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Divisions II, III get in on Final Four
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On November 3, 2012 @ 4:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Ray Glier, Special for USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA — The Final Four is expected to draw large crowds to the Georgia Dome and high ticket prices from the attendees.
But if you go next door to Philips Arena in between rounds, you might get in for free.
As a one-time experiment, the NCAA is holding the Division II and Division III men’s basketball national championship games in the same city as the Final Four on the day between the April 6 semifinal games and April 8 title game. The D-II and D-III finals will be held at Philips, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, on April 7.
Final Four ticket holders will get first chance at tickets to the D-II and D-III finals, but the NCAA is prepared to offer seats to those events for free.
“We think it is more important to have a big crowd there,” says Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances. “It’s a national championship game, and we want the crowd’s enthusiasm to reflect the importance of those two games.”
The NCAA expects a festival-type atmosphere as it celebrates the 75th anniversary of the men’s basketball tournament.
One of Atlanta’s draws is picturesque Centennial Olympic Park, which was constructed for the 1996 Summer Games.
The park is about a 10-minute walk from the Georgia Dome.
The weather should be warm enough in early April for outdoor events, and the park will carry the name “Big Dance” and host concerts with the Atlanta skyline in the background.
The Georgia World Congress Center, an indoor convention center next to the Georgia Dome, will be dubbed “Bracket Town.”
“We want to make it a truly citywide event and, ultimately, make sure there was a magnetic attraction to being downtown and bring everybody together for a basketball frenzy,” says John Yates, chairman of the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee, local attorney and Duke graduate. “Having five basketball games in three days with top talent in one place is a very unique thing.
“If you love basketball, it is like the chocolate factory in basketball.”
The NCAA is going to put the wood basketball floor in the middle of the Georgia Dome football field. … [For more on Divisions II, III get in on Final Four, click here.]
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