Facilities aren’t the end-all when it comes to a college basketball program’s success but they are a factor. A few nuggets to consider about two Pac-12 teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament:
- USC has played in six NCAA Tournaments since it moved into a new arena, the Galen Center, 11 years ago. It had been to three in the previous 14.
- Oregon has played in five since moving into Matthew Knight Arena midway through the 2010-11 season, reaching five in 15 before.
It’s not just about game-day atmosphere, as the Trojans can attest. They ranked 10th in the conference in home attendance this season, their 4,625 beating only Stanford and Washington State.
But in the realm of luring recruits, which is really the heart of what makes a program good, an impressive facility helps the cause.
Andy Enfield’s up-tempo offense was a factor in securing five top-100 recruits in three seasons (and two more via transfer) but so, too, was having a nice facility to showcase.
In February, four-star forward Charles O’Bannon Jr., committed to USC, even though his father, Charles Sr., and his uncle, Ed, played at UCLA.
RELATED: NCAA Tournament schedule, TV info
The Ducks’ recent success has a lot to do with the hiring in 2010 of Dana Altman, widely regarded by his peers as one of the best coaches in the game. But the ability to offer a nice facility?
It helps. Tradition and terrific coaching are huge – see Arizona, UCLA – but a killer arena does a lot.
“Great facilities are probably the most important thing you have,” Dayton coach Archie Miller told Sports Illustrated last year.
Times have changed. Central Florida is adding a resort-style lazy river to its Athletics Village. Clemson is putting a mini-golf course, movie theater and bowling lanes in its new facility for football players.
To secure a win these days you need a little wow, too.
The past week was an emotional one for Danny Hurley, the coach of Rhode Island and the younger brother of ASU coach Bobby.
Danny Hurley’s Rams secured an NCAA Tournament victory Friday in Sacramento, a city that stirred difficult memories for the coach.
It’s where Bobby played in the NBA but also where a horrific car accident nearly cost him his life.
“Emotional for me just because my last time here I was watching my brother cling to his life in a hospital room surrounded by his family,” Danny told reporters. “To see Sacramento on that screen in the airport the other day was emotional. I’m going to keep it together up here, though.”
Future of college sports
ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is the host of an impressive sports symposium scheduled for April 3 that will bring together university presidents and athletic directors, conference commissioners and media and sports industry professionals to explore the future of college sports.
Among those set to speak are Mark Hollis, Michigan State athletic director and the NCAA Tournament selection committee chair; Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12; Gene Smith, former ASU and current Ohio State athletic director; and several media personalities, including Steve Smith, Seth Greenberg and Dana O’Neil.
The event, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is free and open to the public. Go to conferences.asucollegeoflaw.com/fullcourtpress/ for more information and to register.
Quote of the day
“This is a very inexperienced team. We’re down two scholarships. Our backcourt is a little thin. Show you how inexperienced we are, one of my players said, ‘There’s a lady in the huddle stealing our plays.’ It’s Tracy Wolfson.” – Louisville coach Rick Pitino, on confused sophomore Donovan Mitchell, who mistook the CBS sideline reporter for a spy from another team during the Cardinals’ victory over Jacksonville State on Friday.
Tweet of the day
“Mass General is now the consensus No. 1 in 2017 national residency flag football league.” – Jeffrey Upperman, the trauma program director at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, on former Florida State and NFL player Myron Rolle landing a neurosurgery residency at Harvard’s teaching hospital, Massachusetts General.
Stat of the day
The number of former Saturday Night Live cast members (I think) cheering on Xavier in its first two games in the NCAA Tournament. Bill Murray’s son, Luke, is an assistant coach with the Muskateers (and a former graduate assistant at Arizona).