Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vikings return home: Will the Stott be stuffed?

Thursday night not only marks the end of a pretty dang good college football season with the BCS Championship in Miami, but also will be the night in which the Vikings make their triumphant return to the Stott Center.

Since Thanksgiving the men have played three games at home: Seattle, Lewis and Clark and Montana. The Seattle and Lewis and Clark games were under-attended and the squad didn't seem too focused despite posting victories over the Pioneers and the Redbirds.

The 72-45 victory over Montana on Dec. 20 was a terrific win for the club to open the conference season, but because it came in the middle of one of the worst snow storms in the history of the Rose City, was only attended by 415.

I am interested in seeing if fans respond to this team in an appropriate fashion this weekend. Weber State and Idaho State are two of the top four teams in the conference and I think that they, along with the Vikings and Northern Colorado, will be the four teams in the Big Sky Tournament.

Fans also will have an opportunity to watch the ever-improving Vikings following a long and exhaustive road trip. By my count the team has traveled over 14,000 miles since Thanksgiving, putting your holiday trip to the parents that you complained about in perspective.

And let's remember that this team isn't traveling in one of these:

The team and small traveling party don't roll around in a custom jet. When they fly, they fly coach. The buses are not built for people of basketball height. Trust me, I am 6'5 and I don't fit on them well. When the team stays in a hotel, they usually don't stay in a Marriott but a Holiday Inn.

Hopefully fans can get a sense of the things that the squad has already overcome. By all accounts they really had every reason to lose against Northern Arizona on Sunday but overcame the odds and eventually took the Lumberjacks down.

I think head coach Ken Bone and the rest of the team are hoping that the squad gets a boost from the hometown crowd as they continue on into Big Sky play.