NEW ORLEANS — Officially, the Final Four has begun.
Kentucky, joining the three other teams in this week’s Final Four in New Orleans, opened Final Four weekend at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the 2012 NCAA Final Fur Salute Presentation and Reception. The event serves as the annual tip-off to the college basketball season’s final stop.
With the national championship trophy displayed at the center of a full-length court and Jim Nantz, the play-by-play man for the Final Four, as a host, the four teams were introduced in New Orleans fashion. The teams paraded into the arena behind a jazz band and threw out beads to the hundreds of fans in attendance.
Each player was then introduced to the crowd with brief interviews with a few select players. As Nantz and his CBS colleague introduced the players, each one touched the national semifinals ball they’ll play with on Saturday.
The event included a sit-down interview with all four of the coaches and a trip through some of the Final Four’s greatest memories in New Orleans. But the best part — the one I’m sure the players enjoyed the most — was the sneak peek at this year’s “One Shining Moment.”
Although there will be some last-minute edits made with the national championship winner, the players got to see most of the highlights the nation so eagerly awaits to see Monday night.
Reminder: For those of you in New Orleans on Friday, UK will have an open practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from 2:10 to 3 p.m. CT.
Also, it’s not too late to vote for Anthony Davis for the Naismith Trophy, given annually to the national player of the year. Fans can text VOTE to 34763. Voting closes Saturday at 11:59 p.m. ET.