The Boiling Point: Quick Hits about the atmosphere around and in Conseco Fieldhouse
Anybody can get the box score or watch the game on TV. But I’m here to give you an idea of what it is like in and around Conseco. This is the first of four installments. So without further ado:
-Every school has a “headquarters” at a bar or restaurant. As many of you have heard, Purdue’s is Scotty’s Brewhouse. Perfect location right down the street from Conseco. They have a tented-in lounge area outside with heaters, coaches and tables. Leave it to Northwestern to decide to have their headquarters at a high-end restaurant, McCormick and Schmidt at the Hilton.
-Minnesota and Purdue are staying at my hotel, the Hilton. Same as last year, except Minnesota won’t blow us out this time. Saw Ralph Sampson in the lobby. He’s tall.
-Maize Rage, Michigan’s student section, didn’t get anyone to team up with them like it had hoped. They randomly decided to cheer with the 8 Northwestern students there. Northwestern didn’t seem amused. The Izzone, Michigan State’s student section, was surprisingly non-existent.
-The Paint Crew accounts for 1/3 of the student tickets at 150. They had their own section with the group next to them mixed of O$U, Penn St and Minnesota. The Paint Crew cheered with Nittany Nation, the Penn State student section, and they will team up with each other throughout the tourney. They have been friendly over the years with each other starting a couple years ago when their officers spent some time with the Paint Crew officers to see how the it ran things to improve Nittany Nation.
-While walking in parking garage, I heard IU fans talking about how they wish they were winning, but it’s OK because they have good recruits coming in. I heard the word recruits out of IU fans’ mouths approximately 1,593 times – the coaching once. They also are sick of media talking about how they aren’t good, specifically Dakich. They should probably be good if they don’t want to be talked about not being good.
-It looks like Conseco imported the White Sox/Blackhawks announcer for the weekend.
-Minnesota usually has a very good showing no matter how good its team is, but there were not many people here for them. Northwestern had a lot more than usual.
–Northwestern’s band sounds like a symphony, having the opposite effect of hyping a team and its fans up. But guess it worked since Juice Thompson tore it up for 35 points, breaking former Boiler Brian Cardinal’s scoring record of 33 in the tourney.
-Northwestern gets to use its headquarters for more than one night, which is unusual.
-Conseco was pretty empty to start in the first game, but definitely filled up for second and third games. For whatever reason, Michigan State didn’t have anywhere close to the amount of fans as normal. ESPN columnist Pat Forde looked like he’d rather be anywhere else during the first game. Understandable since Northwestern and Minnesota had the least amount of intrigue of the whole tournament.
-Motel 6 ran a contest to win a free six-night stay. There probably should have been an option to take the cash instead.
-The halftime of the Northwestern-Minnesota game was human slingshot bowling. Looked like a terrible drunken idea with safety precautions.
-MSU players looked way to cocky for losing to Iowa by 20 and it showed in final score.
–Conseco installed one of those wrap-around screens and it has to be as distracting to players as it is to me.
-I almost want to boycott Sunkist for all the advertising that they did.
-One random MSU cheerleader was way more into game than rest. Either she was an attention whore or the only one that has hope for rest of MSU’s season.
-They play the same intro video for every game but with a couple scenes changed. It made me feel the need to watch it every time.
-Usually every fan has another Big Ten team that he roots for, but not IU. Everyone was rooting against them.
–Indiana coach Tom Crean got a better workout on the sidelines than his players did in the games. Also, I don’t like how all his clapping makes his players think people are actually cheering for them.
-At one point several IU guys in the Crimson Guard danced to “California Girls” by Katy Perry. And not to the Snoop Dogg part … enough said. They were also the only ones with signs that were all terrible and not creative.
-It seemed like IU had more fans than normal, but with Nebraska coming next year 20 percent of Big Ten teams will wear red so it might just be that.
-A little kid told me IU had 5 banners. I told him he was -18 for the most recent one.
–IU fans were silent almost the whole game. The most emotion I saw was from one IU fan who was mad that PSU’s 12 students were louder than half the stadium.
-The halftime of Indiana-Penn State was a Gus Johnson competition. All they had to do was rave about IU and they probably would have won.
-With seven minutes left in the game and IU down 9, Hoosier fans were leaving … What happened to all that tradition?
–IU fans said they lost because of the foul calling. I say it’s because of terrible shots that were rushed.
Overall, it was a pretty good atmosphere today. It’s not every year where you have MSU on a Thursday. Games were pretty competitive for the most part, which you normally don’t see, as well. Look for another recap after Day 2 on Friday night.