5 thoughts on an uneventful Final Four opener
As if the weather wasn’t bad enough, North Texas was treated to very little entertainment in the first semifinal of Saturday’s Final Four.
Here are my thoughts on No. 7 UConn’s 63-53 victory over Florida, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed.
1.) It’s not breaking news but AT&T Stadium is a terrible basketball venue. Yes, the Final Fours are now all being played in football stadiums and none are ideal for basketball. But Jerry World has to be the worst. Folks in the upper bowl are so far away from the action that they have to watch the majority of the game on the big screen. And I get it, it’s a nice big screen. But spending hundreds of dollars on tickets, parking and food clearly offset the price of watching basketball on a $40 million TV.
2.) If you weren’t a basketball fan before the first semifinal game, you probably didn’t change your mind over the next two and a half hours. Both teams had extremely sloppy stretches. UConn scored only four points over the first 11 minutes. With five minutes remaining, Florida had two total assists and the Gators were shooting 37 percent from the field and 1-of-9 from 3. The Gators played in AT&T Stadium during last year’s regionals. Obviously that familiarity didn’t help their shooting touch. And it wasn’t like UConn was overly impressive. Superstar point guard Shabazz Napier finished with 12 points and six assists. Florida’s star point guard Scottie Wilbekin shot 2-for-9, finishing with four points and one assist.
3.) UConn, a team that lost to SMU twice this season, has a way of making the title game a little dull. The Huskies’ last two title game appearances â 2011 and 2004 â were victories over Butler and Georgia Tech. Neither game was memorable. Actually they were probably the worst two title games of the last 15 years. There’s a decent chance a Monday matchup against Wisconsin or No. 8 seed Kentucky won’t break that trend. At this point, the best possible championship game scenario would be Kentucky impressively winning another title with a dominant performance from the local kid, Julius Randle.
4.) What would a major sporting event at AT&T Stadium be without Jerry Jones? The Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager was shown sitting in his owner’s box early in the contest. He got booed. He smiled and waved. You’re not going to upset Jerry Jones with a little booing. And let’s be serious for a second, if it wasn’t for Jones and his $1.3 billion stadium, the Final Four might not even be in North Texas right now. Other celebrities at the first semifinal game: Troy Aikman, LL Cool J, Danica Patrick and Dwight Howard.
5.) Can Mother Nature give the area a break during big events? As the first game concluded, the PA announcer warned fans to stay inside because of severe weather in the area, which included possible hail and lightning. If it’s not snow and ice falling off the roof during the Super Bowl, it’s cold, windy and rainy for the Final Four. How about sunny and 75 degrees on Monday before the title game, deal?
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota