Final Four selection process for 2017-2020 has begun, will remain in domes

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On Thursday morning, the NCAA sent out a release formally announcing that the bidding process for the 2017-2020 Final Fours has begun.

Here’s the timeline for the selection process, which takes over a year:

  • October 11th: Cities that want to make a bid on a Final Four must declare their intent to.
  • November 15th: A draft budget, hotel rates and confirmation of adherence to the NCAA’s bid specifications must be submitted.
  • January 2014: After visiting each site, the committee will announce finalists.
  • May 2014: The completed bids by the finalists are due.
  • November 2014: The committee will spend the summer reviewing those bids and visiting the cities before finally coming to a decision.

Perhaps the most interesting note is that the city must have a venue that holds 60,000 people, which essentially guarantees that the Final Four will be played in domed football stadiums through at least 2020. There was talk, at one point, of moving the Final Four into an NBA arena, which hasn’t been done since 1996.

The past three Final Fours have been held in Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta, with Dallas hosting this season and Indianapolis hosting in 2015 before heading back to Houston in 2016.

The best locations for Final Fours are places where both the stadium and more than a few bars and restaurants are located within walking distance of the hotel. Keeping the crowds in one section of the city while having enough places that it’s possible to get something to eat and a beer without waiting for two hours makes for a great experience. Most Final Four vets will tell you that Indianapolis and New Orleans are the best cities to host, with San Antonio coming in third.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.