The only thing that hurts more than my liver this morning is my heart.
The beauty and brutality of this tournament is how quickly the end comes for some teams. Illinois felt it Sunday and on Monday it was Iowa’s turn.
The nice thing about being the first game of the day is you don’t have to sit around all day waiting to play. A Michigan dude I was chatting with on the way over to Banker’s Life Arena was lamenting that fact as he had to wait until the evening to watch his Wolverines play.
Speaking of Banker’s Life Arena….
The was the last of the four Indianapolis venues I had to check off my list since coming to town way back on March 9th. And walking inside, I ran into an old friend from Rutgers.
Despite having suffered his own heartbreak the night before, Shiny Jacket Guy was back to root for the Big Ten.
Having not been inside this wonderful building before, I had asked a few people who had. Their response was that it was “Built for watching basketball”. That description was spot on. Great layout, and despite being the NBA home of the Pacers, still had an intimate feel to it.
It was a wild game….for the first half. To call it a track meet would be an insult to track meets. Iowa superstar Luka Garza had 22 points in the first half and despite being down 10 at the break, the Hawkeyes were still very much in the game.
At half time, they put Ernie Johnson and the studio crew on the big screen inside the arena, where I was treated to a surprise.
Apology accepted, Mr. Barkley.
Unfortunately for me and the rest of the Iowa fans in attendance, there was no stopping the Ducks as they cruised to a 95-80 win. Things got emotional as Luka Garza walked off the floor for the final time as a Hawkeye.
Back in the well-appointed back lounge of The Block Bistro and Bar, a few of us commiserated by seeing exactly how much bourbon it would take to lessen the sting of the loss. (NOTE: Not enough.)
While Iowa’s time here in Indianapolis is done, mine will continue on. I’m staying all the way through the Final Four and will very likely go to some more games. So I will keep you posted as your special correspondent as Michigan carries the banner for the Big Ten.