Game #9-012: Akron at Coastal Carolina ChanticleersNovember 9, 2012 7:30 pm
I often tend to think about things well in advance of them happening, almost to a fault. I can even remember when I started to get excited about TMM9. It was when TMM8 wasn't even over yet. It was February 1st when the details of the upcoming season were revealed. At first, I had a bunch of questions which went through my head which I went over here
. I was having so much fun in the current season that I was already stoked for the next season.
In that final month of TMM8, I was dreading the final days of my journey. My season ended at the final of the Big South Tournament
. I was originally going to go to the Greensboro pod of the NCAA Tournament, but decided against it, figuring the match-ups were way too one-sided. In hindsight, that was a big mistake, seeing that THIS happened.
In the few weeks after Ohio was the last of our teams to be dispatched, I got really bored with sports. My NBA team the Detroit Pistons were well out of playoff contention and the Red Wings had seemingly sunk to mediocrity. Even the eventual American League Champion Detroit Tigers were sluggish for what seemed like the first 3/4 of the season.
I was craving the excitement of watching the Other 24, but all I was left with was the occasional blog posts or speculation over conference realignment. It was not until mid-July when the major programs like UCLA and Texas started to release their schedules that my interest in the upcoming season ramped up again. I knew the schools above the red line would come first, but I was hoping the Other 24 would soon follow.
Due to being a Coastal Carolina season ticket holder, a lot of my interest in the start of the season was aimed towards them since news of them would be easier to get to. Little by little, the Chanticleers released details of the upcoming schedule. First, there was confirmation that Clemson would be making the trip to Conway this year as part of scheduling a two-for-one deal. Then there was word CCU would be going to Ole Miss with the Rebels returning the visit the following year.
The main aspect that was missing was who was going to be the home opener for CCU. The answer became a logical one once Akron was announced as the team. The current AD at Coastal is Hunter Yurachek, who formerly worked for Akron before arriving in Conway, so he was able to strike a deal with the MAC power. I was excited in getting the Zips on the schedule, as I thought it would probably be the toughest game for the Chants this year.
The reason there was a need for a quality opponent was that Coastal was going to be opening the brand-new Student Recreation and Convocation Center, which would later be named The HTC Center. Talks of a new arena for CCU had been going on for years as Kimbel Arena had all the amenities of a middle school gym. The HTC Center was supposed to open a year earlier against LSU, but construction delays pushed its completion back a year.
Late in the summer, they gave season ticket holders personal tours of the new arena. I was able to get a tour with my friend Justin, with whom I share season tickets, and we scoped out the new place. We were both impressed with what we saw, as we peppered one of the staff members with numerous questions that she mostly couldn't answer. We were both so excited for the season that we couldn't help but ask everything we had been discussing amongst ourselves since the last season ended.
As the summer wore down and fall started and as teams rosters and schedules were fully announced there was still the question of how or if I'd be involved with TMM9 .I was able to scrape together a few funds and help the cause by getting a membership. At first, I figured that would be all that I would want to do and let other writers get their chance seeing that spaces would probably be limited. However, I simply could not resist, considering the amount of fun I had the previous season.
This would be an imposing problem for CCU, considering starting power forward Sam McLaurin decided to transfer to Illinois using the postgrad rule. Along with that was the fact that the rest of the frontline had graduated, leaving Coastal fans with questions that couldn't be answered, considering CCU did not play an exhibition and scrimmages were closed.
With the large amount of turnover it looked like an uphill battle for the Chants. That was until the day of the game when it was discovered Akron's Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell were ruled ineligible
for the first three games due to a clerical error. The Zips would be losing a lot of proven production with those two out. To add to this, the status of starting point guard Alex Abreu was up in the air due to an injury. Even with all of this, the depleted Zips still seemed like the favorites due to the experience and size advantage.
My excitement was boiling over and I couldn't wait for the game to start, but I still had a few hours to blow after work before game time. Justin and I went to get a pregame meal at a local bar and while the food was not the best, it sufficed. The service was also pretty slow and we were getting agitated because we wanted to head over to the arena.