New Orleans dealt better Final Four hand than Houston

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2023 Final Four New Orleans

You don’t know how blessed New Orleans was a year ago to have an incredible Final Four, until you look at this Saturday’s version in Houston.

The first game Saturday is Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State, followed by Miami against Connecticut.

The ticket buying public has spoken.

The Houston Chronicle reported this week that limited session tickets to get into both the semifinals and the championship were $45 each. You have to buy at least four. But think about it. That’s $180 bucks to get four tickets to the semifinals and finals.

The four schools playing in Houston Saturday own four national titles, all belonging to the University of Connecticut.

The four schools in New Orleans last year were all blue bloods. Villanova, Kansas, Duke and North Carolina own a combined 18 national championships.

New Orleans, the best big event venue in the country (or the world, for that matter), got the Final Four it deserved.

Coach K’s last game as the head coach at Duke was against archrival North Carolina. The Jayhawks broke through with their first national title since 2008. They were great stories.

Plus, the Superdome looked fantastic. In almost 50 years of incredible moments, the Dome (yes, THE Dome) added yet another one to its impressive resume’.

It was special.

In the meantime, can you name any of this year’s Final Four coaches? I had Jim Larranaga for sure, because frankly, he is one of my favorite septuagenarians.

At 73 years old, I love the fact that Larranaga is taking a football school and putting it on the map in college basketball.

Larranaga led George Mason to the Final Four in 2008 and 15 years later, here he is again.

Cool story.

Trust me, as you advance (rapidly) on the calendar chronologically, you pull for the old guys.

Go Rick Pitino!

When I think of all of the Final Fours in New Orleans, the history is just mindboggling.

In 1982, we hosted the first domed stadium Final Four, one that ended with Michael Jordan’s game winning shot.

Five years, Pitino, a pup brought Providence here, to a Final Four won by Indiana, on a shot by a Baton Rouge guy, Keith Smart.

In 1993, Michigan’s Chris Webber called a time out that the Wolverines didn’t have, in the championship game against North Carolina.

In 2003, Jim Boeheim won his only title here, in a Final Four that featured Carmelo Anthony and Marquette’s Dwayne Wade.

In 2012, a great Kentucky team, led by Anthony Davis won the title here, months before the Pelicans won Davis’ rights in the draft lottery.

And then there was last year.

Those days last spring were unbelievably good. The stands were filled with the who’s who of American sports and politics.

After all, it was the Final Four in New Orleans.

It doesn’t get any better, period.

No $45 tickets here.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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