Tomorrow morning my partner in crime and I will embark on a basketball road trip that we have been planning for months. To reminisce about the many who didn’t understand what could possible be fun about this trip take a look at my original post. Five cities and four NCAA basketball games in five days is what’s on the itinerary, and we can’t wait to get going.
Since planning the trip, the matchups have gotten a touch more exciting. Also during that time, various people have told the old ball and chain that I must be a saint for agreeing to go on this trip with him. He beams with pride as he informs them that the trip was actually my idea.
Here’s the schedule, and what to expect:
Dec. 27, 9PM Eastern – #10 Cincinnati vs. New Mexico
Well, this game would’ve been a tad more exciting had New Mexico won last weekend against South Dakota State, as this game would be a top 25 matchup between two undefeated teams. However, Cincy is still the No. 10 team in the country, so that’ll be neat to see. New Mexico was ranked No. 16 last week, and for some reason that one loss kicked them out of the rankings entirely. Since they will be a major underdog tomorrow, clearly I’ll be rooting for the lobos all the way.
For our second game in Nashville, we’ll be treated to another ranked team in Butler. Normally I would root for the unranked home team so that I can fit in with the crowd, but since Illinois beat Butler earlier in the season I’m going all-out Bulldogs all the way. I will already get side-long glances for my orange and blue attire, and then I’ll be rooting for the guest. Will the crowd be wearing suits and Sunday dresses, or is that just football games?
Okay, this game isn’t any more exciting than it looked on paper months ago. Neither of us have been to Memphis, and even though the team hasn’t been the same since Calipari left it in ruins a few years back, there’s still some great basketball history in that building! And, I hope to make a stop at Graceland. At 7-3, the season is far from over for Memphis, and it will be the first stop where we’ll get to join the crowd and root for the home team.
Oh Lobos! There you are again. By the end of this trip we will be big fans. Again, this game was just a nice stop on the trip because it’s on the way home, and we have friends in the area. As a bonus, joining us at this game will be the Aerys Gold Rush’s own Marquette expert, Mary! And, if New Mexico manages to win at Cincy, they’ll be ranked again, and then we’ll get to watch another ranked team. Without Rick Majerus (may he RIP), this game isn’t too exciting, but it will be fun to see how many people show up for a New Year’s Eve game!
That’s the trip in a nutshell! Along the way, we’ll also get to watch an Illini basketball game in a bar in Nashville (as a cruel joke they’ll actually be playing in Chicago) and a Bears game in Memphis. Tonight we will pack as many orange t-shirts as possible, because we represent the I-L-L no matter where we are, and even if Illinois has nothing to do with the game whatsoever.
We’ll be blogging along the way to let you know who has the best fans, and who has the best nachos. You’ll get to read about the atmosphere at each place, and who is the most annoyed at our orange and blue shenanigans. See our briefer musings by following @zforthree (or my other half who is a much better tweeter, @jjhparker) or take a look at #jzroadtrip.
Basketball immersion, here we come!