It was a big day at the Big XII Tournament today and an interesting fan experience at the Sprint Center. Texas' victory made the rest of the day very enjoyable from a basketball perspective--it's a whole lot more fun to watch games knowing you're going to get to see the Longhorns again.
The OU-Colorado game followed Texas' win and perfectly fit the description of a "close game, but not really a good game." Neither team looked particularly impressive and neither school has much fan representation here in KC. Regardless, the results today led to Texas and our three biggest basketball rivals standing as the four remaining contenders in the tournament, which should make for great entertainment and atmosphere Saturday.
The late session was a lot more electric than the first, as anyone who watched on TV could tell. My hypothesis from yesterday was partially correct--but txtwstr7's comment was spot-on. KU fans do make up a huge part of the contingent in the arena, but K-State fans run a close second and OK State fans have a significant number of folks in the house as well. Kansas State's loss may lead to much more red and blue Saturday, but will almost certainly mean more empty seats.
As for the Sprint Center itself, I must unfortunately report that the place is largely all hat and no cattle. It looks great on the outside and the views of the court are fine from everywhere, but it really seems as though they cut corners when building it last year. The Sprint Center has only two access points which makes entrance to a well-attended event very inefficient. We arrived for the evening session at 5:15 and made it to our seats just in time for the 6 PM tip.
Our seats are in section 215, in the upper level; and despite its 18,500 seats, the arena has only one set of escalators from the ground level. This means that if your seats are on the other end (as ours are), tough cookies. And once you get there, the upper level is exceedingly steep. This means that your knees are in your chest once you sit down.
My brother, who attends KU and has been to several Kansas City events over the past few years, adds that Kemper Arena (the Sprint Center's predecessor) presented none of those problems.
I don't want to sound as if I'm not enjoying the Tournament--quite the contrary is true, in fact. Kansas City is clean, fun, and doing an excellent job of hosting a major event. The downtown area is filled with Big XII hoops fans having a great time in the new Power and Light District. The Sprint Center comments are intended purely as a heads-up to anyone planning to attend this or another event in the arena in the future.
More to come tomorrow after the semifinals.