In 2014 the NCAA Tournament will have just ONE Domed Region, Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. Why is that important? Since 2005 NINE champions have been crowned, SEVEN came from Regions played in DOMES. That’s even more significant when you consider that of the 36 Regional sites in the past 9 NCAA Tournaments, just 15 have been played in DOMES. So when 77.8% of the past NINE Champions have come from DOME REGIONS and the Regional sites that have used domes are just 41.6% of the possible venues that is a pretty big advantage.
Also consider this: Since 2005 teams coming from Domed Regions vs. teams from Arena Regions are 13-4 in the Final Four.
The recent dominance of dome teams vs. arena teams over the past 9 tournaments suggests that teams coming from a Dome Environment to another Dome Environment have an advantage over teams who are making the adjustment during Final Four week. The Final Four is already much different from what these teams typically go through. The media sessions are longer, the attention is much greater, and of course players & coaches must deal with a much longer period between games (6-7 days) between the National Semifinals and the Regional Final. All before playing on college basketball’s biggest platform.
Data prior to 2005 is much more even, with Arena Regions actually having a slight advantage over Domed Regions. Recently, however, Final sites have been played with the basketball court in the MIDDLE of the venue, where a football field was designed to be. That difference, opposed to using half of the dome like at the 2013 Regional Final at Lucas Oil might be the main difference in the most recent set of data that favors Domed Regions.
There has been talk recently of bringing the Final Four back to Arenas. It isn’t a terrible idea, but playing the Final Four inside of an arena would greatly reduce the accessibility of the event. The NCAA distributes tickets to school presidents, athletic directors, sponsors and honored guests each year for the Final Four, in addition to a HUGE media presence at the event. Arenas only have so much space, and while many of those listed could be accommodated in loge & box areas take note of how the street value and availability of tickets for the 75,000 seat Georgia Dome behaved. Having attended several Final Fours, I’ve seen tickets in previous years as low as $50 and fairly good seats for about $200. And tickets for the National FINAL were always cheaper and more readily available than the National Semi-Final……but that didn’t happen in Atlanta. In Atlanta several folks brought $300-$400 and couldn’t find a ticket in their market, I know of several people who traveled to Atlanta, paid for gas & lodging and fully intended on spending $400+ for a ticket to the National Championship game only to be shut out. If the NCAA moved the Final Four back to an arena format the supply and availability of basketball’s grandest stage would become even more limited.
Whatever the NCAA decides for the Final Fours future, the 2014 NCAA Final Four will be held at the enormous Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. The only region that will be playing in the statistically advantageous Dome environement will be at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Let the jockeying begin.
|Champion||Regional Site||Dome or No Dome||# of Domed Regions||Teams||Region Venue||Dome vs. Arena Wins||W||Dome vs. Arena Losses||L|
|2013||Louisville||Lucas Oil||Dome||2||Louisville||Lucas Oil (Dome)||Louisville vs. Wichita||1|
|Wichita State||Staples Center (Arena)||Michigan vs. Syracuse||1|
|Final-Georgia Dome||Michigan||Cowboys Stadium (Dome)|
|Syracuse||Verizon Center (Arena)|
|2012||Kentucky||Georgina Dome||Dome||2||Louisville||US Airways (Arena)||Kentucky vs. Louisville||1|
|Kentucky||Georgia Dome (Dome)||Kansas vs. Ohio State||1|
|Final-Superdome||Kansas||Edwards Jones Dome (Dome)|
|Ohio State||TD Garden (Arena)|
|2011||Uconn||Honda Center||Arena||1||Kentucky||Prudential Center (Arena)||VCU v. Butler||1|
|Final-Reliant Stadium||Uconn||Honda Center (Arena)|
|Butler||New Orleans Arena (Arena)|
|2010||DUKE||Reliant||Dome||3||WVU||Carrier Dome (Dome)||Duke v. Butler||1||Michigan State vs. Butler||1|
|Butler||Energy Solutions (Arena)|
|Final-Lucas Oil||Michigan St||Edwards Jones Dome (Dome)|
|DUKE||Reliant Stadium (Dome)|
|2009||North Carolina||FedEx Forum||Arena||2||Villanova||TD Garden (Arena)||Michigan State vs. UNC||1|
|Uconn||University of Phoenix Stadium (Dome)|
|Final-Ford Field||North Carolina||FedEx Forum (Arena)|
|Michigan St||Lucas Oil (dome)|
|2008||Kansas||Ford Field||Dome||2||North Carolina||Charlotte Bobcats Arena (Arena)||Kansas vs. UNC||1|
|UCLA||US Airways (Arena)||Memphis vs. UCLA||1|
|Final-Alamodome||Kansas||Ford Field (Dome)|
|Memphis||Reliant Stadium (Dome)|
|2007||Florida||Edwards Jones||Dome||2||Ohio State||Alamodome (Dome)||Florida vs. UCLA||1|
|UCLA||HP Pavilion (Arena)||Ohio St. vs. Gtown||1|
|Final-Georgia Dome||Georgetown||Continental Airlines Arena (Arena)|
|Florida||Edwards Jones Dome (Dome)|
|2006||Florida||Metrodome||Dome||2||LSU||Georgia Dome (Dome)||Florida v. George Mason||1||LSU v. UCLA||1|
|UCLA||Oakland Arena (Arena)||Florida v. UCLA||1|
|Final-RCA Dome||Florida||Metrodome (Dome)|
|George Mason||Verizon Center (Arena)|
|2005||North Carolina||Carrier Dome||Dome||1||Louisville||University Arena (NM Pit)||North Carolina v. Michigan St||1|
|Illinois||AllState Arena||North Carolina v. Illinois||1|
|Final-Edwards Jones Dome||Michigan St||Frank Erwin Center (Arena)|
|North Carolina||Carrier Dome (Dome)|