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I'll start with a story, it's 1994, Purdue and the Big Dog, Glenn Robinson are in town, ranked at #7 I believe. I'm standing in the first row of Rec Hall, Purdue is down with a few seconds left and Cuonzo Martin is inbounding the ball with a chance to tie up the game. As the ref hands it to him, I am screaming in his ear so loudly and at such close range, that it would be hard to know if he was more bothered by the potential blown ear drum or the spittle hitting the side of his face. We won, and were on the court within seconds of the missed shot so that I could remind Cuonzo that I was right that he sucked... We finished that year 14-14, and granted the Big 10 was a bit of a novelty at that point, but the place was nuts that night and in some of those waning seasons in Rec Hall, there were many comments about what a tough environment it is.
Now compare that to last night, #17 Michigan State comes to town and it was downright embarrassing. I think there 40 people behind the entire basket IN THE LOWER LEVEL. Great, they put one row of students down there to show up on TV, the place is 80% empty, and the environment when that empty just plain sucks, and it may even further contribute to less people showing up. Further, behind the one basket, it appears to be a good 50 feet till you get to seating.
So on one hand you have this great facility, modern, great lockers, looks like a pro arena almost, great facilities, probably shows well to a recruit not during a game, who's imagining it full and loud. On the other hand, during a game, it's not much better, empty, sparse, no energy, blah....And it's well removed from everything except East Halls.
At Rec Hall, you give up some of the big time facility feel, I'm sure the lockers/training facilities are lacking, etc., but you get a great environment and energy that actually helps us win games and either way, may fill up more due to the environment alone. And if we aren't consistently selling out Rec Hall, how much money are they losing? Maybe you could have a few big games at the BJC each year.
If you were Chambers, which would you prefer?
I think they should at least do 1-2 games a year in rec hall. That alone will draw some extra fans I think because of the nostalgic aspect of it and for the students to be like, "hmm, never saw that before...let's go and see what it's like." Maybe at least that would draw a few more to the games down the road.
Maybe do the games that are played during break in Rec Hall. But that would be it.
Its tough with all the other sports going on to coordinate and setup for everything.
I'd love all games at Rec Hall until we someday build a winning program. I know it will never happen so I'd settle for a few games per year. Make it happen Chambers!!
The BJC has a great atmosphere when it's filled. If the team was good, you would see at least 10,000 people at each game. This all goes back to winning. If the team wins, people will come.
I always had issues with the BJC. I am old enough to remember when it was new, and I always thought it was too big. I get why they did it, because the musical acts that comethough there make it worth it. But just thinking from a strictly hoops standpoint, bigger is not always better.
Being a Philly guy, I see the arenas that are right here at Nova, St. Joes, and the Palestra. seat 6000 tops (Palestra a little bigger), always packed, always loud, and spectators are real close to the action.
So by comparison, what is better...6000 at the Villanova Pavilion, or 8000 at the BJC?
No way this could happen, they spent thousands to convert it to the way it is now, volleyball and wrestling specific.
I remember being a kid and going to games with my dad at Rec Hall and not being able to hear a thing in the Bruce Parkhill days, but I think the energy would be better spent elsewhere than trying to bring something back.
Amen brother! The BJC is to basketball what Three Rivers Stadium was to baseball.
It was obsolete from the beginning. They should have built a basketball facility as MSU.
Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing watching the game last night. I am realistic enough to know we won't be going back to Rec Hall for all of our games. But I would like to see a few games each season held there. It's not like we'd be losing any money, we don't draw 6500 in the BJC anyway.
"A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep"- Glenn Carson
Rec Hall was an infinitely better basketball environment and we had a distinct homecourt advantage. It was hard for the fans to make space on the sidelines for the teams to even inbound the ball. Unfortunately, there is no going back. PSU tore out a lot of seats to make it more friendly for other sports and they would lose ticket sales. I was only there for half a season I think, but man that place was fun. I would say that building was responsible for a few wins a year compared to where we play today.
What gets me mad is the Big Ten in all of this. My memory may be off, but the story I remember is the Big Ten required us to build a new basketball facility for admittance into the conference. Now why are they not requiring the same thing of Rutgers? Or requiring NW to invest some of the TV money into a new building?
The BJC is just a big multi-purpose arena that is just not friendly for small town basketball - especially weeknights. I always thought the seats behind the basket were too far out. I think that is where they made us students go the first year when the place was actually pretty packed every night. The state government should have been willing to chip in money for a basketball only facility the way they did for Pitt and Temple. Here they put all kinds of strings attached - big enough for the WWF and concerts and whatever else it could draw.
the BJC SUCKS as a hoops venue. It's can be good when it's filled, but it's just so big and not at all optimized for basketball. I know when they did the renovations on rec hall, they took out the option of playing NCAA basketball there. That's not to say they couldn't put it back, but I think that would be a tough argument to win when you have 15,000 seat area that is already set up and at your disposal. I'd be all for it, I just don't think it will ever happen.
Our best chance for a good home experience is for the team to start winning and getting 10,000+ in there for games. at least fill the lower bowl. It's amazing that a campus with 40,000 students only draws a few hundred for games against ranked opponents. Chambers is doing a knock out job basically building the program from scratch IMO, but this year really might be a low point for the program. I was a student in the Dunn era when students wore paper bags on their heads, but there were at least students in the seats to wear paper bags and hold signs degrading Dunn. The current student body, outside of the nittany nation diehards, seem to have given up.
This post was edited by spud358 18 months ago
I was at that game too! Front row on the baseline right under the basket!
I love that idea...it would be cool to have 1 or 2 there
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