December 17, 2022
So here we are reviving a tradition that briefly went away with the pandemic but that we probably shouldn’t have brought back: the neutral-site game in an empty NBA arena.
In 2019, it was Loyola Chicago in the Phoenix Suns’ arena. In 2018, it was NC State in the Miami Heat’s arena (and Kansas State at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, but at least that seems more like “home game that the other team decided to move 40 miles away on their own.”) In 2016, it was Minnesota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. These “showcase” games, as they call them, are a new-ish feature for college basketball unless you’re Kentucky where the entire portion of your nonconference schedule that isn’t home games is neutral-site games for no fucking reason.
This is a scourge, and it needs to stop. And no, I’m not just saying that because it feels like we always lose them. Vanderbilt and NC State could have played a home and home, and instead, it’s two games in NBA arenas that will likely be mostly empty. Hell, this one is at bedtime, to boot.
Kill it. Kill it with fire.