Houston Ready for Big Hoops Regional

Reliant Stadium is nearly completely transformed now into a 43,000 seat basketball arena for the NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Friday night.

Work crews removed tons of dirt from the rodeo and have used huge curtains to block-off about 30,000 seats. Reliant Park president and general manager Shea Guinn says there's not a bad seat in the house.

"Even if you're in the loge level up there you've got these video boards. It's like sitting in your living room with the world's largest flat-screen television. We've walked the entire building now that we have this floor-riser set-up and there's not a bad seat in the house. It's a great view."

Texas plays Stanford in the first game Friday night. Memphis and Michigan State match-up in the second game. All four teams are expected to practice at Reliant Stadium Thursday morning. Guinn says this is Houston's chance to make a good impression.

"It's absolutely critical for us to make sure we hammer this home. This is really Houston's chance to shine with the NCAA with the regional and Final Four coming back in 2010 and 2011. For us, our goal has always been to set the bench mark for all the other cities and all the other games and I think with what you see here, I think we're going to do that."

This is the first time Houston has hosted an NCAA Men's Basketball Regional in more than 20 years.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...