Depaul (68) vs. Villanova (73) 01/02/19

Game #72 of 353  20% complete

2019-01-02 20.35.35.jpg

It was good to be back on the road after a holiday break. I am near Philadelphia  completing the last two schools in this area –  Villanova and Drexel.  The new on-campus Finneran Pavilion was under construction for the past two years so I purposely held off to see Nova till its completion.

2019-01-02 20.35.43.jpg

So  I think it is appropriate at this time to restate two rules I have about my journey. The first is that my goal is to visit every campus once to see a game in whatever arena is available at the time. Should a school build or rehab an arena after my visit, I do not go back to see a game there again. The second is that I always will go to a campus arena unless there is none like in the case of Georgetown. Nova also plays at the Wells Fargo arena but I will not go to a game there. My journey – my rules.

2019-01-02 20.18.57.jpg


I was very impressed when I walked into the Finneran Arena. You enter a circle of Nova memorabilia with mutli-media displays, plaques and trophies well bathed in bright lights. It is definitely a WOW moment. I reminisced over a display of Kerry Kittles who torched UCONN back in the Big East days. It was an impressive to see the multiple national basketball trophies with the basketball net placed over the glass trophy ball. More teams should do this with their dead space surrounding the arena.


Did you ever think that a school was in one location but found out it somewhere else? I always thought that Nova was closer to Philly because it was always lumped with the downtown schools there. It is actually in Radnor which is about 1/2 hour away from Philly. I admittedly did not do much research on this because I was traveling with my host cousin Brian who was driving. BTW Brian is my backup for Operation 351 should I meet my ultimate demise.

2019-01-02 20.45.20

I was surprised that the Pavillion only holds 6500 seats. I am guessing that because it replaced the old Field House that perhaps they were limited in space. Interesting to note that the student section holds 2500 seats. Because the game was at 8:30PM, we did not have a chance to walk the campus. There was good and bad for parking. There was a free parking garage (good) but it does take a while to exit after the game (bad). We got home about midnight. One perk about being retired is that I did not have to get up for work the next day.

2019-01-02 20.48.58.jpg

Depaul led most of the way till Nova pulled away in the end. Eric Paschall for Nova was the star of the game leading everyone with 24 points. He is a unique player who is big and strong with a nice touch from the outside. When he drove the lane, he was unstoppable. He will be an interesting pick for the NBA GMs. I wonder whether his game will translate to the NBA but I believe he will do well.

2019-01-02 23.03.01.jpg

As we exited the arena, the ushers were handing out chocolate cookies and English muffins. I was too late for the cookies but did grab one of the last packages of muffins. I am enjoying some now as I type. Definitely a first for me in Operation 351!

Next game: Elon at Drexel 01/03/19


Lamar (61) vs. Depaul (80) 12/06/16

#39 of 351


This game wraps up my stay in Chicago. Three games in four nights!

So this is one of those games held in a beautiful large arena with a very small number of fans occupying the seats. The entire upper level was empty. This despite a little known fact that Depaul is the largest catholic university  in the nation although I would have said Notre Dame. The hey days of Mark Aquirre and George Mikan are but ghosts in this empty arena.


It was sort of a UCONN reunion night for me. The Depaul head coach is Dave Leitao who was Jim Calhoun’s assistant coach at Northeastern and UCONN in the mid 80’s. Leitao left for an unsuccessful stint at Virginia before returning to Depaul.

The Depaul assistant coach Patrick Sellers was also an assistant at UCONN under Calhoun. Sellers left under suspicion for playing a major part in the Nate Miles scandal that rocked UCONN in 2010. He had to hide for a year in China before attempting to make his way back into the coaching ranks in the states.


The Depaul fans have a ritual when there is a two shot foul. When the announcer says “shooting two shots”, the fans slap their hands on the the chair two times. I almost dropped my beer the first time when my seat neighbor did this. I feel it is my call to document the strange habits of college basketball fans as I come across them.


Lamar from Beaumont, Texas (in case you were wondering) played hard but could not keep up with the more talented Demons. These small schools lack the size and quickness to keep with a team from the Big East. As the score became more and more in Depaul’s favor, both teams abandoned defense. “Jack up the stats” became the motto in the second half.


The player of the game was Depaul Eli Cain. The 6’6″ sophomore forward is a break out star in the Big East. He was on the Big East All-Freshman team last year. He scored 21 points tonight in all different ways highlighting his versatility. He will be the lone bright spot for Depaul this year in what may be a long year for the Demons.


I need to see Chicago State and Northwestern to compete the city circuit. Goodbye Chicago for now but I will be back.