Times and the rules have changed since Seattle played host to Final Four fans with unprecedented red-carpet treatment in 1984, but the city hopes to come out ahead again--financially and image-wise--this weekend.
And with Arkansas on hand, along with UCLA, Oklahoma State and North Carolina, there is speculation President Clinton, a big Razorbacks’ fan, might show up. However, official White House plans on Monday put him in Arkansas for the weekend, not at courtside.
All the same, with 35,000 visitors, 17,000 hotel-room bookings and five days of celebration, Seattle should come out about $30.8 million ahead, according to the state Revenue Department.
The 38,590 tickets have been sold out for months. Brokers and entrepreneurs are asking as much as $3,500 for courtside seats.
Oklahoma State (27-9) always has been good defensively during Coach Eddie Sutton’s five years in Stillwater. As long as he’s on the bench, his teams will concern themselves most with stopping the other team.
Last year’s Cowboy team held opponents to 41.45% shooting, but this year’s is even better.
Through 36 games, Oklahoma State has limited opponents to 39.1% shooting, lowest during the Sutton era.
“I think it’s mentality probably more than anything,” assistant coach Sean Sutton said Monday. “With last year’s team, they had more of an attitude of ‘If you score on us, we’ll score on you.’ This team’s mentality, as far as defense is concerned, is they don’t like anybody scoring on them. . . . They really take it personally.”
Oklahoma State opponents in the NCAA tournament have found that out. Drexel made only 25% of its shots in a first-round loss. Alabama, was held to 36% shooting. Wake Forest shot 40% and Massachusetts 28%.
Before last week, Les Robinson saw in North Carolina what just about everyone in the nation had seen--great starting five, no backups. Now the North Carolina State basketball coach sees a whole lot more.
“A week ago, I would have said Arkansas (would beat the Tar Heels),” said Robinson, whose Wolfpack was one of the five teams to beat North Carolina. “I would have possibly given them the edge on depth because that’s what I felt about Kentucky. But they handled Kentucky without a lot of problems. That changes my whole view.”
The Tar Heels (28-5) downed the Wildcats, 74-61, in the NCAA Southeast Regional championship game, giving them their 12th appearance in the Final Four, the 10th for coach Dean Smith.
“They’re so talented,” Robinson said. “You’ve got the outside shooting that no one can match in (Dante) Calabria and (Donald) Williams. No one can match them, night in and night out.
“Now, they have the total package.”