Bloggin' With the Flames: No Jetlag, Just Business

Nov. 15, 2012

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VIDEO:  Flames First Practice

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands- The UIC men's basketball team touched down on the island of St. Thomas in preparation for the 2012 US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam late Wednesday afternoon, and after sleeping in Thursday morning, the re-energized Flames quickly turned their attention to Friday's opening game against New Mexico.

The trip to the Virgin Islands was long, but fairly seamless. UIC departed the Flames Athletic Center at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, and its flight to Charlotte, N.C., from Chicago O'Hare departed at about 7:40 a.m. CST. After a one-hour layover in Charlotte, the Flames boarded the plane for a three-hour flight to St. Thomas. Also accompanying the Flames on the flight was George Mason, who could be UIC's second round opponent in the tournament.

Upon touching down at the airport at 4:15 p.m. (Atlantic Daylight Time, which is two hours ahead of Central Daylight Time), UIC departed for the team hotel, complete with transportation that only Island natives can be familiar with. During the duration of the Paradise Jam, each team in the tournament field will be escorted to and from the University of the Virgin Islands in an open air van that fits about 16 people. While it's a far cry from the team buses that most college basketball teams are used to, it's a fitting touch for the tournament, and certainly a scenic ride.

To accommodate UIC's team party of 25 people, two vehicles are needed. It may not be as bad as the Dan Ryan or the Kennedy, traffic in St. Thomas is no joke - the trip to and from the playing facility takes about 25 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

After a mid-morning wake-up call, the Flames ate a late breakfast on Thursday, and departed for practice at 12:45 p.m. - UIC worked out from 1:30-3:30 p.m., and then returned to the hotel for a late lunch. After a study table session (which they also held upon arriving at the hotel Wednesday), UIC took part in the welcome gathering put on by the good folks running the Paradise Jam.

UIC will scout New Mexico tonight, followed by a late dinner. The Flames will leave the hotel at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, in preparation for the 5 p.m. (local time) tip against the Lobos. Stay tuned to for more trip updates, including a team snorkeling session on either Saturday or Sunday. We'll be sure to capture some photos and video footage from that event.

Go Flames!