Game #83 of 353 23% complete
Robert Morris opened up the UPMC Events Center this year with Pitt on November 12th. The arena was entirely funded with corporate naming rights. The brand new 4000 seat arena has great lighting, LED displays and attractive sight lines. Off the court, the arena includes new coaches and athletics relations offices. The basketball and volleyball players have brand new locker rooms complete with separate video rooms. There is also a full-size practice court and the UPMC Wellness Center, which houses the teams’ doctors and trainers and includes a hydrotherapy room. RMU did a great job on this considering all the struggles that a smaller school has with this kind of project.
I have to make a mental note in the future to check on a school’s arena before planning a trip. I was all set to do Duquesne this year but a follower of this blog let me know that Duquesne is at a temporary home this year. Next year, their new arena will open up. My rule (that I make up for myself) is to not count temporary sites in my journey. That being said, if I do visit an arena that is considered permanent and a new one gets built later on, I do not feel a return trip is in order. Again—my rules!
I also need to a better job of picking hotels. My hotel was fine but about an 1/2 hour north of Pittsburgh. The airport which I figured would be next to Pittsburgh is actually very close to Robert Morris. Had I planned it out properly, I could have stayed near the airport and enjoy a short ride from the RMU game and a short ride to the airport the following day.
I like to offer a big shout out to the RMU Assistant AD Marty Galosi whose hospitably made this a fun trip. I was seated next to his neighbors who were college basketball fans. They asked many questions about my journey and I was happy to answer them. The best parts of my trips are interacting with the fans.
Central Michigan came into this game ranked second in the nation averaging 88.7 points per game, making it the No. 2 scoring team in the nation behind only Eastern Washington, which averages 90. The Chippewas were very hot from the 3-point line in the first half but RMU came back for a hard-fought win. Once again, the students were on break plus with the sleeting weather the atmosphere was a little subdued. However, the RMU fans were loud and happy pulling off the upset. I was very impressed with RMU guard Josh Williams who finished with 24 points. His game combines quickness with an accurate 3 point shot. He kept the Central Michigan defenders on their toes all evening.
The national championship trophy for NCAA men’s basketball was on display tonight at RMU. Quite a few selfies were taken with the trophy.
As always, I do like it when the free bling is given out.
Happy Holidays everyone! See you next year!
Next game: Liberty at Florida Gulf Coast 01/02/20