Last night, the daytime temperature in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina was 69 degrees, followed by a nighttime low of 34 degrees. If we understand condensation correctly, water droplets form on hard surfaces when the temperature of the surface drops below the dew point of the air which is in contact with the surface. The dew point for last night was, according to Weather Underground, 34 degrees. Seems a little strange that the hardwood floor would have dropped to the temperature of the nighttime low in the early evening, but it also seems like an outdoor game in those conditions is a perilous risk, beyond the annoyance of asking teams to play in cold weather. Lo and behold, it did not turn out well.
The hardwood floor—on an aircraft carrier outdoors, because it was military appreciation night, a tradition (dating back to last year) related to Veterans Day—got so wet and slippery that, as you can see, you could skid a solid eight feet on the frictionless surface. One fast break and someone could have slid right off the carrier.
In Jacksonville, Florida-Georgetown was stopped at halftime because of condensation (Florida was up 27-23), and in Mount Pleasant, Ohio State vs. Marquette was cancelled altogether. From the AP:
Ohio State guard Aaron Craft said he knew things would be tricky when he saw a couple of Marquette's players ''slide from half-court to the 3-point line.''
Referee John Cahill talked with both coaches and athletic directors about conditions. All agreed to give the court more time to dry in the cooling atmosphere. After about a half-hour delay, Cahill restarted pregame warmups as volunteers and workers did what they could to soak up the moisture. Nothing worked and the game was called off.
Odd weather patterns aside, some felt the NCAA probably could have called this one:
''It was certainly disappointing,'' said Gregory Hoffman, a 1971 Ohio State graduate who lives in Mount Pleasant. ''You don't want athletes to hurt themselves. It's Charleston and there's condensation at night.''
Sadly, no alternative exists for basketball, an outdoor game that has been plagued by weather interruptions throughout its frustrating, pointless history. May as well pack it in, boys. Winter's coming.