I had a pretty good streak of SWC conference tournaments. Went to five in a row, if memory serves. And they just seemed better than what I'm watching in Kansas City.
Have you seen the crowds at the women's games? Not exactly inspiring. The old games at Moody Coliseum had something, it seemed. Not a big crowd... but some passion... some flavor. And the first day of men's games hasn't knocked my socks off.
Maybe it's what they show on TV.
Or maybe I'm biased.
It was always an experience at the Southwest Conference Tournament. From the very first year I covered it for KVUE, in 1990, when I went live at Moody Coliseum during a game and had an SWC official come yell at my photographer and me for having a light on during the game. Forget the part that it wasn't a strobe light or a spotlight. It was more like a flashlight, but that official acted like no one could play because of all the glare. Funny thing is, I see that same official at various sporting events now and he's been nice as can be for the last 20 years. Not that it implies who was right and who was wrong, but...
How about the year when the signal from another live shot got a little scrambled going back to Austin. Another station saw me in their control room. Whoops.
And then there was the live shot at Reunion when I heard my voice in my ear... about a second later. I wasn't getting "mix minus" as it's called. Try talking when you hear the echo a second later. Not easy.
Go back to that first year, when I got my first introduction to Arkansas fans. WOW. They were loud. Some were rude. Most were cocky. But they were impressive.
There was one year when I drove up on Wednesday for a women's game. Came back that night and covered a high school game on Thursday at the Erwin Center. Then went back up on Friday for men's games that day and the rest of the weekend. Lots of travel, but lots of fun.
There just seemed to be more excitement at the tournament back then. Other teams trying to knock the UT women off their pedestal. And the Texas men always trying to show they belonged and improve their March Madness reputation.
I just haven't seen that watching this Kansas City tournament on TV. The women had little to gain, and may have lost a lot when they lost by 27 tonight. Their bubble could have burst. And the men have rarely seemed to play like the conference tournament means much under Rick Barnes. Maybe it's perception... but reality to me is the 2003 game in Dallas when they lost to Texas Tech, but stayed a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and went all the way to the Final Four.
That game meant nothing, and that's the feeling I get for a lot of these games.
Too many blahs and not enough rahs.