The CU Buffs men's basketball team beat a ranked opponent for the first time since - well, I don't know, since I am not a sportswriter. That is also why I have no idea what the final score was - too busy cheering on the team. CU is not my alma mater, but in a university town, you root for the home team.
CU basketball is one of the great bargains in Boulder. General Admission seats are $10 for conference play and $5 for non-conference, with plenty of deals for kids and seniors. The arena is never close to sold-out, so you can easily shimmy from the cheap bleachers to more comfortable seats.
And that is the problem - CU plays in the most challenging league in the NCAA (not my assessment - must have read it on Yahoo! Sports) - and there are plenty of open seats. I am pretty sure Texas, Kansas, Baylor and the other teams in the Big 12 play to sold-out stadiums. I know that I read somewhere (Daily Camera?) that CU has had the lowest average attendance in the league for several years. Tonight was the first home conference game (actually, I am not completely sure about this), and we were playing a ranked opponent (this part is definitely correct). Where was everyone?
The student section was fairly crowded, and the student fans created plenty of excitement in the second-half... but they were pretty subdued in the first half. However, once they got going the student section got the rest of us involved... but between exciting plays the crowd was pretty low key. Muted attempts to urge the team to play "defense" and a few tepid rounds of C-O-L-O-R-A-D-O. There was more consistent cheering for the dogs catching the Frisbees at half-time. The crowd finally became engaged in the final few minutes when it was clear that the Buffs could win - which is how we should have felt the entire game.
CU has exciting young players, and my accompanying teenage girls were pretty impressed with Alec Burks and the rest of the young players who nervously and charmingly laughed at themselves when they froze at the free-throw line during the final minutes. This win could be the start of a big season. What the Buffs need, in addition to a dominant center, is a crowd that is excited with them for the entire 40 minutes.
Boulderites, check out the Buff's Men's and Women's schedules and commit to one game this season. Then stand up and shout: Go CU!
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