Timing is everything, and really, the Wolverines’ couldn’t be better heading into tomorrow’s men’s basketball game at Utah State. That’s because the Aggies find themselves in their own controversy, though nowhere near a Penn State or Syracuse level (a.k.a. DEFCON 0.5).
Sum-up: USU fans chose to take offense last week after two incidents put their in-game behavior in question. Athletic director Scott Barnes and school president Stan Albrecht issued a letter of apology to BYU for Aggie fans’ behavior during the BYU-USU basketball game. Several fans had boasted crude signs referring to BYU forward Brandon Davies’ honor code violation from last season.
The letter was compounded by a USU usher admonishing student fans to stop cursing and pointing. The fans responded, remaining silent during the first three minutes of last week’s game against University of Denver. They basically said, “You don’t want us to cheer our way, we won’t cheer at all?”
Let’s get one thing straight. Utah State has the best fans in the state. They are involved, loud and obnoxious all for their team. Do they sometimes cross the line with the things they say/do? Of course they do. In good conscious, they can’t deny it. That being said, I would rather have an occasionally over-rowdy fan base than one without a beating heart. It makes the program look good and, more importantly, lifts teams beyond their own talent level.
The fact that such a huge home-court advantage could be splintered right when UVU comes to town is a godsend for the Wolverines. Logan is a notoriously difficult place to win, and UVU will need all the help they can get. They are winless on the road, awful from 3-point range and inconsistent overall.
Don’t forget, though, that the Wolverines have a personal vendetta against Utah State this year following the WAC invitation that never came. Certain players have said that the Utah State game was the circled one on their calendars for that reason. Isiah Williams has a penchant for stepping up in big games, and there’s no reason to think he won’t take his play up a notch against the program that prevented more meaningful games for him and the team.
Barnes reportedly said last week that he would meet with student leadership and event staff Tuesdsay to clear the air.
Utah Valley can only hope the fans resist a little longer.