Take a bow, Louisville!
You â€“ and the KFC YUM! Center â€“ impressed the heck out of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
As a result Louisville will be a regional site in the next few years, said Xavier athletics director Mike Bobinski, who will be the chair of the NCAA Selection Committee next year.
He told Jerry Tipton, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame writer for The Lexington Herald-Leader, that the committee would seriously consider a Louisville bid, which he expects.
â€œThis place was clearly built with this event in mind,â€ said Bobinski.
â€œI donâ€™t know if I have seen a site with (fewer) issues. There have been no media and team issues of any consequence.â€
Take a bow, Jim Host, the man from Lexington who was responsible for every idea that sets YUM! Center apart.
Dan Gavitt, associate commissioner of the Big East Conference, said, â€œFrankly, Iâ€™ve never seen a better one. This building takes it to a whole other level.â€
Gavitt particularly liked the nearby hotels.
Jim Host knew
Host, chair of the Arena Authority, said that 4,300 hotel rooms were accessible via pedways.
Gavitt added that the UK Wildcats always should play here in the NCAA Tournament.
Host, being a member of the media, knew exactly what the working press needed.
Some of the best seats in the arena were removed to make the best possible media work areas.
Also, the auxiliary basketball gym was turned into work and dining areas for the media.
You no doubt saw a lot of empty seats at other NCAA Tournament sites. Not at YUM! The NCAA likes fannies in seats more than anything else.
Whose got next?
With all of the glowing reports about Yum! Center, one has to ask: Will Louisville replace Greensboro and Charlotte as just about automatic spots for NCAA regionals? The North Carolina cities are favorite NCAA sites.
Did you notice The Lexington Herald Leader refuses to use the exclamation mark when mentioning the YUM! Center?
Speaking of newspapers: I am really proud of the job that the Lexington and Louisville papers are doing with NCAA Tournament coverage â€“ despite their often â€œskinnyâ€ staffs.
I learned a lot of things from Norman Isaacs when he was Executive Editor of The Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times. Said Isaacs: â€œReaders donâ€™t care how much trouble reporters and editors have to go through to get news in the paper.â€
I agree with that, but both The Courier-Journal and The Herald-Leader have been skinnied down so much that their staffs are near the breaking points.
Yet both have performed magnificently so far in their coverage of the NCAA Tournament, but it gets harder and harder to produce the quality we expect.
Central copy desks
Silly typographical and factual errors are a result of too few reporters, copy editors and editors. Most papers now have a central copy desk instead of sports departments having their own editors who know sports.
All newspapers are suffering because of cut, cut, cut orders from out-of-town chain ownership.
The bottom line is that The Courier-Journal and The Lexington Herald-Leader reporters and editors deserve our praise and gratitude in such busy times.
The Lexington paper particularly deserves praise for its college and high school coverage.
During the State Tournament, the Lexington paper published separate sections of just high school coverage.
I slipped up. Make that The Lexington Herald Leader.
Old guy Miller
Jerry Tipton, who covers UK basketball like no other college team is covered, reports even on birthdays of past and present Wildcats.
Last Sunday he reported that senior Darius Miller turned 22 Wednesday. Yes, the Cats do have a seniorâ€”and heâ€™s a good one.
He has saved the Cats several times both this season and last. In fact, he was MVP in last yearâ€™s SEC Tournament, and has been on a hot streak in the NCAA.