Georgia (75) vs. Florida (82) 01/07/2023

Game #110 of 363 30% complete

I need to do a better job researching parking options at big arenas on campus. It never fails to confuse and delay me trying to find the correct parking area. As we entered the campus area, I asked the guard where the free parking is. She said that there was a shuttle from parking lot 5. Shuttle is not a word that I like to hear when we are in a hurry. So, keeping in mind that I had a second game that day that would be difficult anyway to catch the opening tip based on the distance (Jacksonville), I thought that I am on my own. I went in the opposite direction of where people were walking towards the arena. I did find a fraternity parking lot that allowed parking on weekends.

I love seeing the student section courtside. I wish more teams would do this (hear me UConn) but I get that there is a balance between satisfying the students vs. the big pocket season ticket holders. As typical of a major P5 conference game, the crowd was loud and energetic.

I noticed a first here with the huge cheerleading squad. The men and women would couple up and hold hands with each other as they would leave the court. This would be completely unfeasible with most schools given the dearth of male cheerleaders.

Interesting to see that the former coach of Florida Mike White is now the coach of Georgia in his first return to Gainsville.

I did not see much of Florida memorabilia in the arena lobby. My guess that this is a multi-use arena for other venues like concerts which I saw advertised on the walls. This is unusual to see for an on-campus arena.

I had a chance to watch Florida earlier this year on TV playing UConn. I was very impressed with the play of Colin Castleton the Florida center. Very mobile for a big man, he ended up with 7 blocks and was proficient passing the out to this guards. This was Todd Golden’s first win in the SEC. Florida needs to be really good in the second half of the season to make March Madness sitting at a record of 8-7.

Likewise, Terry Roberts was a one man show for Georgia putting up 22 points on a lot of shots. But his quickness and scoring ability will hold up well against future SEC opponents.

My wife and I and had a chance to visit St. Augustine before the game. The downtown area was lit up with lights. Sad to see the homeless folks laying down along the busy shop areas. Below are some pictures from our stroll through the oldest city in the country.

The picture below reminded me of the time I got food poisoning when I visited the grandkids in Missouri.

On to see Jacksonville whose game time was moved up from 6PM to 5PM because of the Jags game.

Georgia (64) vs. LSU (94) 03/07/2020

Game #96 of 353 27% complete

This five-day trip to the Big Easy included my friends Chelsea and Tony along with my wife Linda. The trip to LSU was about an hour out from New Orleans to the PMAC Arena. Pete Maravich was my idol growing up with his magic playmaking and floppy socks. It was a thrill to see memories of him interspersed throughout the arena. I have never been to a big-time college football game but I was in awe of the LSU football stadium across the street from the basketball arena. The climb to the last row would surely challenge the best conditioned fan.

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Near the arena, there was a zoo exhibit holding the LSU mascot tiger named “Mike the Tiger”. They had information about tigers in general on the outside of the cage. The $3 million habitat was created in 2005 and looks like a luxury suite for a tiger. The habitat ranks among the largest and finest Tiger preserves in the country. Mike was sitting there being very photogenic. This tiger is the seventh tiger in succession since the Mike 1 first appeared in 1936.

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As a big country music fan, I loved the standard pre game highlight video with Garth Brooks singing “Calling Baton Rouge”.  Scenes from the city with player highlights made for an entertaining show. It was a welcome alternative to the loud rap music playing to the background of dunks by the home team. However, I was impressed with the two towers of flames during the player introductions.

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Looking at the Georgia sideline, I saw an old familiar face stalking in front of the Georgia bench. Tom Crean is the coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. Love him or hate him, he does make an entertaining scene prowling the sidelines and projecting an over exuberance of distress against the referees. He has had success at Marquette and Indiana but he will have his hands full at Georgia playing second fiddle to the football team.

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LSU basketball is doing very well this year and is currently ranked a ninth seed in Lunardi’s projections. They easily handled Georgia today and will do a great job representing the SEC in March Madness.

No trip to New Orleans is complete without taking a swamp ride through the bayou. The alligators were out in full force munching on marshmallows thrown by our homegrown boat operator. It was a blast when the air propelled boat was going full speed through the swamp riding corners at a tilt.

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Next Game : UConn at Tulane 03/08/2020