Indy (Long)

Holy Man

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I was able to get to the BTT in Indy last weekend and it was awesome. Winning brings extra joy to the trip. A few observations:


I have been to the BTT five times now. Three in Indy, and two in Chicago. I like the United Center better as a venue and Chicago is an easier trip, but Indy as a city wins hands down. The city is hospitable, they are ready to host, and the layout allows game attendees to park once and spend the whole day near the arena. The proximity of so many hotels, bars and restaurants helps to create a festive atmosphere in the city. Everywhere is full of BT fans, and a vast majority are good folks to chat with and have a beverage with.

This was the best tournament I have attended in terms of quality of play and excitement of games. Until Sunday, the only real dud was our game against the Boilers, and I'll take a victory in a dud game any time.

While subjective, many agree with me that Illinois fans are generally the most obnoxious. To prove me wrong, I ran into about a dozen of them who wished us luck, wanted us in the tournament, and showed respect for our team. I was floored. The general thrust of the crowd from my perspective is that they have some empathy for our long suffering and seeing our small but feisty crowd was a lift to a lot of people. I apologize to them for not finishing the job against OSU.

It seems like the BTN owns the tournament, as they had commercials for their stuff all the time. Our section got a Bronko Nagurski bobble head out of the deal, though. The "BT Icons" show in the fall looks like it could be decent. Keith Jackson may be narrating some of them as he did promos for it. The guy still has great pipes well into his 80's. As a talker, I am in awe.

You never know who you might meet. While celebrating the victory over the Boilers at a local place, there were several MSU people there. An overserved but well behaved man in green introduced us to a guy who he said was Izzo's brother in law. I didn't believe, but then we got into a serious conversation and he did tell me he was Lupe's brother, and introduced me to his very nice kids who were wearing their Izzone shirts. Perhaps a brush with greatness, perhaps not, but things like that happen in the community of the BTT. Sorry, Gopher Lady, I didn't get any contact information.

Selection's parents are really nice people and worth meeting.

I wasn't in uniform, but every once in a while people would press for information on my non-basketball life. Most were shocked that I am a "holy man" but pretty nice about it. They don't figure we actually have a life outside of Sunday.

I am always amazed at the number of scalpers. I don't see how they can all make money. The blowout of the Boilers depressed the market. The crowds were good, but I suspect anyone could get decent seats for a reasonable price to any game. I am risk averse and free time is too valuable for me to go without tickets, but people with more flexibility would have a pretty easy time getting the games for less than face value of the tickets on most days.

Nothing replaces winning. After all those years of bad teams and disappointing performances, it was simply magical to be there and actually have some success on the court!

While the NCAA may be more exciting, the BTT brings out the die hards, and it is just great. I smell band wagon jumping with the NCAA's. There was no bandwagon in Indy, only fans who bleed their school colors. The advantage of BTT is far advanced scheduling which my life requires. I will go again next year if the schedule works out. If you can make it, it is really a worthwhile weekend.
 

Rick Mons

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Thanks for the write up, Holy Man.

Your opinion of Indianapolis as a host city is interesting. I have to admit that the extra distance (and time) is more of an obstacle in my mind and driving is the only way I'd travel there. But being able to navigate within walking distance of an arena is a great attraction.
 


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I Prefer Chicago (No Traveling)

But Conseco > United Center as venue for basketball.

The Friday quarterfinals always offer 4 good to great games.
 

SelectionSunday

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Thanks for the report Holy Man. My folks speak highly of you as well.

Your last paragraph sums it up nicely about what makes a conference tournament so unique. Whether their team had a great year or a disappointing one, it's pretty much all diehards, very few "bandwagoners" from the participating schools.
 


tjgopher

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I like the United Center better as a venue

I LOVED your report. Excellent recap. But, I simply could not get past that line without asking. How can you think that? Conseco Field House might be the best basketball arena in the country. How can the sterile airplane hanger known as the United Center be better to you? Just curious.
 

SaturnSweater

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Holy Man, Gopher Holers, et al..

I'd like to piggy back on some of your comments on this year's tourney. Myself, like Holy Man this was my 5th tourney with 2 in Chicago and 3 in Indy.

I also experienced a great amount of respect from the Illinois and Michigan State fans after the OT victory over Sparty. We stayed in the Omni which apparently was the team hotel for the Fighting Illini as I saw a few of their players in the lobby. But I had two of the Illini fans compliment the Gophers and wished as well against the Boilers.

As I was walking to Buffalo Wild Wings I had two different sets of MSU fans congratulate me and the team as well. I had to be honest though and admit we caught a break with the suspension of Chris Allen.

I was very fortunate in my seats. I sat next to the tunnel leading to the locker room. I was able to slap hands with VoeJo, Damian, Blake and Colton as they went back into the locker room after the PSU victory. I also had Vince Taylor standing right below me during the Illini-OSU game. I asked him if he was getting "antsy" as it seemed the Illini-OSU game would never end. He looked up at me, smiled and shook his head in agreement.

I have a story involving Chris Kramer that I'd like to share. I used to have a lot of respect for this kid, but no longer. As he was heading back to locker room after the Gopher humilation, he looked up to the Gopher fans directly above the tunnel and said, "f... you." A MSU fan sitting directly behind me also heard Kramer say this. I asked the MSU fan if he heard the Gopher fans say anything derogatory to Kramer, as I did not hear anything. He did not hear anything either. Kramer is now a punk in my mind and I hope Siena takes them out.

Friday is by far and away the best day of the tournament. We went to Alcatraz in between sessions and of course the place was packed. We were fortunate enough to get a table and invited two other fans to join us who could not find a table. They happened to be MSU fans. After critiquing some of the fine microbrews of Michigan, (i.e. Bell's and Founder's) one of the MSU fans offered me a case of Bell's if the Gophers won. The two of them had seats on the other side of the tunnel and back a couple of rows. I thought about yelling over to him a few times during the game about our bet, but I was afraid I would jinx the Gophs. I finally decided with about 1:30 to go in overtime to yell over at him, but he conveniently left the building by that time. Can't say that I blame him.

Otherwise I plan on attending next year again after not going in four years. It was nice visiting with you Holy Man, Bad Gopher, Go31 and the other fans I recognized at the games.
 

GoAUpher

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I wasn't in uniform, but every once in a while people would press for information on my non-basketball life. Most were shocked that I am a "holy man" but pretty nice about it. They don't figure we actually have a life outside of Sunday.

Completely OT, but both my dad and mom are "holy people" as well and they run into the same silly assumptions. My dad drinks a beer in public and people get all shocked. It would be more funny if it weren't so persistent or annoying for them I think. For whatever reason a lot of people treat clergy like they are preaching androids programmed for Sunday services and nothing else. :rolleyes:
 

Holy Man

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I LOVED your report. Excellent recap. But, I simply could not get past that line without asking. How can you think that? Conseco Field House might be the best basketball arena in the country. How can the sterile airplane hanger known as the United Center be better to you? Just curious.

TJ, it has nothing to do with the architecture, but everything to do with technology. Conseco is definitely a better building than Jordan's House, but I have to admit it drives me crazy sitting near the baseline and not being able to see stats and lineups on the main scoreboard. I have to crane my neck to see how many fouls someone has. Conseco has a nice four sided scorebaord at center court that they use for commercials and video only. I just don't get why they don't use that space for line-ups and stats. In Chicago, they flashed all that data on the main scoreboard, and did a terrific job of flashing a series of excellent still shots from the tournament. It's a relatively small thing, I suppose, but for the ticket prices we pay, we ought to be able to SEE the stats without needing to turn around.
 



mnboiler

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I was able to attend the BTT for the 3rd time this year. It has become a little tradition that my dad I go every year. It is a great event and would recommend for ever one to go.

The first thing I will touch on is Conseco Fieldhouse. I love Conseco as a venue for it. It is all basketball all the time and I love it. But Holy Man is right on the technology in Conseco. It broke out 1997 and opened 1999-its a decade old doesn't seem that old at all-but it is needing a little bit of updating in the video board area. The large color dot matrix boards at the ends of the arena need to be up graded to video board quite badly. Also placing LED ribbon boards around the edges of the club and upper levels would add alot as well. Lastly upgrading the old tube TV's on the concourse to flat screen HD is needed as well. Other than that there isn't that much that I would change.

This year I was lucky enough to go with some friends from my hometown, who are Gopher fans. My dad and I stayed in the Hilton with the Gopher fans. The Gopher fans from my hometown had a extra room there so I was lucky to meet and spend sometime with fellow Gopher supporters. I meet the guy that ran Tubby's foundation who came with him from Kentucky and was able to watch the first half of the Kentucky-Miss St. game with him and some other converts.

I was also able to meet AD Maturi who was a very nice man but and very polite but seemed a little more eager to talk to a high roller or two, which I would expect every AD to do. Being a student from a opposing university wearing Purdue colors almost all weekend(I wore a Gopher's shirt on Sunday) Gopher fans were very welcoming and very polite. I did take some crap from Gopher fans during the Boiler-Gophers games and would do the same thing.

As for Kramer swearing at the crowd he shouldn't have done it and there is no excusing it but lets not pretend that those fans were completely innocent and remember the circumstances. The Gopher fans were clearly yelling at the Boilermakers as they went back to the lockerroom. Also HIS team, yes this Kramer's team in the way that he is the emotional core of the team and he is the leader, just got the crapped kicked out of them so he was just a little pissed off before the Gopher fans started getting on his case, so don't rush to demonize him after this one little thing.
 

GILBball

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Went to Indy for my third year in a row with the band. Definitely the best trip of the three so far.

I really like Indianapolis as a host city, but man I wish it was closer to Minneapolis. Considering it was almost an 11 hour drive from the Cities I was really impressed with the number of Gopher fans down there. I just wish our fans had the ability to drive down the morning of games like the Ohio State fans did. I didn't see many of them the first three days I was down there but on Sunday they magically appeared. I'm pretty sure it was the most fans we've had out of the three times I've been down there.

It was very cool to have our few hundred fans be so much louder than 10,000 Boilermaker fans.

The Michigan State game felt very familiar. After getting up by 10(?) in the second half and choking it away I felt we were doomed. Especially once it went to overtime and both Iverson and Johnson had fouled out, I didn't see how we were going to pull it out. It sure was nice to see our ridiculous three pointers falling instead of everyone elses'.

Went out after the game, the Spartan fans were about 50/50 in "good game" and "I can't believe we lost to you guys, you suck." All the other fans (including Badgers and Hawkeyes) congratulated us - I guess everyone likes to see MSU get taken down a peg.

Purdue fans really surprised me. Every single one I ran into wished us luck against MSU, PSU, OSU, as well as for our game with them. Can't say the same about the Spartan fans. For every "good luck" I got from them I got two "you guys are going down" or "last supper!" while out to eat.

The Purdue game was really just BIZARRE. I was expecting something similar to our game with IU in 2008. I expected us to play well, but I knew the home crowd would be tough and probably keep them in it. I think it's pretty safe to say that none of the people I was with could believe what we were seeing. Every single one of our shots went in and Purdue just had SO MANY bounce off. I know I spent most of the game with my jaw on the floor. NEVER have I seen a game where absolutely everything goes our way.

OSU game obviously didn't go so well. I think this is the type of game where the loss of Al really hurt the most. Devoe brings a lot more offense with him, but having someone like Nolen there to really get in Evan Turner's face and make life much more difficult for him was the difference.

Some side notes: at the pregame pep rally Goldy really owned Brutus the Buckeye in all categories. Our fans clearly loved Goldy much more than the OSU fans love Brutus, and when Brutus started doing one handed pushups (pretty poorly) Goldy got down and started cranking them out, absolutely embarrassing the Buckeyes.

That Big ten Icons show better be really awesome, because I got super sick of all the promos for it. It was also the focus of the first three half time shows (all pretty terrible), but at least we got Red Panda for the championship game.

I agree with what people have said about the stats board. If you're behind the baskets at all it's impossible to see stats. It also really made me appreciate the stats they flash at Williams. Shooting %, Free Throws, Offensive and Defensive Rebounds.

Also, something was definitely up with the rims down there. I've never seen so many balls take ridiculous hops after hitting the rims. It seemed like if the shot hit any rim at all it bounced completely out.

Maybe the best part of the trip, while at the post- Purdue game celebration at Union station(?) a drunk Hawkeye fan leaned over to one of the other members of the band and said, "Did you know, Bucky Badger is [email protected]??"

Sorry it's so long, but I really enjoyed reading what everyone else thought of the trip, and thought I'd contribute to the reading material.
It really was a great tourney, especially when you get to go on someone else's dime!
 

Gopher Bandanna Guy

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Great thread started by Holy Man, and great recaps by all who posted. Thanks for the info on the nuances of attending the BTT. I've yet to get to one, since I always seem to let the NCAA tourney trump that (went to the Final Four last year, and have been to numerous regionals). Maybe next year I'll head on down to Indy, as it seems to be a really good time based on these recaps. Love downtown Indy, as its not overwhelmingly big and it has St. Elmo's. 'Nuff said.
 

BigEGopher

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First time at the BTT

Some random thoughts....

My 17 yr old son and I road tripped to Indy. Got there right as Turner was hitting the buzzer beater. Great start.

MSU game was a ton of fun and great people all around. Loved the Michigan students helping/leading the Gopher students in cheers. (If you can't get into college, go to State). Liked the Purdue fans rooting for us so they would have an easy game Sat. Have to agree on the park and walk city. Great area to host an event. Even found cheap parking one day (3.00 Sat).

Had lunch with Dave Revsion (sp) from the Big10 Network. Really nice guy.

Bought tix outside for all but one session. Got Sunday tix for $30 ($75 face) - lower level near the Gopher bench.

Was planning on a nice relaxed trip home Sunday but had to stay for the game. Great experience for my son and I. Will have to do again and would tell anyone who likes BB to give it a try.

Next time I am staying downtown. We stayed on the east side about 8 miles out. Not bad but wwalking to the games and for food would be better.

If you haven't been, give it a try!
 



mnboiler

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Just bumping to see of anyone else has any thoughts from the BTT.
 




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