Filed by Wesley Rucker
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Some thoughts in between one day that featured five basketball games (beginning at 10 a.m.) and six basketball games (beginning at 9 a.m.):
1. One game here could last 10 overtimes and it wouldn't match the intensity of one of my favorite college athletics battles -- the soft drink company sponsorship battle.
You know the competitors, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Let's just say this -- this tournament is co-sponsored by one of those companies, and several of the schools have deals with the other. Now, part of that companies' tournament deal appears to include their bottled water being in front of every player and student-athlete at the post-game press conference. Several coaches try their best to plug their company, too, and if it's not the same as the tournament's, it can be equal parts awkward and hilarious. I'm talking grown men and women peeling labels to drink bottled water.
I love the modern world.
2. The horn at the North Charleston Coliseum is entirely too loud. I've covered night football games in the SEC that weren't this loud. It's the kind of loud that makes you understand why elderly men poke sticks at loud children and order them off the lawn. I feel ornery, but you would, too, if you had to listen to this thing.
3. The highway system in Charleston is ridiculous. Maybe it's UTC men's basketball beat writer David Uchiyama's poor sense of direction. Maybe I'm a bad navigator. But I think the most likely culprit is a twisted mass of bridges and overpasses that seems like it was designed by a disinterested toddler with Lego-s.. A wonderfully diverse, cultured, coastal town like this deserves better.
4. I promise points two and three are valid arguments. I am not an angry person.
5. I'm really excited about tomorrow's (err ... today's) games. Let's say Thursday's games. Some of the lower seeds have gotten out of the way, and a few that are left have enough talent to make a wonderful mess of the bracket. Hopefully the addition of some higher seeds from the Carolinas will add some buzz to the Coliseum.
Give me any noise over that horn.
6. These are long days for coaches, players, media members and especially the hard-working Southern Conference and North Charleston Coliseum staff and local volunteers that do a lot no one sees to get this place in shape every day. I got there at 9:30 a.m. and left around midnight, and I saw a lot of the same faces working both times. When I get back there about 8:30 a.m. -- which is quickly approaching -- I bet I'll see some of the same faces. The people at McKenzie Arena did the same when the tournament was there two years ago. Kudos to all of you, and I hope you're getting overtime pay.
Good thing for caffeine. Not that I have any desire to get into which soft drink I prefer ...