Denver: the altitude factor

I hope all the Final Four teams are headed to Denver by tomorrow morning, at the latest. They will need time to adjust to the altitude of the city, at 5,280 feet. For those who live at sea level, which the Final Four teams do, it takes days, or even weeks to adjust to the thinner air.

High altitude – defined as between 4,900 and 11,500 feet – means air with less oxygen. To compensate for this, the heart beats faster and non-respiratory bodily functions are slightly suppressed. The body has to get used to making more red blood cells. Everyone responds to high altitude differently, but most have to make some kind of adjustment.

Running teams like Notre Dame and UConn may have a particularly tough time in Denver. It may make their showdown Sunday even more interesting.

Are high altitude cities appropriate for Final Fours? You make the call.

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  1. I do not think a high altitude city is appropriate. The NCAA committee has a cruel sense of fair play. If University of Colorado or other high altitude team was in the finals, they would definitely have an advantage. As it is, all of the teams in the finals are from low altitudes. I wonder if any top-ranked teams considered high-altitude training during the season. Blood doping is supposed to help in altitude, but it is illegal and drug tests can pick that up now. How do NBA teams adjust to games in Denver?