INDIANAPOLIS -- A 10-photo-blog of the Final Four scene from the past few days, unfortunately devoid of shots from Friday night's Stone Temple Pilots show ...
1. The Road Ends Here because of the Final Four, or because you're re-paving it? Indy has some signage-conflict issues.
2. On Thursday, the upper deck of Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, had "Go Dawgs" written across eight sections of seats. That message disappeared by Friday, though. Were they ordered to be less partisan?
3. The Final Four salute is this "gala"-like thing held on Thursday night, at which CBS' Jim Nantz introduces all the teams to a crowd of important people in suits, and then a preview of One Shining Moment is played at the end. Every team takes a different approach to dressing up for this thing, from formal wear to warmups. I've been to a few salutes, and my unscientific Final Four prediction theory is that while the best-dressed team at the salute won't necessarily win it all, the worst-dressed team definitely won't be crowned champs. Butler wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst, either, so it's in good shape:
4. Duke one-upped Butler's polos-and-khakis look with jackets and ties, easily earning the title of best-dressed:
5. Michigan State went for the all-team-polos look (which, I should note, was the same approach used by Kansas' 08 title team):
6. That leaves us with West Virginia, which took a cue from its coach, Bob Huggins, and showed up in Nike warmups. By far the worst-dressed. Will the Mountaineers be doomed as a result?
7. The monitor below is part of Lucas Oil Stadium's Coach K Brainwash program, which broadcasts images and audio of him speaking in all areas of the building, 24 hours per day. (Or it was just showing a live feed of his press conference, and that's it. I've been prone to delusion this week. On one occasion I mistook the college-age valet at the Marriott for Brad Stevens.)
8. Da'Sean Butler has to be the friendliest star at the Final Four. While waiting to take the court on Friday for the Lowe's Senior Class Award presentation, he spent every minute of downtime chatting with fans, signing autographs, and posing for pictures (although none as epic as the one I took of him at the Big East tournament).
9. Thousands of fans showed up on Friday to witness, firsthand, the beauty of a Brian Zoubek hook shot. Some of them might have also been there to see Butler.
10. These candy mascots have been a nuisance ever since the Big East tournament, when there were Reese's logos everywhere but no Reese's for the media. Same deal at the Final Four: Reese's mascot, Reese's-sponsored team in the NABC All-Star game, no Reese's for the media. It hurts.