It's Tourney Time!

It's tourney time, but surprisingly enough, I'm leaving Tournament Town.

Yes, Tournament Town, AKA my current home of Greensboro, NC. It's a fitting moniker with which the city affixed itself because of its regular hosting of tournaments, most notably college basketball. If I recall correctly, it began in 2006 where in three consecutive weekends, the Greensboro Coliseum played host to the ACC women's tournament, the ACC men's tournament, and the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. But this time, I'm actually headed up to the mountains for the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville.

I'll admit, sometime early this basketball season, I all but laughed when I was at a UNCG game and I was next to a table handing out literature for the SoCon tourney in Asheville. Times were different then. UNCG was a conference cellar dweller coming off of three consecutive single digit win seasons. The conference tournament wasn't a time to celebrate, unless the celebration was that another season was poised to be mercifully curtailed. Things have since changed, and UNCG is entering the conference tournament as the 1 seed in the North with a first round bye.

At some point, a trip to Asheville started to seem plausible, even a good idea. A few things started to make it a little more concrete. The Spartans were winning. It seemed my wife and daughter were going to be out of town that weekend. My buddy Brian had moved east and would also be within reachable distance of the tournament. So now, while the Spartans ended their season dropping three straight, my wife and daughter made their trip last weekend, and Brian's unavailable this weekend, I'm still committed to heading up to Asheville for SoCon.

It's been some time since I've been at a smaller conference tournament. I've attended ACC men's and women's the past couple of years but it's been since 2003 that I've been at a smaller conference tournament, and that was the Northeast Conference women (our men didn't make it that year) from behind the drumset as a member of the Down and Dirty Dawg Band at UMBC. Now that I'm making the trip, I'm doing it just as much (if not more) for the bands than for the basketball. I'm only going up for Saturday's quarterfinal matchups, but I'll take in both sessions, catching four games and hopefully eight pep bands. Keep an eye on Twitter (@80mins) for the updates on how the SoCon gets down!