First impressions of the Yum! Center

November, 16, 2010
11/16/10
7:44
PM ET
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- In a word, wow.

Louisville's new basketball home is the most modern facility in America, and maybe the nicest. The only thing it lacks is a palatable name.

The KFC Yum! Center -- exclamation point included! -- is a necessary but perturbing bow to the corporate reality of modern stadium-building. But the annoying moniker is overcome by the physical reality of the place.

Every conceivable bell has been included. And whistle. And they probably made up a few new ones as well.

The 22,000-seat edifice is picturesquely located downtown, right by the Ohio River. It has an NBA look to it on the outside and the inside, where the suites are opulent and plentiful.

For fans and players alike, there is every creature comfort and convenience -- and even for visiting broadcasters as well. Dickie V and Dan Shulman had their own dressing room for tonight's game against Butler.

Several NCAA honchos are in attendance for this curtain-lifting as well, because they know this building has NCAA tournament potential. There will be regionals here in the future, just as there used to be at fabled Freedom Hall.

That old barn was home to six Final Fours back in the day, and to every important Louisville home game for decades. It holds a secure place in college basketball history. But it was time for a change, time to upgrade.

And the upgrade is spectacular.

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