Basketball Season Gives Students a Timeout From School

With football season gone, crazed sports fans need something to meet their fancy for the spring. In comes basketball season. With ferocious slam dunks, buzzer-beating 3-pointers, and fast-paced action for 40 minutes, the hoops season has something for everybody — until we can watch Rusty Smith and the rest of the football team score more touchdowns next season.

With the spring semester in full swing with lectures, 10 page essays and three hour labs, students need something to help them get away from all the pressures of the college grind. One way students get through these tough times is by heading down to the FAU Arena to check out the men’s and women’s basketball teams’ home games. Whether it is the intense, fast-paced action of the games, the love of the game or even just school spirit, everyone has a reason to go check out the guys and girls hoop it up.

“The primary reason I go to the games is to support my school,” says commercial music sophomore Wayne Barnes. “It doesn’t matter whether it is a men’s or women’s game.”

Other students have different reasons for heading to the arena.

“I would rather watch the guys play, because they are more athletic and they can dunk,” admits communications senior Ivan Berliant. “Women’s games are not as exciting to me.”

Despite both teams having near identical records, the men get still get more support. The men’s team is 4-13 with no wins in the Sun Belt Conference, and the women’s team carries a 5-11 record with a 2-4 record in the Sun Belt.

In five home games this season, the men’s team has had an average attendance of 1,041 fans per game. Compare that to the women, who in seven home games have had an average attendance of 371 people per game. Neither squad has sold out a home game this season in the 5,000-plus seats of the FAU Arena.

The days of the games also have an impact on attendance. Games played during the week draw more fans than games during the weekend.

For the women’s “Bury the Burrow in Red” home game against rival school Florida International University on Jan. 14, the listed attendance was 417 fans, one of the largest home crowds of the season for the women’s basketball team.

The crowd was as loud and rowdy as it has been all season. Fans gave the Lady Owls a true home-court advantage by cheering on the team the whole night and taunting the Golden Panthers players’ with chants of “You Suck!” when they had possession of the ball.

The fans came out to support the team by sporting red shirts to help the Lady Owls bury the Golden Panthers. The end result was a 94-82 victory over FIU. Out of the 24 total games the two schools have played against each other, this was only FAU’s third victory against FIU in women’s basketball.

Even the players noticed the lively crowd during the game.

“The fans were great,” says guard Brittany Bowe. “It helped us tremendously.”

For last Sunday’s home loss to Western Kentucky, however, the posted attendance was only listed at 273 fans. During the game, the crowd in the FAU Arena was quiet enough to hear what plays the coaches were shouting to the players from the sidelines. The end result was a heartbreaking 79-77 loss at the buzzer from a 40-foot rainbow shot from WKU guard Amy McNear.

For last Saturday’s men’s home game against Western Kentucky, the listed attendance was 1,165 people, well above their season average of 1,041 people. Despite the above-average crowd, the Owls were handled by a score of 78-55, giving the FAU fans nothing to root for.

“Even though our teams don’t have great records, I am still going to support them,” says business freshman Stephen Morgan. “Especially when we play games against FIU.”

Both men’s and women’s games are free for all students as long as they show their Owl card at the door.

“I would rather check out a basketball game for free than spend $30 bucks just to go a club,” says business freshman Jon McFarland.

The men’s team has played games against Miami, Arizona, and Davidson, who all participated in the NCAA tournament last season. The women’s schedule is just as challenging — they have already gone head-to-head against top programs like Texas and Baylor, both of which are ranked among the Top 25 women’s teams in the country.

Regardless of your reason for going to the games, supporting your sports teams is a great way to get away from the hassles of your classes.