A Little Late-St. Joe's

Holy Man

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I was in Philly for the Gophers-St. Joe's game on Wednesday. I was surprised to read the somewhat harsh comments about Hagan Arena (a remodeled and slightly expanded version of their old field house). It was small (4,200) but it provided a great environment for a college basketball game. The fans are right on top of things, the building is loud, and it has a very "homey" style to it. It seemed like everyone knew each other and those I sat near were kind to the guy in the arched Minnesota sweatshirt.

The local media tipped their hat to Tubby for coming in to their on campus arena, and the crowd gave him a nice hand when introduced.

My source got me tickets in row 2, right behind press row, and it provided a great view and appreciation for the size of the players and their quickness. It looks much different than the view from Section 212 at Williams Arena.

We got to the arena about 45 minutes before tip and as I was heading to my seat, I took a double take at a guy with a head set on in press row. I stepped back and thought I should know him. After a minute, I thought, "Yes, that's Joe Lunardi, the bracket guy!" He was looking into the seats and waving to people and asked me about my connection to Minnesota. I broke out of my passive Minnesota Nice shell and confirmed that it was Lunardi, and he seemed surprised that a holy man from the tundra would know who he is. We chatted for about five minutes and I found out he does the local radio broadcasts of the Hawks, and is a marketing VP for the university. He is a St. Joe's guy, and the bracket stuff is just a night job. Really nice guy. Hodger, I did mention that we had a guy on our board that matches him every year.

The game is old news, but they did do well in the hostile environment, and it is a good thing our man Devoe is back. He is the "ice" factor we need on this team, and he and Al will be a potent force when/if they get on the court at the same time. The locals were impressed with the size of our Gophers and mentioned how "small" the court looked when the Gophers went into a zone. While the Hawks made a nice run or two, I never felt like the game was in jeopardy.

St. Joe's is a very young team and will be a force in the A-10 in a year or two. The guy who hit for 30 did it in a quiet way, as it sure did not seem like he had that many.

It was a great environment for a college basketball game. For those of us spoiled with 10,000 plus arenas, that is not the norm for D-1 basketball, Hagan Arena is. It's nice, it's quaint, the game is exciting, and everyone is close to the action. I will take it over an NBA bowl any time. Most D-1 teams are small schools in small arenas, and it can only help our team to play in these kind of games. I hope they continue. I know Esposito said they did it to try to gain in roads into the talent rich Philly area, but it has more benefits than that.

Great environment, great game, and a decent if not great performance by the Gophers.

That Hawk is something else. Never stops flapping. Must be exhausting.
 

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Thanks Holy Man for the very nice report. I think it shows a lot of class when the opposing team/coach is recognized with repect. That had to be a great environment for taking-in a ball game. I assume your voice held out for the whole game as you led the cheers for the Gophers.
 

Lincoln gopher

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Thanks for the report. I see St. Joe's lost last night in Omaha to Creighton. Ethan Wragge had a career high 22 for Creighton.
 

Section201

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H M

Thanks for the great post.

I loved the site. I do wonder about the short distance between the seats and the court under the baskets though. That looked like an injury waiting to happen.

Hats off to Tubby for manning up and going into that little band box. It is a great site for college hoops, IMHO.

:clap::clap::clap:
 

JGopher

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Great report. Would love to see a game in an atmosphere like that.

But as far as big D-1 arenas go, I'll take the Barn any day. Sure beats the Coal Center :D
 


jovs

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Anybody watch the Villanova LaSalle game in the LaSalle gym today. What a game, same type of venue as St Joe's.
 

underground629

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That gym must help them. They've put up good fights against some pretty good teams. I'm surprised they were able to schedule Missouri, Ok State, and Villanova at home.

Anybody watch the Villanova LaSalle game in the LaSalle gym today. What a game, same type of venue as St Joe's.
 

KSBGopher

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Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know several people have explained this to me now, but it's good to hear an in-depth description of Hagan. That explains Hoff's comment and my bad about the post!
 




SelectionSunday

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Lunardi

Thanks Holy Man. I love the small gyms.

Love 'em or hate 'em, "Joey Brackets" is the best at what he does, though Jerry Palm did get the best of Lunardi & me (34 for 34 at-larges) by one last year.
 

freshtrout

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Thanks for the recap HM, even though many of us had to watch via our computers, the atmosphere of that small gym came through.
 




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