Kurt Nagl/Crain's Detroit Business
March Madness NCAA Basketball Opinion/Editorial

March Madness Memo Day One: Living It Up At Little Caesar’s Arena and Hitsville!

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TAYLOR, MICHIGAN – Back in October, 351 Division I basketball teams began practice each with a dream, to cut down the nets in San Antonio in early April crowned 2018 NCAA Basketball Champions.

Through their non-conference in November and December, Conference play in January, and then their tournaments in March the field has been paired down to the best 64 teams which began play on Thursday.


There are eight sites for the first and second rounds. The one I will concentrate on are the four games in Detroit played at the new Little Caesars Arena home of the NHL Detroit Red Wings and the NBA Detroit Pistons.

I got my credential application acceptance back in late February and almost every day looked at ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology and Jerry Palm’s brackets at CBS Sports on who might be coming into the Motor City

This is the first time the Detroit area has hosted since 2013 at the Palace of Auburn Hills were both Michigan and Michigan State played and the Wolverines made it all the way to the Final Four.

The day before the tournament is always meet the media as well as practicing on the floor at Little Caesars.

Traveling up was no problem, except for the construction on I-75 neat the city limits. It was not as bad as when I came up for the 2017 Mid-American Conference Football Championship in December, but it it still a work in progress.

When I got into Little Caesar’s they are using the press room they use for Wings and Pistons home games. which is huge with plenty of flat screen TV’s and yes plenty of media guides and information.

Much more now that there is at the recently completed MAC Tournament in Cleveland. Also this is the NCAA Tournament where they are plenty of media from the competing schools.

I had done my notes on the Monday and Tuesday after the brackets were announced so I had all my work done for the four games including the First Four game between Syracuse and Arizona State won by the Orange.

Doing my prep in reading the NCAA Tournament guides the Thursday games were on the TV’s all over the press room and yes reporters are fans as well and the oohs and ahhhs during the day especially when Oklahoma and Rhode Island went into overtime and the last second buzzer beater by Loyola of Chicago to beat Miami (FLA).

My lodging for the next three days is near Detroit Metro Airport. I mentioned the construction on I-75 SOUTH well the detour takes me out near the room. One problem when we finished today, it was still in rush hour and I crawled on I-94 all the way to Telegraph Road.

Was I lonely? A little as there was no one I knew until late in the day when the Bison of Bucknell came into practice and I saw their play-by-play man Doug Birdsong and we had a very nice chat.

One other thing…yes we were fed twice!!!! I had salad at lunch and chicken breasts for dinner lol lol I looked at the media information sheet they gave us the only day we will no be fed is on Saturday so we have to fend for ourselves

Which should not be a problem

Where will I sit Thursday? I do not know. Most likely up in the Red Wings press box however with these new humungotrons the new arenas have, I can still see the game in good stead and watch the games without any trouble.

Friday starts all the madness in the place they call Hitsville USA starting with Purdue against Cal State Fullerton then Butler faces Arkansas.

Then in the nightcap, Michigan State gets Bucknell and TCU faces Syracuse.

Well that’s it for the first installment of March Madness Memo. I will have the second one sent almost right after the final game between TCU and the Orange.

Hope everyone is well and to see and hear from you soon

Take care

Evan

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