FINALS WATCH: Jet-setting Jerry Jones

View photos
Jerry Jones, left, and George Strait speak on stage at the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Everyone knows that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a jet-setter.

He's sure putting that jet to work this weekend.

It began when he attended Saturday night's national semifinals at his billion-dollar showplace near Dallas, and was booed when he was shown on his $40 million TV hanging over the court.

After the games, Jones hopped on a plane to Las Vegas and was front-and-center for the Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand. During the show, it was announced that his stadium will host the 50th anniversary of the star-studded awards next year, the first time it will move out of Las Vegas in more than a decade.

By the time he was walking through the doors to AT&T Stadium for Monday night's title game between Kentucky and Connecticut, Jones was capping off quite the whirlwind weekend.

— Dave Skretta,


Just call AT&T Stadium's first Final Four an audition for its next one.

The NCAA has been keeping a keen eye on how things are running at the mega-sized arena near Dallas because it is also bidding to host another Final Four at some point from 2017-20.

Official bids for that period are due to the NCAA next month, and the cities will make their final pitches to the Division I men's basketball committee at its meeting in November.

Dallas is also a finalist to host a women's championship at American Airlines Center.

"This is a superb arena, stadium and experience. There's no better stadium probably in the country than this one," NCAA president Mark Emmert said Sunday. "This one works pretty darn well."

The size of the Dallas Cowboys' stadium in Arlington helped the NCAA establish a record crowd for a college basketball game of 79,444 during Saturday night's semifinals.

Among those competing with AT&T Stadium for the next round of Final Fours are: Indianapolis, which will host it next year; Atlanta, which hosted the game last year; New Orleans, which hosted it two years ago; Minneapolis, which is building a new stadium for the Vikings; Phoenix-Glendale, which is hosting the upcoming Super Bowl; and former hosts St. Louis and San Antonio.

Houston is scheduled to host the game in 2016.

"It's a great venue," Emmert said of AT&T Stadium. "I know there's a critique about playing in a big venue like this or San Antonio or somewhere else, but the reality is you can get 80,000 people in to watch a game, and that's pretty exciting."

— Dave Skretta,


There will be a celebration of Kentucky on Tuesday, win or lose.

Of course, Big Blue Nation is expecting a win.

The school's athletic department announced that there will be a public celebration of the season at Rupp Arena on Tuesday. The team is scheduled to return from the Dallas Metroplex at about 2 p.m. local time, and the party will begin when the players and coaches arrive at the arena.

Fans can begin lining up for free tickets to the event immediately after the Wildcats' game against Connecticut on Monday night. There is a limit of four tickets per person. All seats are reserved, though there will be a special student section.

No word yet if Ashley Judd will be in attendance.

— Dave Skretta,


During the NASCAR telecast Monday, there was a whole lot of talk about basketball.

Fox announcers Darrell Waltrip and Mike Joy went back and forth throughout the 500-mile race, arguing about who was going to win Monday night's national championship game between Connecticut and Kentucky.

Joy grew up in Connecticut and Waltrip is from Kentucky, and they were both sure the school from their state would win the game.

The Sprint Cup race took place at Texas Motor Speedway, about 30 miles away from AT&T Stadium, the site of the national title game. The race was rained out Sunday and moved to Monday.

Joy got the last word, predicting that Joey Logano's win was a good omen for the Huskies. Logano is from Middletown, Conn.


NCAA Finals Watch follows the Final Four games and all the activities surrounding the event as seen by journalists from The Associated Press in North Texas — from the big stadium in Arlington where the games are being played to downtown Dallas.