The cave, Vandy-style

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The first time I covered The Masters, I was stunned at how different it looked in person than it does on television. You have no idea how beautiful the azaleas are or how drastic the elevation changes are no matter how many times you have seen it on television.

Now nobody is ever going to confuse Memorial Gym in Nashville with Augusta National but it was a similar experience today when I walked into the gym for the first time.

It is amazing that someone who considers himself an SEC expert and has been just about everywhere in the South had not been to this arena. It just never worked out and every time I was here for another sporting event I couldn’t find an open door.

I thought there would be no surprises here because I had seen so many games that were played here on TV. Wrong, pizza-breath (that’s the meal in the press room.)

The place is enormous. It looks like two gyms. It’s weird with its triple-decks on both sides. I can see how players could struggle shooting here. It’s almost like you’re playing in the Georgia Dome without all of the seats.

But it’s also very cool. I can see why this is the favorite gym of some of my colleagues. There is nothing like it and that’s good for college basketball. There are too many arenas that look alike.

Nothing looks like this.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Rotiers is one of those “best-kept secrets” in Nashville. I’ve been here 20+ years and have enjoyed it many times. Great home cooking in an unpretentious atmosphere…..non better in these parts.

  2. Pat…two things….I can’t believe in all of the years you have covered the Gators that this is the first time you’ve ever been to that Gym.

    Secondly, I agree completely with you. TV will never be able to show just how weird that place is. I was at the SEC tournament with the basketball band one year, and got to go there. The only thing that was more odd to me than the benches behind the endlines and the first row below the floor, was the triple deck behind the home team basket. It’s like Tennessee and LSU’s football stadiums that look like they just go straight up.

  3. It’s also weird how the benches are on opposite ends of the court “behind” the baskets!
    Syracuse’s Carrier Dome seems like it too has an enormous back-drop which could be challenging for shooters.
    ————
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao

  4. And IT’S the arena…for the 2nd time (?)..THE FLA GATORS won THE SEC
    OUTRIGHT, and I’m begining to like Memorial Gym…
    Way to go GATORS!!! ‘THE RINGS’ ARE YOURS, AND YOURS ALONE!!!
    I wish FLA BASKETBALL the VERY BEST, but for me, I AM SATISFIED WITH ANOTHER SEC CHAMPIONSHIP BANNER…anything else is BONUS BEATS!
    Some ‘fans’ may say this team needs to make it to the ‘SWEET 16’ in order for it to be a successful season…I say, ‘IT’S GREAT TO BE A FLORDIA GATOR!”. Now, if Billy isn’t THE SEC’s COACH OF THE YEAR…Well, that would be a travesty!

  5. I have only been to one game there, I was shocked as well at how it looked once you’re inside. It doesn’t look like it seats very many people, but on TV it appears huge. It’s very neat the way they have 3 levels that pretty much go straight up. The seats start far from the court, but it’s built to keep most of the seats close from that point on.
    Of course when I went, we lost. Maybe I won’t make a return trip to that gym! lol

  6. I still do not understand why they place the team’s benches in the “end zone”. It looks like there is plenty of room on the far side of the court to accommodate the teams (and the cheerleaders and the band!). ‘Course I liked it when Stalling walked out on the floor into the middle of the action but it just seems odd.