The Final Four Experience From A 1st Timer

April 9, 2023

Basketball, College Basketball, Sports

Final Four Picture Inside NRG Stadium

The Final Four

Those three words meant something completely different to the people in attendance around me over the weekend. To a local in Houston, it is a great time to show off the beautiful city they call home (the financial benefit the event brings is nice too). To the amazing fans of Miami, San Diego State and Florida Atlantic that I spoke to, it is a sense of pride and accomplishment. To the MANY Connecticut Huskies fans, it is about legacy. Is UConn a blue blood? How does this weekend help answer that question? The last perspective was the people like me. I was just happy to be there for the first time and enjoy watching the greatest sporting event in the world come to its conclusion.

Regardless of your affiliation or reason for attending, you WILL have a great time. The NCAA Fan Fest, pre-game festivities, the gear, the restaurants and bars nearby all filled with people excited for the games.


Saturday was filled with lots of cheering, lots of steps (9,772 to be exact) and lots of fun. The first game was so weird from a style standpoint. Going into the game against Florida Atlantic, San Diego State had held their opponents to 27.8% from behind the three point line (2nd in the nation, per Barttorvik). The Owls shot 40.9% from behind the arc in the loss Saturday. FAU led by as many as 14 points in the 2nd half but SDSU held FAU to just 33% from the field in the final 20 minutes. Miami vs UConn was much of the same that we have become accustomed to from the Huskies all tournament.



After the buzzer beater finish in the first game on Saturday, everything else was just a bonus. Going into Monday with UConn being considered so dominant, it was going to be an uphill battle for the Aztecs. My wife and I, sitting in section 140, got a good dose of how awesome the San Diego State crowd can be. They were in it for the full 40 minutes. That is no disrespect to the fans of the Huskies but the Aztecs were LOUD. Dan Hurley watched his team come out and take a pretty commanding 36-24 halftime lead but it felt like much more. San Diego State couldn’t buy a shot for the better part of 10 minutes in the middle of the first half. The Aztecs cut it to 5 in the second half but UConn, as they have done all tournament, went on a run that was the nail in the coffin.

Is UConn a “Blue Blood”?

To answer the first one, it’s as simple as how much you weigh prior success. The Huskies are 5-0 all time in national championship games and are tied for 4th most titles all time (Duke and Indiana both have 5 also). These championships have come during 3 different head coaching tenures. 3 with Jim Calhoun, 1 with Kevin Ollie, and this year with Dan Hurley. The sustained success since the turn of the century is completely and utterly dominant. The first title for UConn came against Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils, who going into that game, were on a 32 game winning streak. In 2004, the Huskies beat Duke again in the Final Four. Those have some weight to them. They have a record of 1,799–1,012 (.640) which places them at 25th all-time. In my eyes, UConn has earned the famous (or infamous depending on who you ask) “Blue Blood” label. Let me know on Twitter if you think the Huskies deserve to be considered College Basketball royalty?

Should the Final Four be held in a football stadium?

I sat in Section 322 on Saturday and Section 140 on Monday. If your expectation is that you can see well like you could in the 100s or 200s of Rupp Arena, Cameron Indoor Stadium and other famous college basketball arenas then obviously you won’t be happy with the view of a basketball court that only takes up roughly 30% of a football field. However, I felt like I could see very well and make out who most players were based on size and number on the jersey. The value you get from the ticket from an entertainment standpoint pre game and then the gameday experience was unmatched.

The final point I will make is the price. At one point tickets were listed for verified resale on various ticket platforms like SeatGeek (use code TWOPOINTERS for $20 off first purchase) starting at $30. Yes, you read that right. They got up to around $50 by game time both days. Think about the last concert you went to. You might’ve paid more than that for the same seat. The part that gets overlooked is that from the casual fan all the way up to the die hard supporter of their alma mater, anyone can get in for a reasonable price and experience a basketball atmosphere like no other. We have lost that kind of accessibility in football with the cheapest ticket listed for the most recent Super Bowl was $3,480.

In summary, from now until the last Final Four of my life, I will always vouch for the event being in a large venue. My call to action to you would be if your team has never made it in your lifetime (like mine, NC State) or ever, go and experience it. If your team makes it one day, then go and enjoy the ride!

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