Welsh-Ryan can be a very tough place to play when students pack in below the baskets. (nusports.com photo)
As we go through the rest of the season, I think one off the floor aspect which could help NU is a full student section. NU’s students have done a really good job of filling the seats beneath the baskets so far this season when in school. I hope that continues.
Thursday, the ‘Cats play a non-conference game against Texas-Pan America at 6:00PM. On the face of it, that day on the schedule looks like Welsh-Ryan Arena could be a dead zone, but I’m hoping that will not be the case. UTPA is the first home game of Winter Quarter and the first home game for students since NU busted into the national media spotlight for its Kevin Coble-less success. Yes, the ‘Cats are somewhat out of the spotlight thanks to the underwhelming game last week vs MSU, but it could also be a very entertaining game as these Wildcats have shown the ability to play a little “showtime” style basketball when facing an undermanned opponent and UTPA, with just one win so far, is pretty undermanned.
In fact, I think this would be a great game for students who don’t always attend home games to attend in order to get a look at the team’s ability. Hopefully, they’ll like what they see and comeback when Purdue, Wisconsin, and the rest of the Big Ten come to town.
With this post I want to specifically encourage the students who attend all the time to try and bring a friend or two out to the game Thursday night. I know it's tough, but see if you can get them hooked on the Wildcats. At least you've got a 10-3 record to help your sales pitch. It’s very clear the ‘Cats seem to feed off the energy of the student section and I bet they’d love to see the place packed not only for the “big guys” but for any contest they play. I also bet the players would appreciate seeing a large crowd after the MSU loss. These guys are Northwestern athletes, they’re smart, and they know the crowds at NU tend to shrink after losses, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s make Thursday an exception the rule.
I also believe a full student section of purple has to be intimidating to those teams that come into Welsh-Ryan. Because it’s different in design than most college arenas Welsh-Ryan has been known as a tough place to shoot. When student fans that are nearly on the court can start screaming at players as they come to the free throw line the place can get even more intimidating.
Finally, I’d like to hear from students about what sort of buzz exists on campus for the ‘Cat hoopsters. Did Saturday have a negative impact? Are people planning on going to upcoming games or watching road contests? Send in your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what’s being said in Sargent and LR2 (and other dorms and classrooms) about the ‘Cats.