When the seedings were announced for the NCAA tournament on Sunday, there was a scramble for the next level of seedings. No, not the N.I.T. or College Basketball Invitational ... but the hotels which will host each of the eight teams in the site.
Take Raleigh, for example, which hosts games of Friday and Sunday. The East's top seed North Carolina gets to stay at the Embassy Suites in nearby Cary, NC (by the way, it is just a 20-mile ride from UNC's campus to the game). Georgetown, the #2 seed in the Midwest will be at a Sheraton in Raleigh.
#16 seed Mount St. Mary's gets a Holiday Inn near the NC State campus. #15 seed Maryland-Baltimore County gets a Holiday Inn near a mall.
The director of sales and marketing for the Holiday Inn Brownstone has no problem with his hotel's low-seeded status.
"We know our place in the community," Kevin Johnson said. "We're not a four-star hotel, but there were probably 20 hotels who put in for this. So we look at it as a 'glass half-full' situation."
While you may thing the seeding deal is one thing, at least the NCAA is trying to get these kids into decent accomodations. In year's past, that hasn't been the case.
But the NCAA was not always so rigorous in its hotel screening. Southern Illinois assistant coach Brad Korn told The Washington Post last year how his team reached the tournament's regional semifinals as a No. 11 seed in 2002, only to be assigned to a rundown Syracuse hotel with moldy showers, unkempt beds and filthy curtains. The Salukis head coach, Chris Lowery, an assistant at the time, suffered an allergic reaction and missed a practice when his face erupted in hives. The team blamed the food and the hotel's cleanliness.
The NCAA requires that the hotels have a full service resteraunt and conference rooms that can be used for team meetings. They've also starting viewing the rooms, showers and overall cleanliness before giving them the okay. Still, there may be some things that are more important,
UMBC sophomore forward Justin Fry did not begrudge Georgetown its more luxurious hotel, nor did he gripe about his Holiday Inn, which was close enough to the Angus Barn steakhouse for a Wednesday night team dinner.
"They deserve it," Fry said of Georgetown and its place in the hotel pecking order. "I mean, it's not really a slap in the face. We're just here to play ball."