They say that the first Super Bowl preview show begins shortly after the prior Super Bowl finishes, and with the crowning of Kentucky as the 2012 national champs late last night, today is the perfect time to post the first preview of the 2013 Final Four. There’s already much to discuss, and we can be sure that the 2013 Final Four will look much different from the one we saw over the last few days.
For one thing, most of the top players from the 2012 tournament– including Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Michigan State’s Draymond Green, and Vanderbilt’s Jeffrey Taylor– will be gone to the NBA.
Another reason the 2013 Final Four will look different is that it will be played in Eastern Europe.
In one of the great moments of stealth marketing, the NCAA subtly announced during last night’s championship game that next year’s Final Four would take place in Alanta, Lithuania, a town of 464.
This is a sensible choice for basketball and non-basketball reasons, and it’s a great way to expand the NCAA’s brand abroad.
Lithuania has a strong, proud, and hip basketball tradition most notably marked by its 1992 Olympic team, known as “The Other Dream Team.” Led by Arvydas Sabonis, the Lithuanian squad represented their burgeoning democracy and their sponsors– Grateful Dead Productions– well, taking home the Bronze Medal by defeating Russia, their former overlords, in the Barcelona games.
After surviving a Napoleonic invasion and two World Wars, Alanta has displayed a ruggedness that deservedly caught the eye of the NCAA and shows that it is more than capable of hosting next year’s Final Four.