#SpiderMarch Day 2: Spiders prepare to take on the Hawkeyes

March 17, 2022


golden and gilyard press conference

The Spiders are ready for game day Thursday against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

After a round of media interviews, the team got the chance to practice in the KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo Wednesday. The mood was equal parts loose and focused, as the Spiders took advantage of 45 minutes on the court becoming familiar with the arena with a focus on depth perception — a key to shooting the ball well in a new place, especially one this large.



The session began with unstructured shooting: players moved back and forth from one end of the court to the other as basketballs flew everywhere. Then came purposeful lines for passing drills, classic layups, and at times — dunks. Players cheered one another and exchanged high fives. Surely the butterflies were there, but it didn’t show. There seemed to be comfort in being back in the gym, back to basketball.



The massive scoreboard above intermittently flashed images of March Madness and Richmond Spiders logos. Around the perimeter of the court — and throughout the concrete tunnels TV doesn’t show — the other teams also gathered, including the Hawkeyes. It was a chance for a first look at one another.

The open practice provided a warm-up opportunity for the pep band, too. Their energetic, familiar cover tunes filled the arena and provided a rhythm for the shoot-around session. For 43 minutes, one couldn’t help but wonder: “Would they play it?” And then, just as the Spiders concluded their turn on the court and just before the buzzer signaled it was Providence’s time, the Spider fight song rang out, not in the familiar confines of the Robins Center, but here in Buffalo’s KeyBank Center, here at March Madness. And it sounded so sweet. 



These open practices allow fans a sneak preview of their team. A Spider alum named Kevin, a 2003 grad from Buffalo, took advantage of that opportunity. He has six friends coming up from Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland to join him for Thursday’s game. When asked for his thoughts on the Spiders Atlantic 10 Tournament run that got them to Buffalo, he replied simply: “Pumped … I couldn’t believe it.”

As the casual, for-the-cameras practice concluded, the team took things up a notch, heading to a local college gym for a real-deal, closed practice to get ready for the Hawkeyes. It’s business time now. 

A couple of hours later, they returned to the hotel. As the sun sets and the team settles in, the focus is quite clear. Thursday is game day.

tag on doorpractice huddle