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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko (https://twitter.com/kj_franko) or email kfranko@trentonian.com.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Red Fox Nation

Rider plays Marist tomorrow night at the McCann Center, with first place in the MAAC on the line. It'll be a major test for the Broncs -- one that begins a four-game stretch that will determine whether they're the team to beat in the MAAC or simply a team that fattened up on a relatively easy portion of its schedule. 
Following tomorrow's game, the Broncs, in succession, play at Siena and at home against Niagara and Siena. Realistically, 4-0 is probably too much to ask. That isn't to say it's impossible, but winning four straight against the best teams in your league, including two on the road, is hard,  no matter how good you are. 
With that said, I think if the Broncs go 3-1 -- which could very well leave them alone in first place -- they have to be thrilled with where they stand. And I think that's possible. I'm excited to see how they look against the Red Foxes, to whom they lost in excruciating fashion on Jan. 4 at Alumni Gym. 
But I'd be excited to go to the McCann Center even if both teams were mediocre and the game was relatively meaningless. 
Why?
Because I think it has hands-down the best atmosphere of any gym in the league. 
With all due respect to the Zoo Crew at Rider, or the Reitz Rowdies at Loyola, for my two cents, Marist has the most supportive fans in the league with room to spare. 
I measure that by answering two questions: 1) How good is the home court advantage? and 2) how well do the fans travel?  
And I think in both areas, Marist's fans -- particularly the students, which make the biggest difference -- are the best in the league. 
The McCann Center is packed almost every night and the building, though old and fairly uncomfortable, is the perfect size for MAAC basketball. The Red Foxes also have another ingredient that's critical when assessing atmosphere: a really good pep band. 
And in four and a half years covering the MAAC, I've never seen a display of fans at a visiting arena (although in this case it was a neutral site) than the showing Red Fox Nation had at the MAAC tournament last year in Bridgeport. 
Had the Red Foxes played Fairfield in the final -- a round neither team reached -- I'm not sure the Stags would have had a major advantage in crowd noise despite playing on their home court. 
I'm curious what you guys think about two things: 1) How do you expect Rider to do in the upcoming four games and 2) which team or teams do you think have the best home court advantage in the MAAC? 

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rider will be hard pressed to go 1-3. Marist and Niagara have already beaten Rider and Siena is flat out better than Rider. As for home court advantage , its Marist and its not even close

January 30, 2008 at 6:14 AM 
Anonymous Scott Apuzzo said...

That very MAAC tournament last year that Mr. Doody is talking about I referred to the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport as McCann Center South(something out of the book that Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati is called Heinz Field West because Steelers fans travel so well). The whole arena was packed with Marist fans probably due in part to them being high favorites to win the tournament even though they didn't. You would have thought it was a Marist home game if you had no idea where Marist or Fairfield were located. Marist really does have a strong fan base and do travel well. The same cannot be said for Fairfield fans as they watch games like they are watching the Lakers.

As a Fairfield Alum and a part-time employee of Fairfield Athletics I obviously hold some bias and very optimistic views on the basketball team. However I truly believe games at Alumni Hall on the campus of Fairfield have the best atomosphere out of any gym in the league. The only other gym in the MAAC I have been to besides Fairfields arenas is the McCann Center which did have a very good atomosphere as Mr. Doody said(Terrance Todd walkoff running floater). But Alumni Hall has been one of the loudest gyms/arenas I have ever been in. It is so small and compacted that the level of noise is remarkable and the energy by the students and fans is off the charts. Even though I am killing the Fairfield fans above for games at the arena, it is totally different when you walk into a game at Alumni Hall on campus.

In all honesty I know not too much about Rider except the Thompson kids are pretty good, so good one of them is being scouted by NBA teams, but I'll take a shot at what might happen in the next four games. The only two games Rider lost in conference this year are to Marist and Niagara. I predict they will lose tonight at Marist, win at home vs. Niagara, and split with Siena(losing first game, winning second). If they make it out of these four games with 3 wins that will put them in the drivers seat to win the regular season.

Try to do better the next time. Goodnight Fairfield.

January 30, 2008 at 9:39 AM 

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