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NIT “fever”: Illinois and Illinois State games

It is my spring break and so I took advantage to catch a couple of NIT games.

The first one was Illinois vs. Valparaiso in Champaign.

Ticket demand was low, so I was able to get “club sets” right at midcourt. Only 4700 people (or so) showed up (capacity: 16,000) but those that did were boisterous. And more importantly, the Illini showed up and won 82-57 in a a game that was even more lopsided than the score might indicate (and the final spread was 25!) Valpo was without their best player, who had a broken foot.

People wondered if the Illini would have any competitive fire as they were drummed out of the Big Ten tournament and their coach was fired. But they played well and dominated from start to finish. They hit the 3, dominated inside, etc.

The arena (State Farm Center) looks eerie from the outside:

We had club seats, which gave me access to a “10 dollars for a large meatball sub, with potato wedges, salad and dessert” (which I did not have). But it was a nice meal for an arena.

We had great midcourt seats.

And my long suffering spouse seemed to enjoy it.

Overall, it was as nice as the NBA arena we went to (at least as far as watching the game).

And the tickets were all of 22 dollars (plus some fees, which put the price to 28).

BUT, yes, there were empty seats…a LOT of them as you can see.


Yes, it was disappointment, plus the coach being fired, plus…a 6 pm start due to TV.

Next day: Illinois State vs. California-Irvine, 8:30 pm start.

Once again, you had a disappointed team as Illinois State felt that they deserved an NCAA bid (and I did too). But they had a nice match up vs. the California-Irvine Anteaters. This pitted the Missouri Valley Champions versus the Big West Champions.

And while ISU won 85-71, the game was only a 6 point game with 11 minutes to go. It was much more competitive than the previous game.

In a nutshell: great outside shooting forced the Anteaters away from their “large” lineup (they had a 7′ 2″ center and a 6′ 10″ forward). That opened up the inside for repeated “Alley-Oop” dunks; I counted about a half-dozen of those or so. Hot outside shooting by the Cal-Irvine guards kept them in the game, but it wasn’t enough.

My seat (just me this time) was at the top of the lower bowl: not as fancy as the Illinois arena but still a very, very nice place to watch a basketball game.

Though the lower bowl was well filled, there were still quite a few empties in the upper bowl. They drew 5100 fans in the 10,200 capacity arena. The 8:30 pm start didn’t help.

Commentary

Yes, low attendance was due to the NIT being a “second rate” tournament to begin with (by definition); a consolation prize for those teams left out of the NCAA. And yes, you did have one coach being fired.
BUT, look at the start times: “barely enough time to make it from work” in one case (6 pm…LOTS of old people) and 8:30..kind of late for those who work the next day (again, LOTS of old people).

Why? The fact is that, while more people in the arena is nice, say, even 4000 more people at a marginal profit of, say, 10 dollars a ticket (upper bowl prices) is 40,000 dollars extra, which is peanuts compared to what television pays out.

The money is in television. Hence the next round of games for me is….MONDAY NIGHT…Illinois State at 6, Illinois at 8. Needless to say, I had to choose..and I got a group of 4 to go to the Illinois State game. They wouldn’t play on the weekend because that is when the NCAA games are…television.

Back in the days when television wasn’t the driving factor (many NIT games weren’t televised), start times were more convenient for the fans; the NCAA on TV wouldn’t be much of a factor in scheduling.

So…expect to see more empty seats as in this day and age, “in person” fans are really a “nice to have” afterthought. TV pays the bills.

Fortunately, I can move office hours (to a more popular time) and make at least one of the games; most people do not have that luxury.

And who knows; maybe next year my team will be in postseason of some sort? Making the CIT or CBI would be a decent goal, and I enjoy the last time I went to those games.

Workout notes
3 mile walk outside (too pleasant not to) and weights: rotator cuff,
pull ups (5 sets of 10, much better)
bench press: 10 x 135, 6 x 185 (good), 8 x 170
military press: 10 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 45 standing dumbbell, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine.
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
incline press: Hammer, 10 x 160 (80 each arm), 8 x 160, 10 x 140

Weight: 197.2 before (199.8 with shoes, shorts, shirt)

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March 16, 2017 Posted by | basketball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment