Opening-round games at classic venues? Brilliant!

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As the NCAA tries to settle questions surrounding the opening-round games – where to play and who plays in ’em? – St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli offered up a terrific suggestion.

Play the games at historic venues like Allen Fieldhouse and the Palestra.

Perhaps those venues would provide an extra boost to games that otherwise might not attract non-local fans. After all, places like Allen used to play host to NCAA tournament games back in 1979. Maybe it’s time to bring back some old faves.

“I think there’d be a lot of excitement about it. Years ago they did have tournament games in places like Allen, which hosted it (tournament) regularly. I was at Hofstra in the ’70s. We played Notre Dame in the Palestra, which hosted a lot of first-round games,” Kansas senior associate athletic director Larry Keating told the Lawrence Journal-World. “You also have to remember, back then, Allen at 16,000 seats was one of the larger buildings in the country.”

Keating doesn’t expect the NCAA to venture away from Dayton, Ohio, where the opening-round game has been played since 2001. One problem would be scheduling, as Kansas and the teams playing – if it wasn’t the Jayhawks – would need practice time.

But if a tight schedule is the biggest detriment to playing in an old school spot, it’s worth figuring out, right?

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