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franklin county times

Dome creates more Final Four magic

By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
April 8, 2003
NEW ORLEANS The ghosts of the venerable Louisiana Superdome came forth yet again to place their mark on Syracuse University's mind-boggling 81-78 triumph over Kansas in the 2003 National Championship game. There has been the Fred Brown pass, the Keith Smart shot, the Chris Webber timeout and now, feel free to add to that list, the Hakim Warrick block.
Heading into Monday's epic tilt for college basketball's national title game, the matchup itself had all the trappings and signs that it would indeed become the classic it turned out to be. Even if it didn't start out that way.
It is just part of the mystique of the building. Consider that 10 points or more has decided the previous three final games. Contrast that with the last three finales inside this entity in downtown New Orleans that have been decided by a miniscule 2.7 points. And sure enough, the Orangemen's margin of victory proved to be right on target.
If that isn't enough evidence, look at the fact that only three of the last 43 championships have been decided by a point, and two of those were played here. Kansas coach Roy Williams was an assistant to Dean Smith in 1982 in the Jordan year, while as previously mentioned, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim fell to Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers, 74-73, in 1987.
Combine that history with the fact that both teams were evenly matched and it should come as no surprise this game turned out to be one for the ages.
Blame it on the rain
Hopefully visitors to the city won't think it's something personal. For the second time in three days, Mother Nature dropped the sky onto Poydras Street, just as fans were beginning to form lines at the security checkpoint stations outside the Superdome.
About 90 minutes prior to the Saturday semifinal session, the same type of violent cloudburst occurred.
In both instances, fans noted that the token checks, which included wanding, visual searches and pat-downs went much more quickly after the drops began to fall. Also in both instances, the rainfall on the day was very nearly non-existent up to that point.
Chance gets one
Lauderdale County native Cassie Chance was seen running around the Superdome all weekend. Chance, the sports information director at East Mississippi Community College, is a sophomore heading on to Mississippi State. She is pursuing a career in Sports Information, and seized an opportunity to gain experience working as a volunteer with the Final Four Media Relations staff.
Hall of Famers
Monday afternoon, the Basketball Hall of Fame elected its 2003 class in a ceremony held at a nearby hotel. This year's group was highlighted by Boston Celtic legend Robert Parish, former Los Angeles Laker James Worthy and their late radio broadcaster Chick Hearn, former Louisiana Tech women's coach Leon Barmore and former Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon. The induction ceremony will take place in September at the Hall in Springfield, Mass.
Classic quotables
Classic quoteables II
Nice, but puny by these standards:
The attendance of 54,432 for Saturday's semifinal session was the fourth-largest in Final Four history, but the smallest of the four Final Fours played here. The previous three have all attracted crowds upwards of 61,000.
Globies need OT:
Sunday evening's activity featured the collegiate all-star squad taking on the Harlem Globetrotters in the adjacent New Orleans Arena. The Globetrotters had to get serious to come away with the win, outlasting the college kids 87-85 in overtime.