Viewpoint: Keep up the home crowd advantage, hoops fans

By Tyler Alley
Sports Editor

Well done, Baylor Nation.

Despite the loss by men’s basketball to Kansas last week, the Ferrell Center sold out last Saturday for the game against now No. 2 Missouri. It’s clear fans were excited to see some awesome college basketball featuring two Top 5 teams and were eager to support the Bears.

Then after the loss to Missouri, the game this Saturday against Texas is also an advance sellout, the second consecutive in program history. Thank God fans have some perspective on the season and did not abandon ship after an undefeated team suffered two straight losses.

Baylor losing on the road to a Kansas team that rarely loses there and then losing at home by one point to a very good Missouri team is not a sign of the apocalypse. It’s not a warning to push the panic button. It certainly does not point to the end of what is being referred to as “The Golden Age of Baylor Athletics.”

It’s the Big 12. Despite all the talk in national media (cough, ESPN) that the Big 12 was falling apart this summer, it still is one of the strongest conferences in the nation in every official sport. In some sports, the argument can be made it is the strongest.

Every Big 12 coach will tell you that they expect every conference game to be a struggle. The Bears getting a win in Norman Tuesday shows that this team is able to bounce back from tough losses.

To see how hard road wins are in the Big 12, look at Missouri, who lost Wednesday night at Oklahoma State, a team Baylor beat in the Ferrell Center by 41 points.

Let’s not forget: Two losses in a row can be a downer, but an overall record of 17-2 is great. There are plenty of teams in the country who would love to show off that record.

This team has plenty of potential left for this season, and there is one big way we can help: keep the sellouts coming. I don’t just mean for the men’s team either. All three of the sellouts in the Ferrell Center’s history have come this year, the first being the Lady Bears’ win over Connecticut.

No. 1 Baylor women’s basketball is undefeated, and the men gave us 17 straight wins. Fans, it’s time we give back. How many games in a row can Baylor nation sell out the Ferrell Center? The streak is currently at two for the men’s home games.

Johnnie Hatfield, a Baylor alumnus, sent a plea for Baylor nation to the Lariat last week and had this to say:

“Our men’s team suffered its first loss last night to Kansas in a sold out arena that holds 6000 people more than the Ferrell Center. We have a No. 1 undefeated women’s team and until last night an undefeated men’s team. We need to have our arena sold out every single game.”

She is right. Also, look what happened when Baylor football asked the fans to rise up. We were able to witness a 10-3 season with dramatic victories over TCU and Oklahoma, our first bowl win in almost 20 years and a Heisman Trophy. The big downside to our season? Baylor is sending its high-profile quarterback to the NFL Draft where he most likely will be a top five pick.

If that’s what football could do, imagine what the basketball teams are capable of with a non-terrible postseason system. So keep rising up, Baylor Nation. I think these teams are just getting started.

Tyler Alley is a senior journalism major from Humble and is the Lariat’s sports editor.

Thanks to Ms. Hatfield for her letter to the Baylor Lariat. If you have an opinion and would like to be featured in the Lariat, send your letter to Letters should be no longer than 300 words, although longer pieces might be considered for guest columns.