The Quest — all basketball and no Billiken
, 2023-01-29 04:57:06,
“On the way there, we stopped at the University of Richmond and VMI and the University of Virginia,” he said. “We saw games at each place. Doing that, it really kindled my love for college basketball as a whole.”
The Sugarcreek Township couple — now husband and wife — have made quite a few road trips like that in the 11 years since.
And Craig is now on the verge of completing an unparalleled basketball odyssey.
After two final trips over the next three weeks — to Abilene Christian in Texas on Feb. 11 and American University in Washington D.C. seven days later — he will have seen, in person, all 363 teams playing NCAA Division I college basketball this season.
Jaclyn has been with him for most of “The Quest” as her 32-year-old husband called it.
It began in 2008 when — as a BGSU freshman out of Dayton Christian High School — he went to his first Falcons’ game at Anderson Arena and ended up sitting courtside, center court.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was the coolest thing ever,” he said. “I called it my Spike Lee moment. I ended up sitting courtside most of that season and I credit that as initially opening my love of college basketball.”
To date — counting Saturday night at the Nutter Center, where he and Jaclyn, who have Wright State season tickets, watched the Raiders play Green Bay — he’s seen 532 games.
“I love Division I basketball and the huge, shambling, mismatched, glorious, lovable mess that it is,” he said. “The NCAA Transformation Committee recently described D-I as a ‘Big Tent’ and I think that’s a really accurate description of it.
“It has so much variance among its members. You’ve got Texas A&M, Ohio State and UCF at 65,000 to 70,000 students all the way down to Presbyterian College with an enrollment of under 1,000.
“But if any of those teams wins the right number of games in March, they can be the Division I champion. It’s not like college football. Basketball doesn’t matter how someone votes in a poll. It’s about the product on the court.”
And he’s seen to a lot of those courts.
At last count, he’s been to 129 different college gyms and arenas.
With a smile, he added: “As the Grateful Dead said ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been.’”
And that brought to mind the time he and Jaclyn went to Niagara Falls to see Saint Peter’s play Niagara.
“We were still in college and left Bowling Green at like 1 p.m. for a 9 p.m. tip,” he remembered. “It’s maybe a five-hour…
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