BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ice still caps Lake Erie, but an ice boom keeps it from flowing down the Niagara River and messing up Niagrara Falls.
Even with so much ice nearby, the weather in Buffalo has been pleasant for the NCAA Tournament this week. Temperatures are mostly in the high 50s and low 60s, and people here are wearing shorts and T-shirts.
I’m comfortable in my flannel shirt and vest with a jacket at night.
I’m not sure of all the criteria the NCAA uses to pick sites for March Madness. The factors that are usually cited include a large arena, proximity to an airport — and plenty of hotel space.
North Little Rock hosted first-round and second-round NCAA Tournament games in 2008, with UALR serving as the host at what was then called Alltel Arena.
UALR's then-Athletic Director Chris Peterson had some pull with the NCAA, and it was overlooked that we didn’t have eight full-service hotels in the area.
The NCAA sends an employee to each site to grade how the event went.
A year after North Little Rock hosted, I was told by a then-NCAA employee that we didn’t do well, but also that the guy they had sent was one of the toughest site judges the NCAA had. My source wasn’t sure if that judge had ever passed anyone.
If a toilet was unflushed in a public bathroom, my source said, you got wrote up.
If the media meal was hot instead of sandwiches, my source said, you got wrote up.
It wasn’t anything that general manager Michael Marion or his staff at the arena did or didn’t do, but too many little things went wrong.
For instance: The day before the games in North Little Rock, the internet in the arena was almost nonexistent. Turns out a CBS truck had pulled up and taken up all the bandwidth. CBS was put on a different server, but the damage was done.
Which brings me back to Buffalo. On the court, the internet stinks.
Everything else here is good, especially the weather.