So how is it you get people to feel like they're more a part of the NCAAs? Give 'em a basketball and let 'em shoot, dribble and dunk. And, to make sure they are really feeling with it, let 'em call play-by-play on CBS.

As part of the Final Four week, the NCAA set up a sideshow in the form of an elaborate interactive series of basketball games and activities it calls Hoop City.In a wing of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio, the NCAA has focused on basketball for everyone.

For example:

- The Last Second Shot. Participants take four spots on a half-court floor, with each shot position representing a last-second shot that won an NCAA final.

Those shots being Michael Jordan's shot in 1982 that gave North Carolina the win over Georgetown; Keith Smart's shot in 1987 that gave Indiana its win over Syracuse; Christian Laettner's shot in 1992 that gave Duke its win over Kentucky; and Charlotte Smith's shot in 1994 that gave North Carolina its win over Louisiana Tech.

- Dribble Master. Participants dribble a basketball around cones and flashing barricades, over a bridge, between basketball shoes glued to the floor, all the while trying to avoid hidden traps along the way, just to reach a basket.

- Free Throw Challenge. Participants get a minimum of three shots and can keep shooting until they miss.

- Around the World. Participants have 30 seconds to shoot and rebound their shots from six positions on the floor.

- Slam Dunk. They get one try on one of four baskets set at varying heights. No hanging on the rim, say the rules, and no pros.

- CBS Call The Play. With headphone and microphone, and a CBS/NCAA backdrop, people have an opportunity to call the play-by-play on one of the NCAA's greatest moments. They then get a free tape of the call to take home to show their friends.

In all, there are 10 stops on this basketball tour. There's even a little kids' area where only those 48 inches or shorter are allowed in and the tallest basket in no higher than an adult's chin.

It is, says a Hoop City spokeswoman, a way of getting the family involved in the Final Four.

"Besides, it's a nice addition to a pretty exciting week," she added.

The cost of a three-hour session is $7 for those 12 and over and $5 for those younger. The show will shut down at game time on Monday, then move to the women's Final Four.

Opening day the center hosted 350 disadvantaged children from the San Antonio area. They were able to shoot hoops, dribble the basketball and even be on TV as part of the NCAA Final Four.

No where else would they be able to do all of this, and unless they get to a Final Four again, they may never have the opportunity again.


Additional Information

Alamodome facts

Final Four seating capacity 41,254

Arena levels 3

Lower-level seating 20,436

Second-level seating 3,316

Third-level seating 17,502

Distance from floor to celing 176 feet

Distance from end to end 520 feet

Distance from sie to side 352 feet

Total square feet 408,680

Total cubic feet 71,751,680

Total arena capacity 65,000

Distance from airport 10 miles

On-site parking 2,992

Handicapped seating 210

Restrooms 85

Concession stands 46

Arena food specialty Mexican

Farthest seat from mid-court 304 feet

Did you know

The Alamodome:

- Is owned by the city of San Antonio

- Was constructed in 1993 at a cost of $186 million

- Is the only building in the world with two permanent Olympic-size ice sheets under one roof.

- Is the home of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs

- Is the site of the Alamo Bowl college football game

- Will be the site of the NCAA women's Final Four in 2002.