Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Dome Factor

CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel wants you to read his article from last night's game.

There is no doubt in my mind that last night's NCAA championship game was so ugly. I'm not blaming the teams. No way. What I am doing is placing the blame on the NCAA. The NCAA wants the D1 title game to be played in a football stadium with 70,000 plus seats. The downside of that is that a place like the Alamodome, where Kentucky won it all in 1998, will never see another Final Four. You can view the box score here but the total attendance was: 40,509.

It wasn't that there was good defense during the game but also, the shot selection. So many shots were hitting the rim but they weren't going in. There's no excuse for point blank shots to be missing the rim.

It wasn't until the 2009 tournament that the NCAA decided to focus on playing in the football stadiums. They played the 2009 Final Four at Ford Field in Detroit where 72,922 were at the championship game.

However, 2012 and 2013 go back to the Georgia Dome and Louisiana Superdome, respectively. In 2007, during the last Final Four in Catlanta, 51,458 were at the final game--slightly down from it's previous Final Four in 2002. The most recent Final Four in New Orleans was in 2003, where 54,524 saw the game. The Superdome dominates the NCAA record book for attendance at a championship game.

Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, hosted the 2010 NCAA Final Four. I'm looking at the box score. The final score was Duke 61, Butler 59. They played in front of 70,930 fans in attendance. Here's the general numbers from that game:
FG: 20-58 (34.5%)
3FG: 6-18 (33.3%)
FT: 13-18 (72.2%)

FG: 23-52 (44.2%)
3FG: 5-17 (29.4%)
FT: 10-16 (62.5%)

John Clay even commented on last year's game:
Last year’s Final Four was played at Lucas Oil Stadium, which had a similar configuration but drew four thousand fewer fans than did Reliant. Shooting last year was 41.1 percent, compared to 34.2 this year. Three-point shooting last year was 36.5 percent, compared to 28.1 this year. Free throw shooting was actually pretty much the same, 68.3 last year to 68.5 this year.
John Clay looked at the Dome Effect. I haven't studied all the records yet but believe me, it was definitely in play. The next two tournaments, the Final Four goes back to stadiums that are good for basketball. If it's good enough for the SEC tournament, well, it's good enough for me. Cowboys Stadium in 2014? I sense a rerun of this year.
It wasn’t just Butler’s horrendous 18.8 percent shooting from the Reliant Stadium floor that raised that question after Connecticut beat the Bulldogs 53-41 in a very low-scoring national title game.

The shooting in all three games was sub-par, from the floor, from beyond the three-point line, from the free-throw line.
Of the little ESPN broadcasts that I have seen today, not that many are bringing up the dome factor. Jay Williams may have been the only one that did so.

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