Records in Reach

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, hosted a regional final in 2013 in preparation for the 2014 NCAA men’s Final Four, which could break attendance records.  Photo courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, hosted a regional final in 2013 in preparation for the
2014 NCAA men’s Final Four, which could break attendance records. Photo courtesy of Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

By Greg Echlin

In today’s world of collegiate sports, where powerhouse universities often make it to the championships, the beauty of the NCAA men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments—where dozens of teams large and small all have an equal shot—is that the dream of a Cinderella team lives on.

Who would have imagined the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles—better known as the “Dunk City” team—playing on the floor last year in a regional semifinal at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas? The college basketball world was also shocked to see the run of Wichita State, a team from the Missouri Valley Conference, which eliminated No. 1 seed Gonzaga, then Ohio State, and progressed to the men’s Final Four. And in the national semifinal, Wichita (whose nickname is, fittingly, the Shockers) managed to push eventual champion Louisville down to the wire before succumbing to the Cardinals, but only by four points, 72-68.

Much of the same type of drama is expected this year. “I think we’re going to have a phenomenal March Madness,” said ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale, who is in his 35th year behind the microphone.

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