Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and UNC coach Roy Williams are lobbying a little for their teams to be in Charlotte for our NCAA tournament weekend March 18 and 20, and they're both right.
It makes a lot of sense for both schools to get rewarded and play in Charlotte. They should each be No.1 or No.2 seeds in the NCAA tournament after excellent regular seasons -- Duke is currently No.5 in the AP poll and UNC is No.6. Top seeds like that should get to play close to home and usually do.
Since the advent of the NCAA's pod system, it's no longer necessary to ship one team far away so the clubs won't meet each other too early. UNC and Duke could be in entirely different regionals -- and undoubtedly will be -- but will both play here. Tickets at Time Warner Cable Arena will sell out in a heartbeat Sunday night if that's the way it goes. And if either Duke or UNC gets moved somewhere else for the opening two rounds, then you can bet there will be some howling -- and well-deserved howling.
A couple of other notes:
-- I wrote my column for Tuesday's newspaper on Blake Griffin's first-ever trip to Charlotte Monday night, and here's the link.
-- At that Bobcats game, the team was trying to sell tickets by advertising Friday night's home game against Portland as "The Return of Gerald Wallace." That strikes a very off note to me. Wallace didn't want to get traded, told our Rick Bonnell last week that he felt "betrayed" by the Bobcats for doing so... and now they're using his face to sell tickets again to his "glorious homecoming," just like they used his face for years when Wallace was here? I know the Bobcats paid Wallace extremely well while he was here and are within their rights on this, but I think I'd quietly drop that little ticket campaign if I were them.
9 months ago