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View Full Version : Seth Davis on Neutral Court Games, Zags v. Uconn



ZagNative
12-23-2008, 02:27 PM
From SI.Com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/seth_davis/12/23/hoop.thoughts/):

Bring college basketball back to college, more hoop thoughts

On Saturday, CBS broadcast a quartet of matchups that was as good as any the network has aired during my six years working there: Duke-Xavier, Texas-Michigan State, Purdue-Davidson and UConn-Gonzaga. All of those games had two things in common. First, and most delightfully, they each featured two ranked teams.

Second, and less delightfully, they were all played on neutral courts. Duke-Xavier was in the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Texas-Michigan State was in Houston, Purdue-Davidson was in Indianapolis and UConn-Gonzaga was in Seattle.

Why all the neutrality? Well, coaches will tell you they want their teams to play in an NCAA tournament-like atmosphere, and they like to travel to big metropolitan areas where they recruit. And, while the financial incentive is less substantial than you might think, there is obvious appeal in a guaranteed six-figure payday offered by some enterprising promotional company.
Still, it's a shame that all these high-powered matchups are taking place off-campus, especially since so many schools have made the investment to build wonderful arenas like Gonzaga's McCarthey Center, a gleaming, $25 million facility that was completed in 2004. The McCarthey Center may only seat about 6,000, but that is what makes it such a cozy, crazy environment.

Obviously, the city of Seattle was partial to Gonzaga (located in Spokane), so the term "neutral court" is not totally applicable. But the two-year, off-campus series has increasingly replaced the traditional home-and-home deals, and that's not a good thing. Last year, Texas and Michigan State played in The Palace of Auburn Hills instead of the Spartans' Breslin Center, one of the best places in the country to watch a game. The issue here is aesthetic as well as competitive. If Saturday's UConn-Gonzaga game was played on Gonzaga's campus instead of in Seattle's Key Arena, we wouldn't have been exposed to what will surely be the worst on-court logo you'll see all season, an enormous box touting the "Battle in Seattle" that stretched from three-point line to three-point line. The logo was put there to cover up another garish logo promoting the WNBA's Seattle Storm. Either way, it was not a pretty sight.

OZZag
12-23-2008, 02:44 PM
The Author obviously does not realize the trouble the Zags have at getting teams to Spokane!

bullzag23
12-23-2008, 03:30 PM
I really don't think the author was considering scheduling difficulties in this article, considering he's talking about several different schools choosing to play at neutral sites over home and home series, not just GU. Davis' main argument here is that this constant neutral site scheduling is bad for college basketball.


The bottom line is, college basketball belongs in college. If we wanted to watch hoops played in antiseptic environments at half-empty arenas, we can watch the NBA.

Obviously he didn't notice that Key Arena was essentially packed, although in the past that has not been the case.

ZagNative
12-23-2008, 03:55 PM
I'm betting we'll see more home and homes in the future. Coach Few mentioned after the loss to UConn that all the travel was hard on the team and that it might be time to be looking to cut down on some of the travel in the future.

applezag
12-23-2008, 03:56 PM
I don't think Davis was criticizing GU, but just saying he wishes all schools would get over themselves and agree to play each other on their campuses. I agre with thim and wish to see more games on campus. Not just for the atmosphere, but season ticket holders should get to see some games on campus. On the other hand, it was pretty fun (for 35 minutes anyway) to pack Key Arena on Saturday and have that environment. It's good PR over on the west side and lets a lot of fans see them that don't otherwise get to. So I'm for keeping the Seattle game, but playing more big ones in the arena. I'm sure they have tried and are trying to do so.

PHXzag
12-23-2008, 04:06 PM
I don't think Davis was criticizing GU, but just saying he wishes all schools would get over themselves and agree to play each other on their campuses. I agre with thim and wish to see more games on campus. Not just for the atmosphere, but season ticket holders should get to see some games on campus. On the other hand, it was pretty fun (for 35 minutes anyway) to pack Key Arena on Saturday and have that environment. It's good PR over on the west side and lets a lot of fans see them that don't otherwise get to. So I'm for keeping the Seattle game, but playing more big ones in the arena. I'm sure they have tried and are trying to do so.

I do think it is good for Gonzaga to play outside of K2 (whether its at the arena or in seattle). There are so many people in Spokane and washington who don't get to see them play simply because they can't afford to buy season tickets every year. It doesn't seem quite fair that the same 6000 people get to see all the GU home games live, while the rest don't stand a chance at getting tickets. A few games a year in the arena is great for the city!

rennis
12-23-2008, 04:49 PM
I don't think Gonzaga should give up the BIS. If nothing else it's an awesome recruiting tool and that is all important.

Oh yeah, and to all the people hating on coaching/game management/JP...that was one of the best basketball games I have ever seen. The score didn't go in our favor but if we play like that but with fewer mistakes down the stretch we can go far. That game sucked at the end but it was a huge learning experience. I think the team will be better for it.