Valparaiso (66) vs. Missouri State (84) 02/12/2022

Game #105 of 358 29% complete

So why is he in Missouri now? My daughter and husband along with my grandson moved from Manhattan to Joplin for a career move. What better way to visit than to go to an Operation351 game on my visits to see the family!

As I walked up to the stadium, I saw a statue of a woman basketball player which a first for me. Jackie Stiles was the darling of college basketball in 2001. She led Southwest Missouri State (the old name) to a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bears made it to the final four eventually succumbing to Purdue in the semifinal game. Unfortunately, her pro career fizzled after numerous injuries including 13 surgeries. In her brief time in Camelot, she was a superstar bringing big time notoriety to a small school in the Midwest.

I was very impressed with the JQH arena. Spacious and modern looking, I was surprised to see such a sleek place for a small school like MSU. One feature that I liked and have not seen before was a digital scoreboard at the scorer’s table thus saving the old necks from continuously looking up at the scoreboard.

Isiaih Mosley finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting. I was looking up on my phone to see if he was related to Mosley brothers from UCLA. A man in front overheard me mumbling and stated that they were not related. He did say that Mosely will wear an NBA uniform in the future. He was smooth and an excellent shooter. It could happen.

I am all for free swag tossed into the audience by the cheerleaders. Free shirts with a team logo are cool in my book. During this game, the cheerleaders tossed capes into the crowd. Capes? Where are you going to wear a cape?

The ride from Joplin to Jefferson took about an hour. Beforehand, my son in law, John, took me on a brief tour of the city. As you may know, the city of Joplin was pulverized by a tornado in 2011. 158 people were killed and some 1,150 were injured. I asked to see where the tornado had landed in the city. The path today can be determined by the path of new buildings and the absence of trees in a mile wide path through the busy downtown area as you can see below. Their new house has a safe room surrounded by steel should this ever happen again.

I am closing this season out for Operation 351. Due to family obligations and a new kitchen occupying my time, I am unable to take any more trip this season although I will be attending a couple of UConn home games.

Best of health to all! See you next season!

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Valparaiso (58) Vs. Rhode Island (55) 11/17/2015

#17 of 351

Welcome to season 2 of my journey to visit all 351 Division 1 campus arenas. I begin this year in Rhode Island traveling 2 hours from Connecticut for a 10am start. The game was part of ESPN’s Tip Off Marathon where one could watch basketball for 24 hours straight. This particular visit earned me the Rhode Island stamp on the Basketball Passport site (http://bbpassport.com/) since I have now completed visiting all four of the D1 campus sites in RI.

 

I was pleased to meet Russell Steinberg and Peter Casey. Both are college basketball junkies like myself who I became acquainted with on Twitter. Peter runs the excellent college basketball site (http://bbpassport.com/) which logs games and achievements  by subscribers for all major sports. Russell’s tweets have made me laugh many a time over the past year. To top it off, they gave me their extra ticket in section 112 replacing my nosebleed seat in section 302.

The Rhody’s fans expectations have been tampered a bit with the loss of star guard E.C. Matthews for the season from an ACL injury. Yet the crowd and especially the student section were there in full force. Rhody hung with Valparaiso for most of the game. Two missed three point baskets at the end by Rhody would have sent the game into overtime. In the end, Rhody’s poor foul shooting was the cause for the loss.

It was interesting to see Kuran Iverson playing for Rhody. As a UCONN and local high school basketball fan, I followed Kuran from high school. He is a Connecticut resident that played for Memphis before transferring to Hurley’s club. He appeared to be labeled for stardom out of high school but has quickly withered on the vine. He is athletic but too much a shoot first mentality for my taste.

Overall, Ryan Center looked modern and clean but again as with many of the college arenas, they leave very little room in the hallways for folks to move around. I guess money has to be saved somewhere. I ate at the Mew Tavern in Wakefield upon the recommendation of the Stadium Journey site. It was funny to watch the frazzled bar staff trying to cope with a extremely large crowd because of the game considering Tuesday’s lunch time is relatively slow.

Stadium Journey – http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/thomas-m.-ryan-center-s704)

Stadium and Arena Visits – http://stadiumandarenavisits.com/visitsreviews/100-ryan-center/