate (95) on Highway # 10. Chester is about 15 miles south of Richmond. Name is Brock's BBQ. While we were traveling back to Richmond after the meal, the cell phone of one of our party rang and it was another friend of ours calling from St. Louis. The caller has been to several games with us in Chapel Hill and boy was he stoked, getting ready for the game. He said St. Louis had just about been taken over by Illinois fans and he would consider himself lucky to return to Richmond without having gotten into a fight. He started rattling off a list of show business names he had seen, but I didn't recognize any of them. The younger ones in our party sure did and they were excited to hear the names of the celebrities who were in St. Louis. The caller said that he saw one person whose name we all recognized and that was JJ Redick. Sheepishly, he said we would probably give him a rough time for having done so, but he had his photograph taken with him We haven't decided on the form of his punishment yet. We asked him to bring back a memento from St. Louis and indicated that the game ball for the final game might be nice. We all agreed that might be unobtainable so we agreed on a Final Four program. I haven't gotten mine yet but I am anxiously awaiting its arrival.
It continues to be a point of discussion regarding shooting in very large arenas. I haven't done a statistical study but most Tar Heel fans can remember the trouble we have had with 3 pointers in recent games in played in a very large arenas. I mention this because Illinois was 12 for 40 in the game with us. There may be other stats that disprove the theory that large arenas negatively effect 3 point shooting, but the shooting per cent age of Illinois is enough to cause one to stop and think.
I hear the lines to get into the stores on East Franklin St. were out on the sidewalks Saturday with Tar Heels anxious to buy mementoes of this season. It was a beautiful day and I'm sure that helped. Each year, more and more of this kind of traffic is conducted on the internet, so we'll probably never know the total UNC merchandise sales associated with the championship. Someone estimated 60 million but I don't know what this figure includes.
I didn't realize that Jim Nantz was a native of Charlotte until this year. He was born in Charlotte, but attended the University of Houston. Quite a Tar Heel influence this year with Nantz, Packer and the Heels. I plan to write an article on Billy Packer soon with some information gleaned off the internet to supplement some personal observations. Packer is almost my age and I remember well him playing for Wake Forest from '60-'62.
One final thing. A poster on one of the boards has said that he examined a tape of the final game and counted the number of times Illinois was guilty of using a moving screen. According to him, there were 39 blatant screens and 62 questionable ones. I can't vouch for the numbers, but I can vouch for the fact that practically every Tar Heel I have talked with mentions the screens and the fact that the officials failed to call them.
Ain't it great to be a Tar Heel?