Christmas at the Teague Center: Making merry at temporary ACU basketball court

·3 min read

It wasn't NCAA Division I basketball as you most often see it on TV, but you had to appreciate the effort.

On Saturday, Abilene Christian welcomed Drexel to its temporary home at the Teague Center. Hopefully, the visiting Dragons passed by or were shown Moody Coliseum, the longtime home of the Wildcats that has been under renovation all year.

For fans, the facility hardly is recognizable, its iconic round shape not nearly as prominent. It was very cool looking when it opened in the late 1960s but recently, naysayers took to comparing it to a mushroom or flying saucer.

Drexel coach Zach Spiker courtside Saturday at the Teague Center, the temporary home of the Abilene Christian University Wildcats.
Drexel coach Zach Spiker courtside Saturday at the Teague Center, the temporary home of the Abilene Christian University Wildcats.

As arenas go in Abilene, it was the best due to fans surrounding the court. And they still will, giving the Wildcats a great home-court advantage.

If you thought Drexel scoffed at the Teague, well, check out their court online. They play at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia. It holds about 2,500 fans and is a traditional court with retractable bleachers on two sides.

Moody will hold close to 4,000 when it reopens.

The Teague actually is an indoor tennis center that can be used for nonsports events and other sports such as basketball, because of its higher ceiling.

A temporary court has been set up, and small scoreboards placed at each end.

It's cozy and not fancy but as Farmer Hoggett remarks with pride in "Babe," "That'll do, pig."

It has been home to two recent NCAA tournament-qualifying teams, both of which have been tough to beat. In fact, the men's team, which went on to beat the University of Texas in the second round in March, went 13-0 there last season.

They were unbeaten at the Teague this year going into Wednesday's game.

On Saturday, the stands at top were outlined in holiday lights, and there was an inflatable Santa at the south end. Holiday music was played — yes, Mariah Carey's overplayed "All I Want for Christmas Is You" was heard ... twice — and a five-member combo of ACU musicians also joined in for "Feliz Navidad" and other favorites.

Kansas vs. anyone?

Duke vs. Carolina?

Kentucky vs. Louisville?

Any Baylor home game?

No. The setting more resembles the functional courts down the street at Hardin-Simmons or across town at McMurry.

Still, ACU has done what it can in the interim. That is, play and win.

ACU vs. Drexel was a game between two teams that were in the 2021 tournament, little engines that could that made it to The Dance. There's charm in that, and why the NCAA Tournament is so popular.

Drexel was more bothered by the Wildcats on the court than playing in a makeshift arena. ACU led almost all the way and avenged a loss to the Dragons in Philly a few years back.

Go see the Wildcats men and women play at the Teague. Everyone has a court-side seat. Then, when the teams return to Moody, celebrate the upgrade with them.

For sure, these teams deserve it.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Christmas at the Teague: Making merry at temporary ACU hoops home

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