It’s been a cold few weeks down here in the south! Today was no exception for LSU’s SEC opener against the Kentucky Wildcats. Before I headed out for the holidays, I attended my first Men’s Basketball game in the PMAC (what us LSU-ers call the basketball arena) against Houston. That was an exciting finish! Tonight’s game was too, but unfortunately it was an L for the Tigers to put them at 9-4. They fought tooth-and-nail, though, leading for half the game and only losing by 3 points at the last second.
Kentucky Basketball is one of the top programs in the country with 8 National Championship Titles and 17 Final Four Appearances. A trip to Lexington to see them at home is definitely on the list! I’ll be traveling to Lexington in March for their match up against Texas Tech Baseball and I can’t wait to see the facilities, but unfortunately they’re away that weekend. So I’ll be making another trip out there at some point!
Until then, Kentucky at LSU will have to do. LSU Basketball has a brand new Head Coach and have been really exciting to watch so far this year. It’s easy to see that the community enjoys the team, too, considering it was packed out last night. I’m sure some of that had to do with the fact that Kentucky was the opponent, but a lot of people have been impressed with the attendance so far and the excitement around Will Wade’s new team.
The PMAC is actually a beautiful facility. I was impressed with how well put together the inside was. If you don’t think you know any LSU alumni basketball players, think again – that white #33 banner up in the middle is the retired number of Shaquille O’Neal. Our Life Skills program for student-athletes is named after him, and there’s a really cool statue out on the back side of the PMAC for him, too!
(Make sure you check back in a couple of weeks – I’ll have pictures of the statues and the basketball facilities up!)
Most recently retired for LSU Women’s Basketball was #34 Sylvia Fowles. That was just a couple of months ago. I got to attend, and it was actually really touching. All of Sylvia’s teammates came back for the ceremony at halftime during the women’s first home game. I got to attend the reception after the game as well, where LSU put together a great presentation on Sylvia’s time at LSU. This last year, Sylvia won the WNBA MVP award. It was so cool to see!
Oh, and who doesn’t love free pizza?! Marketing handed out free pizza to the student section before the game. Free pizza is great any time of the year, but it’s especially great when it feels like 25 degrees outside!
I got to the arena early to watch shootarounds. Basically, this is just the teams warming up and shooting around the ball – hence, the name ‘shootaround.’
Excuse my blurry iPhone 7 photography. I’m obviously by no means a professional photographer, nor own a professional camera! LSU has a cool entry though. Not my favorite college basketball entry, but it’s good! They could probably do a little more. But hey, whatever works!
Okay, so anyone that knows me… knows that I don’t know a THING about basketball. Truthfully, the rules of basketball confuse me. To me, just about every leap for the basket looks like a travel. I guess since I never played it, I just never picked it up. I can speak the basics of basketball and I enjoy a good game, but don’t ask me questions… because I’m definitely the wrong person to ask!
As you can see, it was a pretty tight game the entire time. LSU led at the half, and never fell behind in the 2nd by more than a few. At one point, we even came back and took the lead from Kentucky. Talk about a LOUD crowd!
In the last few seconds, it ended up 74-71 Kentucky. While I’m sure people were disappointed in the loss, I don’t think anyone was really that beat up about it. A first-year coach playing a great game against veteran Kentucky… you just really can’t be upset about that!
It made me really excited to watch the rest of the season for the Tigers. But… I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention that Texas Tech kicked the snot out of Kansas at home on Tuesday night! Texas Tech is now 12-1. After this killer win, I checked my calendar to see if I could get out there for a game this year. And, of course, I found a way to make it happen. So I’ll be heading out there in February to watch Texas Tech take on OU (who is currently ranked #8).
So with that, I will leave you with two pictures – one of the coaches’ final handshake, and one of Mike the Tiger messing with me, just like he does every time he sees me. Oh, and the lady laughing at us in the background? Coincidentally, that’s my boss.
Come back to this post in a couple of weeks to get an inside look at the Men’s and Women’s Basketball facilities, practice court, locker rooms, and offices!