I made my first road trip to a Missouri basketball game this weekend. The team unfortunately lost to Mike Anderson’s Arkansas team. It’s safe to say their “W” was on the backs of an officiating crew with a desire to see the home team win but I’ll address that later on.
Despite the outcome of the game the trip was a lot of fun. We left Columbia, Mo. Friday afternoon just before 6 p.m. and arrived at our Super 8 in Fayetteville, Ark. at 11 p.m. The drive wasn’t bad at all, it’s one I definitely recommend to others wishing to see Mizzou in action on the road.
Traveling south of the state line was a bit of culture shock even though Fayetteville is only an hour from the great state of Missouri. For the first time in my life I was called a Yankee. I actually had to stop and make a mental note of what had happened since I have never considered myself a “Yankee.” I don’t say culture shock in a bad way at all though. I feel Arkansas students really play up the ‘southern’ aspect of their school despite its immense similarities to a town like Columbia. Not sure why it is but there is definitely a noticeable difference between Columbia and other SEC towns.
Outside of our newfound distaste for Razorbacks the trip was a great success though. Just be warned on your next trip to Hog country that their Wop Pig Sooie chant is one of the stranger things you’ll ever see. Having never heard it before, my friends and I were confused when a high-pitched whine consumed the arena for the first time.
The game itself was a back and forth struggle that kept the attention of both team’s fans. With Missouri building a four point lead in the last two minutes of the second half, the phantom calls I spoke of earlier started pouring in. A travel was called on Missouri sixth-man Earnest Ross as he rebounded a missed free throw while being pushed and shoved by two Arkansas players. Moments later Arkansas guard BJ Young got away with a blatant travel that video will show he took around four steps after picking up the ball. Not only did he get away with a travel but he was “fouled” by a Missouri player on the drive. Other amazing calls made included a second “foul” on another BJ Young drive as well as a botched out-of-bounds call in which the refs called a jump ball because they couldn’t decide who had last touched the ball.
All of these calls got Bud Walton Arena up and going–something the home team had been unable to do in the waning moments of the half. I will say, however, that their fans weren’t overly obnoxious like my friends and I had expected. Everyone during our trip was very welcoming and helpful to any questions we had (I guess it was just a little taste of that SEC southern hospitality thing we keep hearing about). The only fans we had issues with were ones in the student section, but that’s to be expected.
I hope to make the trek to Fayetteville an annual event. It hurts to lose the way we did but road trips to see your team play are always fun. Next up for the Tigers is a huge home game against Florida on Tuesday night so I better see you all there!