Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trip Wire

Good day, sorry for the long break and relative lack of Pun City updates during the trip, hopefully the majority of the audience was among those e-mailed from the road.

Fantastic trip in general, most likely the next few posts will include some road trip recaps.

The initial photo is this blog's view of Virginia Commonwealth's supporters rushing the floor after their CAA championship victory over George Mason. The Colonial Athletic Association, along with Richmond Coliseum staff, had a very cool policy on the floor rushing. Both before the game and during the 4-minute timeout in the 2nd half, an announcement was made stating (roughly): "We understand that the winning team's fans will want to join their team in celebrating on the floor. The CAA encourages fans to do so, but we ask that you please proceed to the floor in an orderly fashion and follow instructions from arena personnel."

Aside from the fairly polite message, the Coliseum staff removed temporary barriers in front of both student sections (as it was a close game) prior to the game ending. Fans rushed the floor and the images of this celebration were appropriately showcased on ESPN's SportsCenter and other media outlets. This is in stark contrast to the SEC's weak stance of fining schools when fans rush the floor. Basketball has not had any major floor-rushing injuries reported, and given that basketball arenas a) Are much smaller than football stadiums, meaning fewer people are logistically capable of rushing the floor; b) Many college arenas do not serve or restrict the sale of alcohol, leading to a more civil crowd than would otherwise be expected, and c) Basketball arenas rarely if ever have permanent barriers erected near the floor, which would seriously injure would-be floor rushers, this blog thinks that any anti-floor-rushing stance is overly cautious and ill-informed.

Picture two is the home of VCU's eventual first-round victim in the NCAA tournament, Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium. This blog got a chance to stop in while en route to the MEAC tournament in Raleigh, NC. Let this blog tell you, this place is a shrine. The building's exterior is fairly non-descript, no bigger than most of the classroom and dorm buildings around it, the inside is what counts. This blog, (in the interest of full disclosure a Duke fan since the early 1990s), was generally in awe the entire visit. The concourse, while small, is a great throwback to old bandbox-style gyms, but has been fantastically maintained, including detailed mosaics at every section entrance showing the Duke logo. Probably the biggest highlight for this blog (since it didn't really get to go into the seating bowl given that Howard University was having a closed practice) was the Duke Hall of Fame, which housed National Championship trophies, honored past greats, and displayed some great memorabilia, including Bobby Hurley's jersey and shoes. The Hall was within Cameron Indoor, so if you head down there it's a convenient combination. The last stop on this blog's trip was Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, where the Atlantic 10 was playing their tournament. The building is on the National Historic Register, and has been renovated recently. The venue is typically used for theatre or concerts, so the giant stage provides a very cool looking backdrop when a basketball court is set up. This last shot was taken between games, and this blog would occasionally glance over at the huge screen during breaks in the action.

The trip was phenomenal, this blog assures you that more pictures are to follow, as well as day-by-day recaps and maybe a review here and there.
Also congratulations to Ohio State, which appears to be the only one of the teams this blog saw live (this season) to have advanced to the Sweet 16.

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