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Lets Take a College Basketball Trip

Posted on December 11 2018

This is my quick list and maybe the obvious list for a college basketball fan. However, I’m getting rid of three out of the five because, no offense to the fan bases, but I have no desire to go to the cities or back to the cities I’ve been there before. This is a bucket list weekend adventure list focused on basketball of course.

Quick List (I could teleport in for a game)

-Phog Allen Fieldhouse

-Hinkle Fieldhouse

-Cameron Indoor Stadium

- The Dean Dome

-Rupp Arena

Now that we have established that I’m expanding my search meaning so that I don’t have to go to a place with a traditional power.  My primary criteria for the list is finding a weekend that combines interesting travel, arena/gameplay and or player, coffee, and experience. While coffee might seem strange I’ve found unique coffee shops for the moment land themselves in interesting neighborhoods and well I love coffee. I challenge you to go to any of the coffee places on the list and not come away feeling the same way.

7. Texas/Austin

Might not be an obvious college town but there are two options that would make going to a game here an unparalleled experience. You could pick a football weekend early in the season or you could focus on the end of the season and pair it with SXSW.

SXSW aka South by Southwest - This is a bucket list musical experience if I could combine this with a hoops experience it would amount to an unparalleled weekend.

I also have always loved the way that Smart coaches though I’m sure Texas fans are wondering if it translates to a major college team. He seems to be having trouble like Fred Hoiberg had trouble translating his coaching talent to the Bulls who recently fired him. If Smart can’t figure it out season this might be my last chance to see him in Austin. A different version of this trip could coincide with a Texas football game.

The Coffee

-Houndstooth Coffee

-Cuvée Coffee

6. Maui Invitational 

Not going to spend much time on this one. The gym might not get on a list of iconic gyms and the home team isn’t close to the pantheon great or even good teams, no matter the games during the tournament are great. The Zags vs. Zion and crew this year was an Instant Classic.

I can almost feel the humidity in the small gym. Outside the gym spending, an extended weekend in Maui would be an absolute bucket list experience.

The Coffee

-Grandma’s Coffee House

-Hawaiian Village Coffee

5. Raleigh Durham/Chapel Hill 

This is my singular chalk and since I have no limitations I’m taking the charter for the home and home rivalry series. That means hitting Cameron Indoor in February when UNC comes to town then heading back in March when Duke returns the favor. I mean if you have an ounce of love for college hoops you just can’t argue. I can’t stand either school but can respect tradition and the absolute consistency their bagmen have in getting those recruits into town. Plus this year Zion might be next neck and neck with Giannis for my must see players.

Cameron - What attracts me to this gym besides the tradition is the fact that it really is a gym. The set up is incredible. In an era where we are all driven by distraction, a set up like this demands your attention. I can’t imagine being in this building and not being focused on the court.

The Dean Dome - While the Hoosiers are my favorite team. I also loved North Carolina for Michael Jordan. I don’t think I ever would’ve loved them as much if I knew how Dean Smith preferred to play basketball but all I can wrestle from my mind are images of Jordan’s jump shot and Vince Carter back cuts for alley oops.  

The Coffee

-Gray Squirrel Coffee (Chapel Hill)

-Jubala Village Coffee (Raleigh)

4. Marquette/Milwaukee 

I’m starting the weekend watching the Golden Eagles take on the defending Champs from Villanova. This is a Uniform watch team. While I can’t remember ever wanting to stair at a basket of laundry there is something about watching a team with sweet uniforms. The evening I’m checking in with the Bucks seeing the NBA player I most want to watch in person The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. There is something about watching him on TV that is incredible. I can imagine that in person when he does one of his crazy euro-steps in person I might require oxygen afterward.

The Coffee

-Stone Creek Coffee

-Kickapoo Coffee

3. The Barn/Twin Cities 

I have heard that the Twin Cities are low key a really interesting place to visit even boasting a legendary underground hip/hop scene. I’m going to this one strictly for basketball though. Old school grudge match Big Ten play. Saturday, February 16th Gophers vs. my Hoosiers would be an incredible experience.

The Barn - I have a real love hate relationship with this building. The building has tormented my Hoosiers over the years. Nevertheless, that raised floor is just so iconic I can’t pass it up.  I can feel that frigid, dry air, and then the blast of heat as you enter the building. How do I get 19nine to pay for this trip?  I’m ready to shoot this travel show right now.

The Coffee

-Spyhouse Coffee

-Dogwood Coffee

2. Venice Beach/UCLA/Lakers 

After some cold weather spots, it’s time to get out to LA a city that seems perpetually involved in the next big thing. UCLA isn’t great this year but an absolutely iconic team with an iconic arena and laundry basket watch-worthy uniforms. On the last day of February, they’re taking on rival USC. I’m taking a long weekend seeing them on a Thursday. Then on Friday, it’s time to see LBJ take on his accident heir Giannis Atetikumpo. Did I mention that I have got to see him play live. On my Netflix sponsored production I”m seeing him twice. After binging on Basketball I’m spending the weekend on the beach and getting outside to shoot some hoops of my own. While I’ve been to Venice Beach a couple of times there is no reason not to go back and get up a couple jumpers imagining I’m Billy Hoyle. There’s only one place that could top this trip.

Pauley Pavilion - John Wooden’s last game was played here. UCLA is one of those teams that has been in and out of my life but as far as history goes they are are blue blood as it gets. To this day I don’t know why they aren’t Kentucky, UNC, Duke as far as recruits every year. The same goes for USC. For me living in LA and being the 21st Century Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush should be the goal of the next Zion and RJ.

The Coffee



1. Rucker/St. Johns/Knicks

New York is the Mecca of hoops for me. I so hope that they somehow luck into Zion and KD next year. As a Bulls fan, this would be tough to watch but we have been terrible forever and aren’t close to a competing soon. I’m getting off track. This weekend would be an absolute epic. I have always loved St. John’s since floppy haired Chris Mullin was running around splashing his lefty jumper all over the Big East. I’m making this a short weekend flying in an seeing the sights on Saturday. Specifically, I’m heading to Rucker. While it will no doubt be frozen over it I need to walk on the ground and feel those vibes.

Sunday I am going for the doubleheader St. Johns and those beautiful Red Storm Unis vs. Georgetown an old-school Big East throw down. In the evening I’m hoping Porzingis is back and catching a Knicks game. Even if he’s out MSG has legendary crowds that would make any game worth the price of admission.

Carnesecca Arena - 5,600 seats there are 13 high school gyms in Indiana bigger than this. If MSG didn’t have such a pull I would love to see a game here.

I have to end with this one

Madison Square Garden - Look I’m not Catholic but when I got the chance to visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome I still was awed by the grandeur and history. Being a basketball fan there is no doubt I would feel something akin to that reverie. There is such a profound sense of basketball history and immortality that comes with performing at The Garden. II is hoops history incarnate.

The Coffee

-Cafe Grumpy

-The Extraction Lab - They’ve got an $18 cup of coffee. I’ve got to see what that’s about

Aaron Meyer

Blogger | H.V.S.

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