Posts Tagged ‘ncaa tournament’

Break Down Your Bracket with Bob Knight

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013



Legendary NCAA coach Bob Knight will be helping a small group of fans fill out their March Madness bracket on Monday, March 18 in New York City, and you can be one of them! Knight, a two-time NCAA champion coach at Indiana University, will meet and take photos with fans during this two hour exclusive event hosted by Steiner Sports at the Grand Hyatt (109 E. 42nd St, New York) starting at 7:00 PM.

To reserve your spot while they still remain, click on the Buy Now button below!

Experience includes

  • One (1) ticket to the Coach Knight bracket and beer event
  • One (1) Bob Knight signed basketball
  • Photo op with Bob Knight

Cost: $250

 

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For more information, please contact Jared Cooper at (646) 397-5350 or Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com.

The purchase of these packages is subject to the following Terms and Conditions, which can be found here.

Top Sports Power Weekends: March 25-27

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011


The tides are beginning to change as the calendar approaches the flip from March to April. College basketball season has only two weekends remaining as the NCAA Tournament has reached the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups, Spring Training will break and give way to the regular season after this week, the NBA and NHL are in playoff stretch run mode, and the MLS just kicked off. It makes for some very significant and hard-fought games, and thus some great Sports Power Weekend options.

I present to you the 10 best Sports Power Weekends of March 25-27. To purchase a Sports Power Weekend package, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

1. Anaheim

Thursday
  • Duke vs. Arizona and San Diego St. vs. UConn
Friday
  • Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
Saturday
  • NCAA Tournament Regional Finals
  • Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers
  • Colorado Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings
  • Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA
Sunday
  • New Orleans Hornets at Los Angeles Lakers

What makes this weekend so great is that not only are the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games much more competitive and exciting than that some of the early-round mismatches, but you also get a chance to see some of the NBA’s biggest stars on the Tournament off days. Blake Griffin and Kobe Bryant fighting for the Staples Center spotlight on Friday night in nearby LA will be great, as will seeing Chris Paul take on those same Lakers on Sunday. The Honda Center in Anaheim is only about 30 minutes from LA, but with that traffic it could take three times as long.

Also see: Los Angeles City Guide

2. Newark

Friday
  • Ohio State vs. Kentucky and Marquette vs. North Carolina
  • Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks
Saturday Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders
Sunday
  • NCAA Tournament Regional Finals

The Prudential Center has no doubt been a success since opening just a few years ago, and with the Nets and Devils as its current primary tenants, it has put on its fair share of events. Newark will once again be on display as the Regional Semis and Finals roll into town, but New York City also throws itself into the fray with a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. Public transportation will makes the trip from Manhattan to Newark seamless and inexpensive, and there is no shortage of things to do on Saturday while no Tournament games are being held in the area.

Also see: New York City Guide

3. New Orleans

Thursday
  • Wisconsin vs. Butler and BYU vs. Florida
Friday
Saturday
  • NCAA Tournament Regional Finals
Sunday

New Orleans is another one of those weekends that doesn’t even need another sporting event to put it over the top. The Superdome is a manageable walk to the French Quarter for some postgame fun, and the food down in the area is hard to top. This will be a great long weekend starting on Thursday.

Also see: New Orleans City Guide

4. San Antonio

Friday
  • Kansas vs. Richmond and Florida State vs. VCU
Saturday
Sunday
  • NCAA Tournament Regional Finals

San Antonio’s River Walk and the Alamo are good attractions to check out when you’re not attending Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games at the Alamodome. San Antonio is a very spread out city, so staying in the River Walk area is definitely worth it.

Also see: Houston & San Antonio City Guide

5. Tampa Bay-Orlando

Friday
  • Nets at Magic
  • Hurricanes at Lightning
  • Spring Training
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational
Saturday
  • Spring Training
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational
Sunday
  • Spring Training
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational

There is plenty to do this weekend in central Florida as Spring Training concludes with its final weekend, the Magic and Lightning are both home on Friday night, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational comes to Orlando. This is your last chance to see Grapefruit League action, so make it count.

6. Phoenix

Friday
  • Hornets at Suns
  • Spring Training
Saturday
  • Sharks at Coyotes
  • Spring Training
Sunday
  • Mavericks at Suns
  • Spring Training

Just like the Grapefruit League, Cactus League action comes to an end this weekend as well. With some many MLB teams training within a short radius of Phoenix, this is a great opportunity to check that out in addition to two Suns games and a Coyotes game in Glendale.

7. Boston

Friday
  • Bobcats at Celtics
Saturday
  • Rangers at Bruins
  • DC United at Revolution
Sunday

The Celtics are fighting for the top spot in the East, and the Rangers and Bruins will just be fighting. The TD Garden is the place to be this weekend with both teams in action and few games left on their collective home slates. Also check out the Revolution at Gillette Stadium in some early-season MLS action.

Also see: Boston City Guide

8. Chicago

Friday
  • Grizzlies at Bulls
Saturday
  • Ducks at Blackhawks
  • Sporting KC at Fire
Sunday

Like the aforementioned Celtics, the Bulls are gunning for the number one seed in the East. They take on the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center on Friday night, and the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks take on the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. The MLS Chicago Fire host Sporting KC on Saturday as well.

Also see: Chicago City Guide

9. Philly

Friday
Saturday
  • Whitecaps at Union
Sunday
  • Kings at 76ers
  • Bruins at Flyers

The Philly SPW starts off on Saturday as the Union host the newly introduced Vancouver Whitecaps in their first-ever meeting. Sunday sees a Wells Fargo Center doubleheader as the 76ers and Flyers host the Sacramento Kings and Boston Bruins, respectively.

10. Atlanta

Friday
  • Canucks at Thrashers
Saturday
  • Nets at Hawks
Sunday
  • Senators at Thrashers

Philips Arena has a full slate this weekend with two Thrashers games and the Hawks hosting the New Jersey Nets on Saturday. The Hawks will be playing for playoff positioning, bit they’ll have to stop Deron Williams and the Nets to get the win.

Also see: Atlanta City Guide

March Madness the perfect opportunity for a Sports Power Weekend

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011



What is so great about the NCAA Tournament – besides everything – is that with the games slated for particular times on either Thursday and Saturday, or Friday and Sunday, fans can plan their weekends and budget their time accordingly. Also great is the one-day gap in games that allows the fan to explore the city they are in, and even see another sporting event or two if time permits.

For this reason, the NCAA Tournament (with the conference tournaments bundled in) is the greatest event on the calendar for a Sports Power Weekend. Check out the tournament sites below with the dates of the NCAA Tournament games being played, as well as any other sporting event that can be attended on the same weekend.

To customize a Sports Power Weekends package to any of these sites, contact info@SPWtravel.com for pricing and options.

April 2-4 (Final Four and National Title Game)

Houston Friday
  • San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
  • Reese’s College All-Star Game
  • PGA Shell Houston Open
Saturday
  • Final Four
  • PGA Shell Houston Open
Sunday
  • Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets
  • PGA Shell Houston Open
Monday
  • National Title Game

Houston officials and schedule-makers did a great job bringing in the Shell Houston Open this weekend, as well as having two Rockets games in between the Final Four and Title Game at Reliant Stadium. This is a Sports Power Weekend option that not only offers a tent-pole event in the Final Four, but also a fun spectator event like a PGA Tournament, and two NBA games for the basketball nuts.

Guest Column: The Guide to Attending the NCAA Tournament

Monday, March 14th, 2011



Brian Litvack is an executive at Sportsvite.com and blogs about basketball, life, his career, and his interests at blog.littyhoops.com.

Brian Litvack can barely contain his excitement after San Diego upsets UConn in Tampa during 2008 NCAA Tournament.

I’m bracket surfing with the fam to Washington DC on Thursday for the first (oops, I mean second) round of the NCAA Tournament at the Verizon Center. This is an annual family tradition for the Littyhoopsters.  Pick a city.  Watch basketball.  Seems simple, right?  Not quite, my novice Bracketeer.

Here’s Littyhoops guide to KILLING IT at the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

First, for those non-fanatics, here’s the deal. The opening rounds of the NCAA Basketball tournament is played in eight different cities each year. Each region hosts eight teams. There are four games (doubleheader in the day and night) the first day and then all of the winners play in a second round doubleheader two days later.

1. Pick Your City

There are two different schools of thought on how to pick the right city. You can plan your trip months before Selection Sunday. In the case of my dad, he starts planning the next trip on the travel home from the current one.  This is a great way to visit different cities and arenas and lock down travel and hotel accommodations.  Our crew has been to Chicago, Philadelphia, Tampa, Providence, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Worcester and Long Island.  The big issue here is that you don’t know what schools you will see play until they are announced just a few days before.

The other method is to follow your favorite school or alma mater wherever they are sent to play.  For this strategy to work, your school has to actually make the tournament each year.  Fans travel in packs with each other and try to out-dominate the rooting sections of other schools with weird chants and cheers.  Until this year if I employed this strategy with the Johnnies or even Michigan this article might be about the NIT (NIT = not killing it).

2. Hotel Proximity

It’s imperative to stay at a hotel that is walking distance to the arena.  There’s a good chance you might make the trip 4x in one day since it’s crucial to get a cat nap between sessions.  Also, most hotels will be prepared for the tournament crowd adding to the Bracketville vibe in the lobby, bars and travel back and forth.   In some cases, the actual teams might be staying at the same hotel. In Tampa, I met my dad in the lobby and he was trembling. I asked him what happened and he said he just took an elevator ride standing next to the giant Hasheem Thabeet.  Colby and I ran into Tayshaun Prince at the Roosevelt Field mall when he was at Kentucky.  Last year, my dad stalked the Ohio Bobcat players at the food court to tell them how proud he was that a MAC team (he went to Bowling Green) knocked off Georgetown.

3. Know your Arena

For one shining day, the arena will be your home, so quickly get acclimated with your confines. Scout out the concessions.  Befriend the ushers.  Make sure you have quick access to the televisions in the hallway to watch the close endings of other games. At the Wachovia Center, I eat Crab Fries at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  At the Dunkin Donuts Center, I’m hopped up on coffee. Some arena’s have bars or lounges that are a great place to hang out between games or during blowouts.  I once found myself spending half the day in a secret stadium cigar lounge with leather sofas (can’t even remember the city). These days, it’s also important to check out the wireless and internet situation as you can now watch other games on your mobile device or iPad.  Ain’t technology grand! I remember back when we used transistor radios to get score updates from other regions.

4. Find Good Seats

The arena is never completely full as many fans buy tickets for all the sessions but don’t have the stamina of a true basketball junky. That means it’s usually pretty easy to move around and find open seats. Do it!

Yet another winning move is to go sit in the student section of the teams that are playing. In 2003, I was surrounded by cheeseheads as Wisconsin-Milwaukee held the ball for a final shot down by one point to Notre Dame.  The energy and noise was astounding only to turn to heartbreak moments later when a UWM big guy missed an open layup to end the game.

5. Know Your Teams

Obviously, if you’re following specific teams that will dominate you’re rooting interests.  But it’s great to learn about the other teams, coaches, players and fans.  At some point during every trip you’ll get a pure slice of precious college basketball.  So when a 7’5” British guy comes in on the last play of the game you can be the hero in your section who knows everything about him (Neil Fingelton for Holy Cross).

I’ve had the luck to see an under the national radar Dwayne Wade at Marquette, a before he was famous Rajon Rondo on Kentucky and I fell in love with a USC team in 2001 that featured Brian Scalabrine, Sam Clancy and David Bluthenthal. My first ever tournament action was watching Ivy leaguers Matt Maloney and Jerome Allen dismantle #6 Nebraska team led by the Polish Rifle Eric Piatkowksi.
My sister Courtney actually has begun to research each team and then jots color coded notes on index cards about the teams and players.  I wonder why she goes to all that trouble when she could just watch thousands of hours of college basketball during the season instead.

6. Root For the Underdog

There’s nothing better when the arena comes alive as an underdog makes a run at a traditional power.  It’s like everyone in the building just gulped a 5 Hour Energy.  The fans are suddenly infected with the madness and start rooting like crazy for a team that only hours before meant nothing to them.

In 2002, we lived and died with Creighton as they defeated Florida in overtime on a game winning three pointer.  In 2005, my sister Lisa lost her mind and started cursing out a section full of Syracuse fans after Vermont’s TJ Sorrentine pulled up from infinity to swish a three to knock out the defending champions.  In ’07, we watched #16 Albany take a double digit lead in the second half against UCONN in an attempt to make history only to get worked down the stretch.  But nothing tops 2008 in Tampa (aka Upset City) where all four games were upsets.  My little sister watched in horror as my dad taunted Vanderbilt as they were getting worked by Siena at the half.

7. Find the Best Sports Bar In Town

No matter where you go you will have a day off between games.  That means it’s time to watch more games. Tournament time is usually busy at sports bar so make sure you stake out the right spot and get a reservation.

8. Embrace The Madness

Eat, sleep, drink college basketball.  Remember, there are 12 other games going on that day and 16 more games the next day. It’s just the right amount for the human brain to comprehend and enjoy. So please don’t waste any room in your brain thinking or talking about anything else besides basketball.

Follow these few easy steps and I’m sure you’ll be hooked for life. Hopefully one day soon you’ll be dragging your wife and kids to random arenas to overdose on college basketball.  That’s my plan in life.