ESPN is coming to Denver. This April, the Pepsi Center, the home of our Nuggets, will host the 2012 NCAA Women’s Final Four. From March 30 to April 3, our little city will be swarming with four teams worth of vertically-blessed women, whittled down from approximately five thousand basketball student-athletes from 333 Division I institutions. Their champion status will be decided in the final on April 3.
In addition to the games, NCAA will have plenty going on for those hoop-shootin’ fans that just can’t get enough. The Convention Center will house Tourney Town, a sports fanatic haven, that is chock full of exhibits, clinics, food and Center Stage, an indoor stage featuring concerts from local, regional and national talent. Best of all, Tourney Town is free of charge and open to the public.
March 30 will be the day of the NCAA Youth Clinics, where children will learn and practice basketball and life skills, with the help of coaches and student-athletes. That evening, at Buell Theatre, is the Salute Premiere. The four teams will walk the red carpet, which is open to the public (watching it, not walking it. There’s only so much room for sequins on that scarlet walkway), and then continue on to the Salute, a celebratory ceremony for the coaches and athletes, which requires tickets.
The following morning is the 4Kay Run, which benefits the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Kay Yow was the basketball coach at North Carolina State. Her fund is committed to the fight against women’s cancers. Also on this day is one of my favorite events, the NCAA Girls Junior Journalism Workshop. The Workshop teaches middle school girls what it is to be a journalist. These lucky ladies will watch the team practices and will participate in the coaches’ news conferences. Some stories of the young journalists will be posted online during the Final Four.
April 1 is the day of the Semifinals, with two games that will decide who will go on to play in the Championship. But what is a competition without a little music? The afternoon begins with the NCAA Pep Rally, with the pep bands, cheerleading squads and mascots pulling out all the stops to get us pumped. The first game begins at 5:00pm, the second game following at 7:30pm.
Finally, April 3 will decide on the NCAA 2012 Champion. Tip-off is at 6:30pm, followed at 9:30pm by the NCAA/WBSC Coaches’ Trophy Presentation. This part is free, and open to the public, but check out the NCAA website for ticket availability.
What do you think, Denver? Now that Tebow and the Broncos are done-zo for the season, and the Super Bowl almost upon us, what Final Four events will you be attending?
Stay tuned for interviews and more information, plus coverage of the games and events leading up to the Championship game.