Apr 06

NCAA Tournament: Looking back

Covering March Madness is unlike any other sporting event.
It’s really madness, but in a good way, especially considering that Kentucky is the team that finished on top and won the school’s eighth national championship.
My personal journey began at the First Four Tournament in Dayton, where I was in the same venue as President Barack Obama. That in itself is something most sports writers rarely get to encounter. At last year’s Final Four in Houston, I met President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara. Mr. Bush kindly posed for a picture and signed my credential. It was more difficult to get Obama’s signature, because of the extremely tight security measures. However, I did snap some pictures and have those as keepsake momentos.
I ventured to Dayton and covered Western Kentucky freshman Vinny Zollo, a graduate of George Rogers Clark High School and wrote about his two games in the tournament, including his team’s loss to Kentucky in the third round of the tournament at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.
Covering the first NCAA Tournament at the Yum! Center was indeed a treat and the school did an outstanding job as host and provided everything a sports writer needed from the hospitality room to the media work room to the pre-game meals.
Being at the Georgia Dome also was a treat and watching the Wildcats avenge an earlier-season setback to Indiana was entertaining and of course the win over Baylor to reach the Final Four was equally fun to cover. The Georgia Dome, site of next year’s Final Four, had more than enough room to support the media circus.
I didn’t make the trip to New Orleans and instead spent the weekend with my wife in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. I wanted to experience some of the tournament with her, since I am away during most of the basketball season.
Indeed March Madness is a one-of-a-kind event and one that I look forward to every year. It’s a busy time, but a fun one, too.

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