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Thursday, December 30, 2004
Iowa 73, Air Force 63
Hello from almost-always-overcast Oregon! I didn't get a chance to see or hear any of Tuesday's game, so I can't really comment on much. After glancing at the box score -

While I was unable to be at Carver-Hawkeye on Tuesday, I was present for a basketball game in one of the country's greatest basketball venues. I wanted to visit MacArthur Court in Eugene, Oregon for a long time, and finally got my wish last night when I watched Oregon knock off Portland, 92-67. Get this - I, as a non-Oregon-student adult, got a ticket about 10 rows back in a gym that holds fewer than 10,000 people for only $12. So, Iowa ticket marketers, can you explain to me why you charge $26 for tickets in a less-than-spectacular arena where the large capacity almost guarantees that no one has to worry about a sell-out?

Back to Mac Court - I love that place. I read somewhere that it's the second-oldest basketball venue in D-1 basketball, and it felt like it, but in the nostalgic Fenway Park kind of way. It has three decks above the court level, one on top of another, in the style of the old right field seats in Tiger Stadium. Each deck is only 10-15 rows deep, so no one is very far from the action. The seats (except for the new ones behind the scorer's table) are all wooden bleachers. A lot of seats have partially-blocked views from support beams and overhanging decks, but no one seems to care (kind of like how the right field seats in Fenway that face center field don't deter fans from coming to the games). It's just part of the experiecne. Another thing I loved was the smell of popcorn and hot dogs wafting up from the concession stands that are basically underneath the bleachers - it reminded me of some of the great high school basketball I've seen in tiny gyms around Iowa. I'm trying to type out anything I remember about the place as fast as I can, but I feel like I'm struggling to do it justice. Sorry Duck fans!

Aside from some careless passing, Malik Hairston was awesome. He was grabbing offensive boards, throwing down tip dunks, running the floor, and hitting the three - he's very exciting, to say the least. My buddy and I have moved on to Bend, OR for a few days, but we're thinking about heading back to Eugene to try to score some tickets to the sold-out Oregon-UCLA game before we head back to Iowa next week. I'd put up with some pretty obnoxious viewing obstructions to hear Mac Court rocking during a conference game.

Don't know when I'll get a chance to post again, but I'll try to drop a line about the New Year's Eve St. Louis game.

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