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.