Here again was my rundown on the possible destinations:
There's really just four options for Italian that would give the committee decent food and keep them a stone's throw from the Downtown Westin, but only one option that would be tradition worthy.
- We can throw out Buca di Beppo because I doubt these guys are chain restaurant material and Buca's non-conference schedule sucks no matter how many pictures of Sinatra you throw on the wall.
NCAA equivalent: UCONN
- The Milano Inn has pretty good fare, but it's head-to-head with the two remaining joints quickly relegate it to supplying take-out for the NIT folks.
NCAA equivalent: Michigan
- Amici's was my sentimental choice. Small, out of the way. A place most people drive past not even realizing what's there. But the great food can't overcome it's lack of seating (unless they committee gets the private room upstairs).
NCAA equivalent: George Mason.
- The odds-on favorite has got to be Iaria's. The history is rich in this place. Not only is the dining room primed for guests of this caliber, they also have bitchin' pizza, and a former owner who once pulled a gun on his own family in an attempt to sell the restaurant. Oh, and Rick Majerus loves this place, and if anyone is going to hold sway over NCAA basketball dining it has to be Majerus.
NCAA equivalent: Kansas/UCLA.
My hunches were correct, and I made a spot-on call. The NCAA Selection Committee were dining - privately (note the above sign) - at Iaria's in downtown Indianapolis. The committee was in its glory and joined by NCAA president Myles Brand and a few administration/family members. They were largely unreachable, and nobody seemed to be making any attempts to approach them even though their presense was openly known in the dining room.
I did grab one quite meager photo. It was difficult to shoot from the dark hallway, through a glass door and around a large poster supporting Jerry's Kids. The guy with the arrow is last year's committee chair and Billy Packer nemesis Craig Littlepage, AD at Virginia.
The place was jumping and it took us about 40 minutes to get a seat. The meal was delectable and the spumoni to die for. Somewhere between my salad and the lasagne, the Selection Committee slipped to their limo-bus, well-sated and ready to be locked in a hotel.