Monday, February 11, 2008

The Ohio State Basketball Experience

Sorry for the lack of posts this weekend, but we had a friend in town visiting and spent Sunday travelling to and from Columbus for the Indiana/Ohio State game. First off, it was a mad blizzard here all day yesterday and when we left I figured there was no way we'd make it. We got 25-30 minutes South and it was sunny skies and very little snow. So odd. A few quicks things about the Ohio State basketball experience: There were little to no scalpers. The few guys we talked to said there were no tickets to be had, so we ended up way up high at midcourt and when I say way up high, I mean the rafters, second row from the top. We parked right across the street from the Schottenstein Center and when I tell you the wind was so bad and it was so cold I felt like Tom Coughlin in Green Bay, I'm not kidding. We were literally being blown over walking in.

So we get in and headed to the top. (SIDE NOTE: The Schott has solid bathrooms if you know what I mean). We got to our seats and when you are eye-leve with the banners, it's probably not a good thing. What was odd was that there were probably 1,000 empty seats in the lower bowl in the corners and behind the baskets. The student sections maybe had 1,000 people in them as well. So we spent the the first half scoping out better seats while trying to find out why IU's Deandre Thomas suddenly looked skinny. At the under three minute timeout we made the move down. At the half when people were leaving, we scooped right in and grabbed two seats in the corner, about 10 rows fromt he floor by the IU bench. They were sweet seats. Nobody said a word to us.

We asked the two guys next to us if the seats were taken and they said they weren't supposed to be sitting where they were either. They told us that there is always empty seats there and other than the North Carolina game, the student section is about half full. I understand this is a football school. I went to KU and I could have cared less about the football program. Take this year for example. We went 12-1, won the Orange Bowl, and I couldn't have named you five players on the team until midseason when I jumped on the bandwagon. But even when KU played Missouri in the biggest game of the year, I was way more concerned about the KU/Arizona basketball game the next day and that was the fourth game of a 35-game plus season.

The building itself is nice, but it has way too much of an NBA feel. They turn off all the lights for the starting lineups and it came of completely cheesy, not to mention the fact that the crowd just doesn't play into it. The crowd during the game was silent. You could hear a pin drop in that arena during the game. A few times they would rise to their feet and get excited, but overall, you can tell they didn't really care all that much. Just a year removed from the Final Four, there was no buzz. I feel for OSU coach Thad Matta because I think this program had a ceiling and he has hit it. If i'm a top recruit and yesterday was the game I attended on a visit, I wouldn't be impressed. I actually think Matta is doing an unbelievable job there in the face of a fan base that clearly treats them as second fiddle.

The Coast to Coast post will come in a few hours.

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