12,425 miles. 23 games. 8 gyms. 5 states. 3 NBA games. 1 NIT game. 1 Final Four.
It was quite the basketball season for myself and looking back only makes me more excited for next year. While the NBA is still playing my hoops travel ended after my dad and I returned from the Final Four in early April.
Here are a few of the highlights from this last season:
- 5 New Arenas
Three of the new arenas were NBA (Detroit, Philadelphia, Minneapolis) and the other 2 were college arenas (Iowa State and Iowa). In each of the 3 NBA games I had great seats within the first 5 rows. For any basketball game those are great seats, but being just a few feet from Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo it's an incredible experience.
I also lucked out and saw some competitive games in these new arenas. Only 1 finished with more than a 6 point difference and it was an upset by Iowa of #5 Michigan (Iowa students rushed the floor which a first for me too).
In Philadelphia I did manage to see a new gym but there wasn't a game going on. The Palestra is on my list of 7 historic gyms to see a game but while we were in Philly we walked over to check it out. As we walked around the gym we found an open door and made our way inside. There a couple guys shooting on end but nothing really going on so we took a couple pictures and walked around the historic gymnasium.
- NCAA Championship Game
This year was my 8th time to the Final Four and only the 2nd time to make it out of Texas (Phoenix is the other). That weekend featured 2 first time teams, 1 team who made it in the 1980s and a regular from the past 19 years. Texas Tech meet Virginia meet in the championship on Monday with everyone expecting a low-scoring defensive matchup. To our surprise there was plenty of offense and some great moments down the stretch with the game ending in overtime for the first time since 2008.
- Full Court Friday and Red Phog- Big 12
These are personal projects I've started this season and will continue through next year. I've had so many ideas about which direction I should go with Red Phog but I think I've finally keyed on 2 things.
Red Phog- Big 12 came from my idea to focus on the Big 12 because I follow it the closest along with several friends. So I created a separate site focused on the Big 12 and posted game previews for each team throughout the season. I also wanted to include a travel guide for people who might be traveling to watch their team in another Big 12 town. After this season I've watched games at 7 of the 10 gyms and hope to visit the remaining 2 or 3 of the next year.
Full Court Friday is a recent development but one I'm excited about. It stems from other ideas I've had since starting Red Phog. It's a weekly email with 5 basketball things that I've found online. I'm always in a basketball state of mind so I want to share what I find with others who have a similar joy for basketball.
I'm excited about next with possibility of going to a 9th Final Four in Atlanta, planning a trip to the rest of the Big 12 gyms (Oklahoma, Kansas State, and West Virginia), and hopefully watching a game at another gym on my historic list (possibly Cameron Indoor, fingers crossed). And who knows what else I will get into in between.
Be sure to follow along on Twitter (@Red Phog) and get the Full Court Friday email!