Houston (80) vs. Temple (59) 02/18/18

#63 of 351  17% complete

Today was Hooter’s birthday. The Temple mascot brought in his mascot friends for a birthday party.  As I entered the Liacouras Center, I was startled by the number of strange creatures milling in the hallway.

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However I did have the pleasure of meeting the real live mascot of the Temple Owls – Stella. I have always been partial to owls especially the one in “My Cousin Vinny” that woke up Joe Pesci.

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Here is the gathering of mascots on the court for the birthday party.

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The game was over as soon as it started. Houston was tremendously hot and Temple was not. It is a rare time when I hear booing from the crowd at a college basketball game.

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I can not believe that Rob Gray is still playing for Houston. It seems like he has been there forever. They are big and quick with no apparent weaknesses. I like them to go far in March.

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I vote the Liacouras Center as my favorite so far in terms of food concessions. There were dozen of places to eat offering different styles. It was quite a contrast to the Lasalle and St. Joe’s offerings.

I was trying to get a cheese steak at the famous Geno’s before the game. I was practicing my order “steak with prov and onions” as coached by my cousin Brian. Any deviation from these words would result in immediate ejection by the cranky order takers. After driving around for 15 minutes trying to find a parking spot, I gave up and took in some sightseeing near Independence Hall. It is amazing how all the cars were packed on these one way streets near Geno’s. I plan to UBER their next year to get my cheese steak.

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Houston dominated the boards led by Breaon Brady a 6’8″ 245 pound forward who was very imposing from my front row seat. Devin Davis was hot all night for Houston. The game was over by the half. The Temple fans were geared for an upset but left upset by the results.

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I felt sorry for the Temple fans who stand until the first Temple basket. Houston ran off to 15-0 lead. I saw some of the old timers wave their arms in disgust and sat down.

That’s it for my triple header in Philly.

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Next game: Dartmouth at Princeton 2/24/18






Houston (72) vs.Memphis (71) 02/26/17

#48 of 351  14% complete

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Is it possible for a city to overshadow a college basketball game? Can the sights of Graceland, Sun Records and Beale St. make a Memphis basketball game inconsequential?

Well almost! On this second game of this two game whirlwind trip to Mississippi and Tennessee, the game was exciting from start to finish. But I digress.

Memphis was a three hour ride from my friend’s house in Madison, Mississippi. We started out after the Ole Miss game on Friday afternoon to shack up at a Days Inn across from Graceland. The place was adorned with Elvis memorabilia. We unfortunately came at a bad time because the whole Graceland complex was in transition. A new visitor’s center was opening up on March 1st in a huge building behind the hotel so many of the museums were closed due to the move. Even parts of Graceland were closed however thee was much to see. As the tram took us over the road, it was chilling to walk through the front door that Elvis went through many times. Here are some pictures inside Graceland:


The next stop was a tour of Sun Records. We stood in the room where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded. Elvis recorded his first record here as birthday present for his mother. It was well  preserved and you feel the spirits of the rock and roll legends singing into the ancient microphones.

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So on to the game. The FedEx Forum is one block away from Beale St. the birthplace of blues. With some time to kill before the game, we spent the afternoon listening to a blues duo at Silky O’Sullivan’s

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The FedEx Forum is the home of the NBA Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Tigers. This arrangement allows beer to be served which is a good thing. Not many teams call an NBA arena as their only home venue. Georgetown at the Verizon Center comes to mind. Although one can enjoy the amenities afforded from an NBA arena (so much food), there is the fear that the size of the arena vs. the size of the crowd takes away from the ambiance of college basketball. Curtains at the higher levels does nothing for the atmosphere. However, today was an exception. The upper levels were mostly filled and the crowd was loud.

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There were many choices to eat at the Forum as you can see below. Craft beer booths were plentiful throughout the arena.  I chose the brisket at the Rendezvous and was not disappointed.


I secretly rooted for Houston throughout the game because a loss for Memphis would help Uconn’s place in the AAC standings. Houston started out strong but Memphis made a terrific comeback. A last second shot by Memphis bounded off the rim preserving the victory for Houston

I can not say enough about Houston guard Damyean Dotson. This guy has destroyed UConn this year and did the same to Memphis tonight with 31 points. He is a pure shooter who does not miss from anywhere on the floor. He is a sure first rounder come draft time. I am looking forward to seeing all the AAC teams next week in Hartford at the AAC league torunament.

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So as you guessed, we ended back on Beale St. after the game at B.B. King’s place eating more brisket. Goodnight Memphis and  I will be back!

This is the last college basketball game of my third year in Operation 351. I hope that everyone has a great March Madness and terrific summer.God willing,  I will see you again in November.

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