<strong>LOGAN—</strong>The USU men’s basketball team is off to the third best start in school history at 13-1 and 4-0 in conference play. Currently, the Aggies are picked by a majority of prognosticators to represent their conference in the NCAA tournament, and Utah State even picked up a vote in the most recent Coaches Poll.
Despite the fact that the wins are piling up, the fans have been slow to file into the Spectrum. A full house has been somewhat hindered by a multitude of games that were played while the majority of students were away on winter break. A lack of quality opponents and recent frigid weather may have also played a role in the weak attendance numbers.
However, USU and the Spectrum may have got just what was needed this past Saturday – a shot of adrenalin. Medlinsanity – aka Preston Medlin – propelled the Aggies into overtime with a game-tying 3-pointer against Idaho, sending the Spectrum into its loudest frenzy of the season. The shot (and ensuing Aggie win) seems to have returned some of the Spectrum magic that appeared to have been lost during the past year.
The exciting win also comes on the heels of Utah State’s winter break. The student section was the fullest it had been since the Dec. 8 game against Western Oregon, and with a new crop of students coming in and football season officially over, basketball will be in the spotlight. The excitement that Medlin’s shot generated should stick with the program this week and help draw a bigger – and this part is important – more rowdy crowd for this Friday’s game against San Jose State.
After a very long stretch of dominance, including a four-year period where players like Tai Wesley, Tyler Newbold, and Pooh Williams only lost one home game, the USU men’s basketball team had its worst season of the past decade last year. The departure of those core players, a down season, the loss of key members of the student section such as Wild Bill, and other factors have all contributed to a deflation of a venue that has <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUqrXRFrF64&list=FLoGRsIDu48UxOuDIOrFGlDQ” target=”_blank”>been considered</a> one of the top college basketball venues in the entire country.
For those that doubt that claim, the Spectrum at full force is no joke. As a grad student at Syracuse, I was part of one of the largest crowds in NCAA history as more than <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP0A3sRqtg8″ target=”_blank”>30,000</a> people packed into the Carrier Dome to watch the Orange take on Georgetown. As great as that experience was, and as loud as it got, that environment did not hold a candle to <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfQn-AaUT4I&list=FLoGRsIDu48UxOuDIOrFGlDQ&feature=mh_lolz” target=”_blank”>Spectrum magic</a>.
The Aggies will most definitely need that magic to return as they transition to the Mountain West Conference next season – one of the <a href=”http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/8822107/examining-college-basketball-first-half-winners-losers-college-basketball” target=”_blank”>top leagues</a> in all of college basketball right now. However, USU, a team that has dominated the Western Athletic Conference since joining eight years ago, has one more title to chase in the WAC.
With 15 regular season games remaining – including eight at home – Medlin’s shot may be just the medicine needed to cure what has ailed the Spectrum for the past year and a half.