On Friday night a friend from college called me up and informed me that he had an extra ticket to the Tennessee-Michigan State game and that I should come since I’m a Tennessee fan. Sound logic, I thought, so I went.
I’d never been to an NCAA Tournament game before and had never really planned on going, either. I’d rather spend my money on other sports, but I’m a sucker for my teams and I didn’t have to pay for the ticket so it was a win-win for me. I donned my orange and headed out.
We had pretty good seats, but I did feel a little detached from the action. The game was held in the Edward Jones Dome, normal home of whoever is playing the Rams that weekend so it’s not exactly the most intimate setting for a basketball game.
We were also in a section that was about 20% Spartan fans, 20% Vol fans, and 60% neutral fans so the atmosphere was rather still. Overall it was probably split 50-50 between Green and Orange and both sets of fans represented themselves well, from what I saw. I guess there’s no reason not to, neither team has any reason to hate the other. (Though the Michigan State lady behind me did have an odd hatred for JP Prince…more on that in a second.)
My three friends all went to Mizzou and had no ties to either school so they kind of became half Tennessee fans to keep me happy and the Prince-hater was getting on their nerves, as well. I spent most of the game sitting on my hands since I tend to forget to cheer when I get nervous and today’s game was all about nerves. Part of that may also have been the crowd, or lack thereof around me. The Northern Iowa fans to my left weren’t into it at all.
I won’t get into specifics of the game, it won’t be a whole lot of fun to rehash what went wrong. Suffice it to say, I think the Vols were the better team today, they just didn’t get the bounces they needed. It happens.
Overall, it was a good day aside from the score. I’d much prefer to watch a basketball game in an arena suited for a basketball game. I get the fact that the NCAA can shove more people into half of a football stadium, but it really sucks the fun out of it. I don’t know if I’ll go back to one of these games any time soon, but it was fun for the day. Now it’s time for baseball season.