Writer: Stewart Mandel
Post time: Friday, 7:14 p.m.
DETROIT -- A pregame note to both SI.com readers and my employers: There's a better-than-average chance I will not be able to file my column from tonight's Wisconsin-Davidson game because either A) my computer will have been destroyed or B) I will be in the hospital with a severe concussion.
It's the first night of the NCAA's grand Ford Field experiment. In a preview of next year's Final Four, the NCAA for the first time has placed an elevated basketball court in the center of a football field and opened the entire dome to seating. (Normally, the court is placed on one side and half the stands are curtained off.) It's great for the organization, which will rake in a boatload from all the extra Kansas and Wisconsin fans that will now be able to get in, and it's great for the fans, who have a much better view (albeit awfully high for some) than they would have in years past.
(The strange thing is, this place has the quiet vibe of a half-empty arena -- because it is -- yet there are probably close to 40,000 people in the stands.)
As for the media? Let's just say I'm more than a little scared right now.
Because of the elevated floor, the first-row press table is literally connected to the court, with no more than five feet of black carpet separating an inbounding players' sneakers from my face. Not only does it make for an unusual view -- I should be able to provide unprecedented coverage of the players' socks -- but at some point, there is going to be a loose-ball scramble by the sideline, and at some point, one or more players are going to come barreling into some unsuspecting writer (not to mention his laptop).
Pray for us, people. Pray for us.