Thursday, November 24 2022

Last night John Calipari and Mark Few announced a new home series between Kentucky and Gonzaga. Turns out that might not be the case technically to be a home and a home after all. Jeff Goodman reports that this year’s game, on November 20, will likely take place at Spokane Arena instead of Gonzaga’s McCarthey Athletic Center, aka The Kennel. Spokane Arena’s capacity is 12,210 for basketball games, more than double that of The Kennel, which seats 6,000.

Earlier today, Gary Parrish said he hears the site of the game “technically remains undetermined” and that Few wants Calipari to bring the Cats to the kennel, but Cal is resisting. Parrish, who covered basketball for Memphis, pointed out that the same situation happened when Memphis and Gonzaga played while Calipari was still the Tigers head coach.

Memphis and Gonzaga played four times before Calipari left for Kentucky — twice at Memphis, twice at Spokane. But both games in Spokane were played off-campus at the downtown Spokane Arena, which is not Gonzaga Arena. Obviously, not many people wanted these games at Kennel. Calipari wouldn’t play there, though, and his rationalization against it was hilarious. He more or less argued, backstage, that Memphis shouldn’t have to play on Gonzaga’s campus because Gonzaga didn’t have to play on Memphis’ campus — never mind that Memphis… DIDN’T HAVE TO ARENA ON CAMPUS.

The home arena for the Tigers is FedExForum in downtown Memphis.

The Zags arena is The Kennel on campus.

In a perfect and just world, if Gonzaga were to play in the Memphis arena, Memphis should also be ready to return the favor. But Calipari continued to insist that all games should take place in downtown Memphis and downtown Spokane. Finally, few said… no matter. Thus, the Memphis-Gonzaga series alternated between FedExForum and Spokane Arena because Calipari never took his team to the Kennel. His Tigers went 4-0 against Gonzaga in that streak. These two facts are perhaps, if not probably, related.

Going back to the tape, it’s worth noting that while Mark Few agreed to bring Gonzaga to “Rupp Arena” in 2023, Calipari only referenced “Spokane” when talking about the Cats’ trip to Gonzaga in november.

Is it disappointing that it’s not a real home? For this fan, yes. Seeing the Cats play in a unique venue like The Kennel would be very cool and fun for college basketball. However, the mere fact that both teams are playing is quite exciting for me. Hopefully the extra seats mean more blues get in.

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