to Hell': Spectrum is a fiery pit for visitors
By Connor Jones
January 22, 2009 | Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Utah State Aggies call it home, every other
college basketball team. . . well let's just say
they aren't so lucky.
"The Refraction," "Section F," "The Hurd," the
"United Aggie Student Section," whatever it's
called, one thing is certain -- no visiting team
looks forward to the opponent they have to face
inside the Spectrum. Thousands of fans, yelling,
chanting and pointing in unison . . . oh, and
the basketball team isn't bad either.
After the visiting team gets introduced inside
the Spectrum, just as the music quiets for the
introduction of the Aggies the fans yell their
greeting to the opponents: "Welcome to hell."
WHAT THE VISITORS SEE:
A chaos of waving arms, accompanied by chants
and screams. What a party pit! / Photo by
Hell has been described in a variety of ways, none
of which is very pleasant. It's been called a place
of torments, a place of sorrows, a bottomless pit, a
place of no rest and a place of hopelessness, suffering
and unsatisfied desires. These descriptions fit all
of the criteria opposing teams such as Boise State must
feel when they visit USU.
Aggie fans are relentless, telling players they're
fat, ugly, stupid and everything in between. Normally
this sort of behavior would be completely unacceptable
-- a society can't continue with such vulgarity and
crudeness. However, Aggie fans at the Spectrum remove
themselves from normal society. On the outside most
of them are friendly, God-fearing young adults but when
they enter the arena they become ruthless -- like the
ancient Romans entering the Coliseum, all they want
to see is carnage.
This season's Gossner Classic, aka The Duel in the
Desert, hosted by Utah State, featured four teams competing
in a three-day round-robin style tournament. The tournament
also attracted well-known sportswriter Kyle Whelliston.
After the tournament Whelliston wrote a detailed 1,700
word article about the Aggies. He wrote about USU's
history of great shooting, long-running post-season
play and of course the fans.
Utah State was helped by "one of the top home-court
advantages in the land and a fan base that nearly filled
the Spectrum despite the university's holiday break,"
Whelliston reported in his article.
And Whelliston was right; the Aggies are 153-12 in
the Spectrum since Morrill began 10 years ago. That
includes a 79-8 home record against conference opponents.
USU is tied for the third longest current home winning
streak in the NCAA with 28. Only Kansas with 35 and
Notre Dame with 45 have won more consecutive home games.
The Aggies are ranked 29th in the latest ESPN/USA
Today coaches poll. With the third-longest active winning
streak in the nation (12) and the second highest winning
percentage this season throughout college basketball
(94.4), the Aggies are looking to continue their battle
toward top 25 at San Jose State on Thursday.