Sports Travel: Final Four — NCAA men’s Basketball

Final Four — NCAA men’s Basketball

Every year in the beginning of April.
Future Locations:

2010–Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis,IN
2011–Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX

March is a significant month for not only college basketball fans, but also office betting pool participants. “March Madness” sees sixty-five teams compete in a single elimination tournament throughout the country to crown the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball champion. Throughout the season all teams vie for one thing: a chance to appear at the “Big Dance.” The last four teams standing then move on to the Final Four national semifinals to determine the NCAA champion.

Locations vary from year to year.

While wagering is on the rise in office complexes across the country during March Madness, productivity tends to dim. With broadcasts throughout what seems like all hours of the day, many of those games occur during times where viewers should be attending to work-related matters. CBS is the current home of the NCAA basketball tournament, composed of conference tournament champions from each Division I conference. They receive automatic bids with the remaining slots chosen and seeded by the NCAA selection committee based on various criteria. The two lowest seeds play
for the opportunity to enter the first round, called the “play-in-game,” a tradition started in 2001.

The Final Four is just that, a surviving quartet of the best teams that have won their regional brackets. Winners advance to the finals. This is a seminal event in college basketball history, with March being one of the most anticipated months for sports fans overall. It’s the chance to see the best play the best, and the underdogs upset the favorites. There is so much “hoopla” that takes place onsite at this event as thousands of ardent college basketball fans take over a host city. Look out for well-known coaches
as the National Association of Basketball Coaches holds its annual conference each year during Final Four weekend.

Who attends?
Die-hard college basketball fans and loyalists of the schools competing in the Final Four.

According to the NCAA, the term “Final Four” was originated in a 1975 newspaper article by Ed Chay, a sportswriter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, in reference to the NCAA basketball semifinals. The name grew in popularity and the NCAA owned the trademark by the early eighties. H. V. Porter of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) was the first to coin the phrase “March Madness” in a 1939 essay titled the same. Television announcer Brent Musburger popularized it in the early eighties while calling the NCAA tournament games. Today the IHSA and the NCAA share the trademark, but that did not come without a legal tussle that saw the IHSA buying the trademark from a resourceful television production company called Intersport, Inc. After much legal wrangling, a dual-trademark was granted by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, allowing the NCAA to
share ownership.

Notable Athletes:
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown University
Isiah Thomas, Indiana University
Bill Walton, UCLA
Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse University
Richard Hamilton, University of Connecticut
Michael Jordan, University of North Carolina
Chris Webber, University of Michigan
Pervis Ellison, University of Louisville
Ed Pinckney, Villanova University
Larry Johnson, UNLV
Chris Mullin, St. Johns University
Danny Manning, University of Kansas
Christian Laettner, Duke University

Most titles: UCLA, 11
Final Four appearances (Tie):
University of North Carolina and UCLA, 17
Most Final Four wins: UCLA, 24

Points: Bill Bradley, 58, Princeton vs. Wichita State, 1965
Three-Point field goals: Freddie Banks, 10, UNLV vs. Indiana, 1987
Rebounds: Bill Russell, 27, San Francisco vs. Iowa, 1956
Assists: Mark Wade, 18, UNLV vs. Indiana, 1987
Blocked Shots (Tie): Danny Manning, 6, Kansas vs. Duke, 1988; Marcus Camby, 6, Massachusetts vs. Kentucky, 1996; Joakim Noah, 6, Florida vs. UCLA, 2006

At the event itself, the NCAA Fan Experience is a hands-on, interactive event that gets fans in the mood for great college basketball, if they’re not already. Fans can participate in various activities, see the history of NCAA basketball and even have the chance to bump into the NBA stars of tomorrow. The Fan Experience runs all week leading up to the Championship game and usually takes place at the host city’s convention center.

 2008 NCAA Final Four  Courtesy of Beau B, Flickr Creative Commons
2008 NCAA Final Four  Courtesy of Beau B, Flickr Creative Commons

For primary ticket access information, consider contacting the NCAA for rules on the lottery system. A minimal number of upperlevel seats are offered via the lottery each year. Your best bet, though, for this event is to use the secondary market as odds are against getting seats through the lottery. In addition, the seats made available in the lottery are always upper level.

For secondary ticket access, consider:

GoTickets, Inc.
2345 Waukegan Road, Suite 140
Bannockburn, IL 60015-1552
Toll-Free: 1-800-775-1617
Fax: (919) 481-9101
E-mail: sales[at]

Travel Packages:
If you are going to travel to this event, I would recommend using a reliable company to work with you on making the necessary arrangements. These suppliers listed have solid references and are by far the most trusted in the business. Below are some of the organizations to try for this Top 100 Must See Sporting Event.

Premiere Corporate Events
14 Penn Plaza, Suite 925
New York, NY 10122
Phone: (212) 695-9480
Fax: (212) 564-8098
Toll-Free: 1-877-621-5243
E-mail: requests[at]

Premiere Sports Travel
201 Shannon Oaks Circle, Suite 205
Cary, NC 27511
Phone: (919) 481-9511
Fax: (919) 481-1337
Toll-Free: 1-800-924-9993
E-mail: sales[at]

Best place to watch the action:
It is important to note that the tickets for the NCAA championship game are not as pricey as seats to the Final Four semifinals. If you do not hold allegiance to one particular team, then wait until the Monday of the title match. By then, the losing teams and their die-hard fans go home after the semifinals. You have a chance to score some great seats at below-market prices from a devastated loyalist whose team let them down.
Join the masses lining the corridors as these fans exit for your chance to get a ticket or upgrade to a better seat for the second game after the first of the two games on Saturday. An easier option is to arrange for tickets to the championship game through a secondary ticket provider such as GoTickets.

Best place to get up close:

Take in the College All-Star basketball game on Friday night. Usually, the host city will hold one prior to the start of the Final Four. While you will not see players from the semifinals, you will have an opportunity to see some of the best that college basketball has to offer. Compared to the price of Final Four and championship tickets, this is a bargain.

Best Travel Tip:
Prepare to take in the sights of the host city. While Final Four weekend is never-ending excitement, there is downtime between Saturday’s games and Monday’s title tilt. Find out the local haunts or high-profile tourist spots to attend to fill that time.

Notable Quotes:
“The drama and the magic relate to the nature of the event itself, to the fact that these are college students. They are still young. They are well trained and well coached in most cases. But in every Final Four the human factor looms large: who rises to the occasion; who makes mistakes.”—Senator Bill Bradley, 1965 Most Valuable Player of the Final Four

“It’s the best sporting event that I’ve ever attended. I feel fortunate to be able to have been a part of that. But I’m also looking forward to going to a Super Bowl one day. Or a World Series. An Indianapolis 500. Or the Kentucky Derby. But as of right now, that’s the most enjoyable sporting event that I’ve ever experienced.”Danny Manning, former University of Kansas basketball star

Wandering Educators Robert Tuchman 3/05/2010


Posted on March 5, 2010, in General NCAA. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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