View Count: 574 |  Publish Date: April 05, 2014
NCAA Final Four story lines go beyond compelling matchups

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Final Four has grown so large they had to move it from Planet Earth to Jerry World.
It actually makes sense a stadium nicknamed The Billion Dollar Play Pen should host college basketballs billion-dollar end games.
It makes less sense that everyone except the players seems to be cashing in. Chris Dufresne E-mail | Recent columns Also Floridas Michael Frazier II always gives it his best shot Shabazz Napier follows Kemba Walker in Connecticuts great lineage Kentuckys John Calipari is enjoying ride into Final Four
This being Texas, of course, one host city was not enough to handle the event, as the NCAA granted this bid to the wide-open-spaces sweep of North Texas.
That means Amarillo, technically, got a Final Four in the modern era before Los Angeles.
A fan Friday posed for a picture beneath a sign outside AT&T Stadium that read The Road Ends Here.
In fact, this is just the beginning.
There are things coming down the road, said Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan. Where they end up Im not sure. But its not something that needs to be discussed here in this forum.
Where did Ryan have in mind … his vacation villa?
There are two narratives taking place in North Texas. There is the compelling story of four teams who have fought hard to reach the sports pinnacle final weekend.
And there is the story about how much, if at all, the players are being exploited.
Ive never done the math on what were bringing into the school or anything like that, said Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle. I dont really get into the politics and stuff like that about whether its fair or not.
Part of the story here is the joy of competition, but the other part isnt going away.
Florida plays Connecticut in Saturdays first semifinal game followed by Wisconsin against Kentucky.
The players will put on a show, in a thriving business, before an expected crowd in excess of 75,000, in a football stadium that could be a prototype for space colonization.
This years tournament, according to Nielsen Media Research, is averaging 9.8 million viewers, the highest in 21 years.
There are compelling matchups in both games.
Florida has won 30 straight games since it lost on Dec. 2 to Connecticut. The Gators have been unstoppable since the defeat while the Huskies sputtered and spun, losing one game at Louisville by 33 points, before getting hot in the NCAA tournament.
It definitely gives you confidence to know that you can beat this team, said Connecticut senior guard Niels Giffey. But it has been awhile.… Its going to be a whole different game.
Florida also represents the anti-Kentucky template of renting players for a year before they go off to the NBA.
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Time: 2:55  |  News Code: 394826  |  Site: L. A. Times
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