The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 6, 2013

Mike Pound: MIAA tournament draws basketball lovers back

It occurred to me Wednesday, after reading the Globe story on the MIAA Basketball Tournament in Kansas City, that I have attended every tournament since it moved to Kansas City in 2003.

Part of that is because my wife’s work requires her to attend the tournament; part of that is because I love to watch college basketball.

Our now 15-year-old daughter, Emma, was 5 when we went to that first tournament. I remember that she thought the downtown Marriot Hotel where were stayed was a castle. While my wife attended to work-related issues, Emma and I walked up and down the long winding staircase at the far end of the hotel lobby.

I also remember that my brother-in-law Tim (who like his wife, Chris — my younger sister — graduated from Emporia State University) spent most of the four days of the tournament watching basketball pretty much non-stop.

In the first few years of the tournament it was easy to get away for a few days during the week and take in the entire tournament. But as our kids got older and school commitments increased, we started scaling back our basketball watching. Some years, depending on what other conflicts popped up, we might miss the first day of the tournament. Other years we might miss the second day, but we never missed an entire tournament.

Two years in a row Emma was in a major dance competition at the same time as the tournament. Fortunately, the dance competition was held at the same location as the basketball tournament. If you’re not familiar with Memorial Auditorium, I should point out that one side of the building is set up for athletics and the other side is designed for the arts.

So I would watch a bit of basketball for a while and then move over to the other side of the building and watch dance for a while.

Globe sports editor Jim Henry did a good job detailing the history of Memorial Auditorium. He pointed out, for example, that the auditorium has been host to more NCAA Division I Championships than any other arena in the country. And with its art deco style of architecture and its old-school feel, it’s easy to conjure up all the basketball history that was created on the courts there.

When I was much younger and working in Kansas City I spent some time in a bar across the street from the auditorium called — appropriately enough — The Auditorium Bar. That bar is gone now, replaced by a parking garage, but the auditorium is going strong.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of great basketball played at Memorial Auditorium. I remember one year when Robert Corn’s men’s team was trailing Pittsburg State University by at least 20 points at halftime. The score was so lopsided, in fact, that the coach for the team already set to play in the semifinals told the media that he was looking forward to playing Pitt State the next night.

The coach didn’t get his wish because MSSU roared back in the second half and defeated PSU, and then went on to win that semifinal match only to fall short in the championship game on Sunday.

This year, with an expanded and stronger MIAA, it’s tougher to get into the tournament. On Tuesday night, Maryann Mitts’ women’s team mounted a furious comeback only to fall short against Northwest Missouri and was eliminated from the tournament before it moved on to Kansas City. On Monday night, Coach Corn’s team toughed out a two-point victory at Emporia State to make the tournament as the No. 8 seed.

The Lions play at noon today in Kansas City and I won’t be able to make the game. My wife will be there but I won’t. I have a great deal of confidence in Robert’s team so I’m certain that they will win today and I will be able to see them play Saturday. But if for some reason the Lions don’t win and I miss the tournament for the first time in 10 years, I will be OK.

Because like the MSSU men’s and women’s teams: I will be back.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter