Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tampa: Something's out of place here

Thoughts from Tampa, Fla., where Clemson faces Villanova in one of the last first-round games Friday at the witching hour of 9:40 p.m.:

-- Tampa hasn't always been perceived as a huge college basketball town. That was the case last season when it hosted the ACC tournament because, well, the North Carolina-centric ACC tournament was being held in Tampa. But by all accounts the city did a terrific job with the event.

With the NCAA tournament's first- and second-rounds in Tampa, there's another perception situation: The predominant image a visitor gets of the St. Pete Times Forum are huge photos on the side of the building of a Tampa Bay Lightning player hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Come to think of it, that's something else that seems out of place: Hockey in Florida.

-- Wonder if the Tampa Tribune felt like it got scooped when the naming rights of the arena -- located in the middle of downtown Tampa -- was named after a newspaper from another city? Memo to bosses: When Bobcats Arena's naming rights are sold, make sure it's not the Gaston Gazette Arena.

-- David Scott