March 20, 2009
Greetings from Miami!!
Game day is here and things have been kind of quiet around the team hotel. The pep rally gets going in about an hour at a place right next to the arena and even though it should be a pretty good time, I am probably going to skip it.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, this is my 14th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship as a participant (no, I am not playing but my team is) so I am going to follow my usual NCAA routine and kind of lay low for most of today so that I am ready for tonight.
One of two things will happen tonight and each has its separate path to take.
If the Vikings lose, then I will wrap up things on the website post-game and get ready to return to Cleveland on Saturday morning.
The fun starts however when CSU wins tonight. That will mean that the Vikings will advance to face either Utah or Arizona on Sunday at 2:40 p.m.
It will also mean that I will have to update the 28 page notes package that I do for every game, doing so while answering the many requests that will come in from radio stations across the country asking to get Gary Waters and the various Viking players on the radio tomorrow.
As I mentioned previously, in 1991, I worked at a school that upset DePaul to be the Cinderella of that tourney. By the time my former boss and I had left the arena and got back to the hotel (this was in the early age of cell phones), we found something like 30 messages on our hotel phone. And they kept coming in.
The first thing on the schedule for Saturday would be press conference for the players (3:55 p.m.) and Coach Waters (4:15 p.m.) followed by 90 minutes of practice at the arena (4:45-6:15 p.m.).
By 3:55 p.m., my notes will be done, printed out and copied and as many radio requests as possible will be filled. My assistant, Greg Murphy, will truly find out tonight what it is like to stay up late. . . real late. . . to get everything ready for round two.
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One thing that amazed me yesterday during the practices was how few people are here for the tournament.
In just about every previous tournament appearance I have been part of, the media attending the tourney is in the range of 400-500. When the Vikings went to their press conferences yesterday, there was no more than 20 people in the interview room.
Between the problems caused by the bad state of the economy along with the even worse problems for the newspaper and TV news industries, the dollars to travel and cover this tourney just aren't available this year.
The CSU media list that was turned in for the tourney consisted of three-person TV crews from three of the four Cleveland TV stations, two writers from the Plain Dealer, one covering for the Lorain Mourning Journal and Lake County News-Herald and a couple of internet websites from Cleveland.
Unless I am wrong, the only media that made the trip from Cleveland was Joe Maxse from the Plain Dealer and Dean Cummings, who is shooting video for SportsTime Ohio. Everybody else cancelled because of the expense.
The cheapest flight I heard anybody getting from Cleveland was $450. Most were $600 or higher. Factor in three nights stay (at $200 plus a night), a rental car and food, and a media outlet is looking at $1,500 or so per person to staff the games.
The lack of media isn't just a Cleveland thing. I joked yesterday that the Miami site is kind of the "Island of Misfit" teams because none of the eight teams is remotely close to here (the closest is Wake Forest, which is way up in North Carolina).
The Dayton site has Louisvile, OSU, Morehead State, Pittsburgh and Tennessee all within five hours drive time. Philly got Villanova, VCU, American and Chattanooga.
Miami has teams from Ohio, Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, Texas, New York & Philadelphia.
That's all I have for now. I'm going to take a nap before heading over to the arena around 6:00.
Hopefully I will be blogging something tomorrow. Enjoy the game tonight. and, as always, feel free to send me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org