Just passed one Earvin (Magic) Johnson on his way out to the court area for the first Final Four semifinal tonight between his Michigan State Spartans and the hometown-hero Butler Bulldogs. Normally, I am not a fan of domed stadiums as the venue for basketball tournaments, but I have to make an exception for Lucas Oil Stadium.
It basically was designed to be the world's largest basketball arena, not just the NFL home of the Indianapolis Colts. That's why the roof of the structure was designed to resemble Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, as were the towering cathedral windows at either end of the arena. It's not like dropping a basketball court into the middle of the New Orleans Superdome. It actually looks like a basketball arena from the inside, albeit one in which many fans are far removed from the action.
The tradeoff is that 71,300 fans get to come in under the NCAA's tent. By the way, the NCAA was consulted in the design with the promise they would bring the Final Four here every five years.
There was another celebrity sitting right in front of me a few minutes ago -- Blue, the Butler bulldog, who was placed at the corner of the court to pose for CBS' cameras. The media section actually is below the raised court. My laptop is at floor level in the corner of the court where the Butler cheerleaders are located. Michigan State just started its layup line in front of me with Butler at the other end.
It's going to be a great night of basketball. As a reporter, you always think first of story line. The best final probably would be Butler against Duke, but from a New York perspective, it would be better to have Butler against West Virginia, the Big East team with six players from the metropolitan area.
Have fun, and I'll be tweeting at GregLogan1 periodically during the game assuming the internet connection continues to work well.