I went to the State basketball game last night and watched from our seats (my wife and I have season's tickets) three rows back in the upper level of the RBC Center. The seats aren't bad. But as I watched State and Marquette, I kept wishing the game were being played in Reynolds Coliseum. A cold night, a good opponent, a visit from DT and the rest of the '74 champs -- it had all the elements for a Reynolds classic. Instead the announced crowd of 16,819 (it didn't seem that big to me) didn't make much noise until the end.
State lost some home-court advantage when it moved into the RBC Center, just as Carolina did when it moved into the Dean Dome. Play that game last night in Reynolds and State wins. OK, I can't prove it but I'll say Reynolds was worth four points a game more than the RBC Center. Reynolds had some quirks -- the heat, the proximity of the students, the noise, the dim lights -- that worked to State's advantage because State's players were used to them. There was a real home-court advantage that isn't as much in a sterile place like the RBC Center.
I'm glad State plays a few men's games a year in Reynolds. Check out the picture of Dennis Horner from Dec. 13 for a good look at the old place. But I wish State would play a strong team -- like Marquette -- in Reynolds. It wouldn't make any sense from a business point of view to
sell several thousand fewer tickets. But it would be great fun for those of us who get sentimental about the place. If you are one of those people, read this piece I wrote in 1999 for The Charlotte Observer, when State was finishing up its last season in the House That Case Built.
-- John Drescher