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Dome with a view

2/27/2010

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- This gives new meaning to The View. Binoculars not included. But definitely required.

Section 332. Row V. Seat 1.

Also known as fan 34,616 on this snowy night in Central New York.

To give you some perspective, that lucky seat is located well beyond the end zone in the southeast corner of the Carrier Dome. And the left baseline in front of the visitor’s bench at the northwest and opposite end of the Dome is located about 5 yards into the west end zone and about 10 yards from what would be the north sideline. So what is that, about 150 yards apart? See what I meant about binoculars and what I should have said about setting the DVR so you could actually watch the game when you return to the comfort of home.

One hour before tipoff of No. 8 Villanova vs. No. 4 Syracuse, curiosity reigned supreme and fans and media ventured to the very top of the Dome to see what all of the hype was about. And in row 22 against a concrete wall they found it. No one was actually sitting in this section that had never been sold for a basketball game, but it should be full of fans by the time the game starts.

And once the sellout crowd is officially announced it will represent the largest on-campus crowd in NCAA basketball history. It will surpass the previous mark of 33,633 that was set in this same building against this same opponent back on March 5, 2006 -- in the last regular-season appearance by Gerry McNamara at the Dome. Nova won that game 92-82.

Syracuse is 4-1 in games at the Dome with crowds of more than 33,000, and 45-22 in games played here that had attendance top the 30,000 mark -- including 0-1 this season after a 66-60 loss to Louisville back on Feb. 14.

With a win tonight, the No. 4 Orange have a realistic shot at being the nation’s new No. 1 team after top ranked Kansas and No. 2 Kentucky both lost earlier today.

If Syracuse wins, whoever is sitting in the farthest reach of the Dome will undoubtedly go home happy and be able to say he (or she) was there for The Game. But it’s safe to say there won’t be anyone sitting in that seat one month from today when the NCAA East Regional final is played in this building because Syracuse can’t play here in the national tournament.

Come to think of it, I wonder when the last time that seat was occupied for a Cuse football game? Last season’s largest crowd was listed at 48,617 for the home opener against Minnesota on Sept. 5, which was about a thousand shy of a sellout.

SU athletic director Dr. Daryl Gross has publicly stated his desire to stage a Dome basketball game with the court moved to the middle of the facility with the goal of crowd that topped 50,000. If that ever happens, Saturday night’s Bob Uecker seats might become prime real estate.