When the Final Four is held at the Georgia Dome in 2013, it could set an attendance record for the event.
Georgia Dome general manager Carl Adkins said different configurations are being considered, but seating capacity will be from 70,000-80,000. The record was set in 2009 at Detroit's Ford Field, when 72,922 watched the final.
In the past, the dome has had a capacity of about 53,500 for Final Four games, but the NCAA in recent years changed its configuration for Final Fours. Host stadiums now place the courts at the center of the dome rather than in one end zone. Where the partitioned arrangement used about half of the permanent seats in addition to temporary seating, the new format opens up the entire stadium plus floor seating.
The Final Four will be at Houston's Reliant Stadium next month and the Superdome in New Orleans in 2012. Reliant Stadium's set-up will hold 77,317, and the Superdome configuration reportedly will hold about 75,000.
The dome will host the South regional in 2012 and use the full-stadium set-up as a dry run for the Final Four.
Party of six
On the eve of Selection Sunday, Kentucky coach John Calipari argued that the SEC should get six teams in the NCAA tournament, including Georgia and Alabama.
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings didn't say how many SEC teams should be in the tournament, but he offered: "I think all of our teams that get in, Georgia and Alabama included if they get in, have a chance to be very successful.
"Maybe not the same level of success that I think Florida has a chance to have, but you never know," Stallings added. "There's a team that jumps every year from our league and gets deeper than you think maybe they're going to."
In the stands
Former Hawks coach Mike Woodson had one of the best seats in the house Saturday. Woodson sat in the front row behind Kentucky's bench with his family, guests of Calipari, who is good friends with Woodson. After getting fired after last season, Woodson has stayed in Atlanta and is taking the year off. He said he will seek to get back into coaching next season.
Florida coach Billy Donovan expected Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins and Doron Lamb, who both sprained their left ankles late in their win over Alabama, to play Sunday in the final.
"I'm sure they'll all be out there pulling the Willis Reed," Donovan said, referring to the New York Knicks' famed appearance in a 1970 NBA finals game on a torn thigh muscle. "They will play."
Mixing it up
Stallings' decision to assign 6-foot-7 guard/forward Jeffery Taylor to defend Florida guard Erving Walker (5-8) meant that guard Brad Tinsley (6-3) was matched up with 6-10 forward Chandler Parsons. The Commodores used that strategy last week in their final regular-season game, an 86-76 loss in which Parsons scored 13, with seven rebounds. On Saturday, Parsons scored 16, with nine rebounds. Walker, held scoreless in the first half, got loose for 17 in the second.
"I felt Brad was much better [Saturday] than he was [last] Saturday, but it just goes into, you pick your poison," Stallings said.
"When they played [John] Jenkins or Tinsley on me, I definitely wanted to go into the post," Parsons said.
By beating Tennessee on Friday and Vanderbilt, Florida completed three-game sweeps of both teams. Donovan said he thought it was the first time the school had accomplished both -- barring Florida losing to either in the NCAA tournament -- in the same season.
Two East division teams will meet in the final after four years of finals between East and West division teams. The last East-East matchup was Florida-South Carolina in 2006. The last West-West final was 2002, Mississippi State-Alabama. ... Kentucky has been in the SEC tournament championship game 35 times previously, posting a 27-8 record. ... Florida has been in the title game seven times previously, going 3-4. ... Kentucky has won five consecutive SEC tournament games, dating to last year. ... With the loss, Vanderbilt's only SEC tournament finals appearance remains its 1951 championship. ... Tickets for the final are available at Ticketmaster and the dome box office.
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