Anyway, we drive up to Syracuse this morning to get some more Marriott points, take a nap and then head over to the Carrier Dome to take in this clash between the Orangemen and Villanova that’s going to be all over the TV tonight. Apparently Bobby Knight is going to be at the game, too. Oh yes, it’s that big.
Aside: So far I haven’t been able to bribe a college kid to walk over to him and say, “Hey, Knight, what’s up?” Sheesh… kids today.
Actually, it’s such a big deal up here that they made up a whole bunch of t-shirts that say, “Beat Nova” on the front and something about how the game is expected to be the biggest attendance for an on-campus basketball game in the history of on-campus basketball games. More than 34,000 people are going to be in the Dome and they aren’t even using all the space on one side of the joint. That’s how big (size) the building is.
Nevertheless, they are freaking out for the game. Folks suggested we head over to the Dome a good four hours before tip-off because traffic and parking was going to be a huge issue. When we got here we found a bunch of people tailgating inside of an indoor parking garage, which doesn’t do much for ambiance but it keeps the snow and sleet out of the pony bottles of Genesee Cream Ale.
We got here to find a veritable Woodstock of college basketball with people milling around, seeking out tickets and trying to wedge into bars to overpay for watered down beers before going into the stadium to pay even more for watered down beers. Actually, in that sense maybe Woodstock is the wrong analogy. Let’s just call it the Burning Man of college hoops for the day.
So what’s all the hype for? What is it that has all these Central New Yorkers forging a path through the snow in well worn duck boots? It’s not even March yet, for Pete’s sakes. Hell, the Philly media didn’t even bother to send more than a handful of folks to cover the game because, A.) The dead tree types have deadlines (the web sites do too?) and B.) It’s in Syracuse and it’s Saturday night. What’s there to do in Syracuse on a Saturday night other than watch basketball and shotgun Genesee?
Besides, there’s really not much at stake. If Syracuse wins they have a virtual lock on the regular-season Big East title and a No. 1 seed going into Madison Square Garden for the tourney. Better yet, with losses by No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Kentucky, Syracuse (No. 4) could vault into the top spot in all the land.
Someone cue Casey Kasem.
If Villanova wins then the Big East is all tied up with two games to go. If the tie holds by the time the Big East Tournament rolls around, ‘Nova has the tie-breaker. Better yet, a whole bunch of people go home as angry and disappointed as the two kids I saw at the will call window who were told that the tickets they bought off eBay for $250 were counterfeit.
Talk about a buzz kill.
Regardless of all that, this game really doesn’t mean all that much no matter who wins or loses. For top teams like Syracuse and Villanova the season doesn’t really begin for another week or two. Oh sure, it would be nice to win and all of that, because no one really likes to lose.
But you know what? This one is all a matter of perspective. In another month if either ‘Nova or Syracuse are still playing will anyone remember what happened in the Carrier Dome on Feb. 27?
I sure as hell will not.