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Norm Peterson

OK, so shiny new arena, practically new team, nearly new coach ...

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Same old lethargic fans?

 

This new arena is a Ferrari compared to the Ford that was Devaney.

 

Are we going to strictly drive it through residential neighborhoods to and from church and keep it locked in a quiet garage somewhere?

 

Or are we going to take it out on the interstate and open it up?  Burn some rubber?  Turn some rpms?

 

I keep on thinking back to a comment Miles made (I think it was Miles) about how research has shown that great and loud home-court-advantage-producing crowds beget successful teams more than successful teams beget home-court-advantage-producing crowds.

 

In that sense, we, the fans, hold the keys.  The fans who go to the games (and either cheer or sit on their hands) can influence how successful the teams are that they cheer for.  Right?  Isn't that what the research suggests?  You build a homecourt environment and you get rewarded with a better team to cheer for.

 

I fear that we'll get into the new arena and we'll just have a shiny new space for the same old quiet fans.  

 

I know that what HB has said is true:  Fans are going to be even more motivated to get to their cars and beat the traffic out of PBA than they were at Devaney.  And maybe we can't influence that.

 

I have a question for this board, though.  Aside from going there and, individually, doing your part and making noise, what can we as fans -- or more precisely, we, the most rabid of fans -- do to control our own destiny?  To help the program by building a stronger homecourt environment?

 

We have a couple of months to think about it but I think it would be a mistake to just bring the same old traditions over from the old joint.

 

About the only real tradition we have is to stand until the team scores their first point of each half. (And then sit and yawn, mostly, until the Shim Shams take the stage.  At which point we either stand and stretch, go pee, or get a Runza.)  And that's great and everything.  But it's hardly the makings of an intimidating environment for our visitors.

 

Seems to me that moving to a new venue is a good opportunity to build a new culture.  Which I think needs to involve some (noisy) new traditions.  Especially for when the team is behind.  Nothing like the energy of the crowd to build momentum for a comeback.

 

So, is there anything real we can do?  Or do we just sit idly by, think of new and clever ways to say "Down in front!" and watch this new Husker team and coach compete in our cavernous but quiet new arena?

 

What's it gonna be?  Please tell me if a noisy Husker hoops crowd is too much to hope for.  Please.

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Need the noise meter on the corners of the score boards. The louder we get the line goes up and changes color.

Need to understand better what needs to yelled as a group.

And Jadler this in your court, need the students to really get into it.

I know we have the diehards that know these things we just need to help the newbies get into it.

Might take time OR we will have more people who REALLY WANT BE THERE.

Not the people who got tickets because they give a lot of money to the football program. Then just show up.

You know you don't have to be out of control loud just make some noise. I mean 15,000 people will make some noise if they try hard.

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We need better organization/leadership from the student section. When I watch the Class A (and even some lower classes) State Tournament games, those student sections put ours to shame. They're loud, enthusiastic, organized, and come up with original/clever chants and traditions. 

 

The Red Zone die-hards need to have a meeting or party of some sort, and invite every student they know to brainstorm the chants and traditions they had in high school, decide what they want to do, and then practice.

 

Oh and actually having players who can make exciting plays would help too.

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One thing I hope the scoreboard/sound system coordinators learn is to not quiet our crowd down in the closing minutes of a game by putting on informational/announcement videos and other items that immediately quiet the crowd (as they often did at the Bob during crunch time).

 

I would imagine Coach Miles will encourage something like the coach suggested above...by arraigning for a large # of Val's pizzas to appear at some tweeted location and try to get the students organized. This type of organizing is right up his alley.

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I'm curious how many of those fans that left early were fans that only had tickets because they were thrown in with their football donations. Since those aren't tied together anymore, hopefully, that will help, assuming that's where many of that pool came from.  Also, I think a lot of those fans had courtside tickets.  I know a lot of fans that are a lot closer to the court than they were in the past.  If you were above the B level in the Bob and are in the lower bowl now, I'm talking to you.  We need the fans closest to the court to lead the charge.  Most of the old STH's are in the 200 level or lower.  The new fans in the 300 level are a bit of a wild card.  Will the be loud and enthusiastic?  Will the be focused on the game?  Or are they just there for the shiny new toy factor?  If they're there for the hoops as much as the newness factor, then it's got a chance to be VERY, VERY loud when the team is playing well, which is key, they'll have to play well.

 

I've heard Sam McKewon mention this before, and if you've ever been to a women's game, you know this to be true, but all the hard core fans have the best seats.  They're loud, and active and they impact the game.  NU men's hoops needs that same thing.  They need more of their best fans close to the court, and I think more of them will be.

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AD can solve most of this. Do you go for the maximum buck per seat or do you sacrifice and spend on student accommodation and experience, creating a basketball-affectionate culture on campus? So far, the AD's office has chosen profit maximization at virtually every turn. Unless and until that changes, the environment at games is unlikely to change.

 

Get rid of donor requirements entirely for basketball outside of the suites. Make each game an event for students--easy access to the arena (dorm shuttles), lots of fun things to do before and after the game, and make absolutely sure they get the most effective seats in the house. Cubs fans know this really well: if the experience itself is fun and an event, then winning becomes less important of a catalyst to creating the home court of one's dreams.

 

Traditions will eventually emerge if hoops games become student-centric, like football used to be back in the day. But if this remains an accounting exercise, don't hold our breath for any major changes in the environment.

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AD can solve most of this. Do you go for the maximum buck per seat or do you sacrifice and spend on student accommodation and experience, creating a basketball-affectionate culture on campus? So far, the AD's office has chosen profit maximization at virtually every turn. Unless and until that changes, the environment at games is unlikely to change.

 

Get rid of donor requirements entirely for basketball outside of the suites. Make each game an event for students--easy access to the arena (dorm shuttles), lots of fun things to do before and after the game, and make absolutely sure they get the most effective seats in the house. Cubs fans know this really well: if the experience itself is fun and an event, then winning becomes less important of a catalyst to creating the home court of one's dreams.

 

Traditions will eventually emerge if hoops games become student-centric, like football used to be back in the day. But if this remains an accounting exercise, don't hold our breath for any major changes in the environment.

 

TCP, I agree with doing everything possible to make the Arena "student-centric", but to get rid of donor requirements entirely outside of the suites seems a bit extreme.  How would you fund the programs?  For many boosters, there has to be incentive to give the higher amounts.  Donations would decline significantly.  Perhaps attendance would also.  If I can't buy better seats (because I choose to spend my hard-earned $$ that way), I'm staying home rather than sit in the Norm Rafters.  I'd like to allocate a lot of great seats for students--but that still leaves a lot of Arena to allocate among fans who are willing to contribute.

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Crowd enthusiasm causing wins sounds a lot like a chicken or egg situation. The main difficulties the team will have to overcome are the frequent late starting times on weekdays, the winter weather, the unintelligible parking situation outlined in Sunday's LJS (where it is warned that even those fortunate enough to get indoor parking must plan a 25 minute wait to even exit the lot), and the availability of virtually every game on HDTV. With that said, a winning team should overcome all these factors. So basically it all comes back to Coach Miles and the team, not us fans. The next few years will be very interesting indeed, and the best new tradition to begin will be having consistant success on the court.

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One thing I am really anxious about the bells and whistles on this brand new Ferrari. Will we use them to their potential? Will the operators have a clue as to what is going on? Game presentation. It's everything. There's a brand new enthusiasm to go along with all the other brand new things but that enthusiasm will die quickly if the presentation sucks. I really hope they are bringing someone in who has run a show in a building like this before. Someone to say this is how you blast music, this is how you run ribbon boards and this is what you put on them. Scoreboard, lights, effects, music, videos, etc, etc, etc. Otherwise, it's gonna suck. Is the university running all the bells and whistles for the games? I would assume so. 20 seconds of awkward silence followed by a random 80's song isn't gonna cut it. That damn foghorn followed by "Husker fans get on your feet and make some noise for the Huskers" has got to go.

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One thing that gives me a lot of hope that the new arena will be loud and well organized is the fact that Miles himself has stated numerous times that HE will be involoved with game day preparation.  I mean, how many coaches are going to be doing that?  I think he completely understands the importance of a good homecourt advantage and he has been to enough venues to know what gets crowds going and what doesnt'.  So with him being on the "committee" if you want to call it that will really help I think.

 

I also think the fact that the new arena will be so close to some restaurants and bars that the "casual" fan can go out and have a few drinks before the games which may "liven" up the crowd a bit.  I think its just going to be a much better overall area for all fans.  Students I'm sure will also take advantage of this and make it more of a "gameday" atmosphere. 

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One thing I am really anxious about the bells and whistles on this brand new Ferrari. Will we use them to their potential? Will the operators have a clue as to what is going on? Game presentation. It's everything. There's a brand new enthusiasm to go along with all the other brand new things but that enthusiasm will die quickly if the presentation sucks. I really hope they are bringing someone in who has run a show in a building like this before. Someone to say this is how you blast music, this is how you run ribbon boards and this is what you put on them. Scoreboard, lights, effects, music, videos, etc, etc, etc. Otherwise, it's gonna suck. Is the university running all the bells and whistles for the games? I would assume so. 20 seconds of awkward silence followed by a random 80's song isn't gonna cut it. That damn foghorn followed by "Husker fans get on your feet and make some noise for the Huskers" has got to go.

 

This is exactly my fear.  I think the University will run things and they'll be 10 years behind the times as always.

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One thing I am really anxious about the bells and whistles on this brand new Ferrari. Will we use them to their potential? Will the operators have a clue as to what is going on? Game presentation. It's everything. There's a brand new enthusiasm to go along with all the other brand new things but that enthusiasm will die quickly if the presentation sucks. I really hope they are bringing someone in who has run a show in a building like this before. Someone to say this is how you blast music, this is how you run ribbon boards and this is what you put on them. Scoreboard, lights, effects, music, videos, etc, etc, etc. Otherwise, it's gonna suck. Is the university running all the bells and whistles for the games? I would assume so. 20 seconds of awkward silence followed by a random 80's song isn't gonna cut it. That damn foghorn followed by "Husker fans get on your feet and make some noise for the Huskers" has got to go.

This is exactly my fear. I think the University will run things and they'll be 10 years behind the times as always.

I really hope they bring in help. The University sucked at running the crappy sound system and all the rusty whistles at Devaney, and that was their building. Now we expect them to run the show as a tenant coming in just for their game days? That has a recipe for disaster. It gives hope that Miles is putting in his 2 cents. But they really need to bring in some experts. I just imagine this brand new building that has everything yet isn't used right or everything goes wrong. Huge embarrassment for the University if they pack in 15k for that FGCU opener and everything flops. They could barely run the stat boards at Devaney. And that's just the stat boards. We won't even talk about music.

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I never thought the gameday environment was all that bad at Devaney...

 

My only other recent experience to compare it to, I guess, was I went to a Nebraska/Mizzou game in Columbia a few years ago and I felt that everything they did at Devaney was pretty much on par with what they did at Mizzou Arena.

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I never thought the gameday environment was all that bad at Devaney...

My only other recent experience to compare it to, I guess, was I went to a Nebraska/Mizzou game in Columbia a few years ago and I felt that everything they did at Devaney was pretty much on par with what they did at Mizzou Arena.

Even if you thought the Devaney game presentation 'wasn't that bad', it's unfair to expect that same staff to step into the new place and have the whistles and the bells running smoothly. I'm assuming there's gonna be some training and there's gonna be a learning curve.

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Crowd enthusiasm causing wins sounds a lot like a chicken or egg situation. The main difficulties the team will have to overcome are the frequent late starting times on weekdays, the winter weather, the unintelligible parking situation outlined in Sunday's LJS (where it is warned that even those fortunate enough to get indoor parking must plan a 25 minute wait to even exit the lot), and the availability of virtually every game on HDTV. With that said, a winning team should overcome all these factors. So basically it all comes back to Coach Miles and the team, not us fans. The next few years will be very interesting indeed, and the best new tradition to begin will be having consistant success on the court.

Jimmy, I understand what you're saying, but there's actual research on this.  I'd seen it once before and Coach Miles recently made reference to it.  And the research is that the chicken came before the egg.  A big, loud, obnoxious chicken yelling at the refs and mocking the opposing team and encouraging their own team was more likely to produce the egg of athletic success than the egg was to produce that big, loud chicken.

 

In other words, it is NOT the case that the fans will cheer when they have something to cheer about.  That's a recipe for continuing mediocrity.  Those fans waiting for something to cheer about might not ever get anything to cheer about.  (Dare I say that's a loser's mentality.)  No, the fans have to lead the charge by making the home court environment an advantage for their team and, by doing so, they are more likely to be rewarded with a successful program.

 

(I've looked for a link to this research but my e-bay isn't working so well today.  Maybe it's because I put a hyphen between e and bay.  I dunno.)

 

So, back to my question.  What are we going to do differently?

 

We have a new place.  We need some new traditions.  We need some new noise.  And we need to realize that the crowd getting loud when the home team is in the lead and growing quiet when they fall behind is not what the team needs. I'm not saying to not be loud when we're in the lead.  Be loud then, too.  But be louder when we fall behind.  And that hasn't happened at Devaney since sometime in the 90s maybe.

 

Rack your brains, people.  We need some new material.  Badly need some new material.

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Let me just add something to my above thoughts.  Take the volleyball team as an illustration.  I remember going to volleyball games way back in the day.  I continued going until single game tickets got to be a tough commodity and my schedule, etc.  But, say, 80s and early 90s, OK.

 

I remember that volleyball crowd being the best crowd, on a consistent basis, that I've ever seen.

 

They had cheers for when the team was ahead but more importantly, they had cheers when the team was behind.  Or, more accurately, when they didn't have possession of the serve.  Used to be, you had to hold serve in order to score points, right?  So, in order to score, you had to get a side out.  And when the other team got the serve, the crowd would get REALLY DAMN LOUD.  And they would start chanting, constantly, "SIDE OUT HUSKERS! SIDE OUT! (CLAP CLAP)."

 

And when it was time to put the game away on set point or match point, the whole audience would stand and start a slow to fast clap until the serve was launched and the point won.  And I think some of that had to do with the yell squad getting off their butts and yelling.

 

We need to learn something from that crowd.

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One other thing about cheerleaders that my above post reminds me of and that is that we need to bring back the guys on the yell squad.

 

Sure, I know they aren't much to look at.  But put one of those cone-shaped horn things up to their mouths and get the crowd going with some "DE-fense! (clap clap) stuff."  Not to be sexist, but you need some guys to yell like they've got a pair.  (Of lungs, of course, what did you think I was talking about.)

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I just have an honest question for all of you......some get on here and talk about how lousy game day is and how it needs to improve.

 

How?  Why not voice your brilliant ideas to the UNL office.  Its like that guy that sits in the crowd during a HS or College basketball game and bickers and moans about how awful something is, but if approaced to improve it would have ZERO idea of what to do.  But they sure as heck don't have a problem bitching just to bitch. 

 

Not going off on anybody by any means, just pointing it out.  Its always easy to just sit there and go "this stinks!" but HOW would it be better? 

 

I beleive Boehm said after the 1st exhibition they are going to ask fans for their opinions of how to make the game environment better...if you have a good idea, be sure to let them know.  Maybe they use it, maybe they don't.  But it at least gets the ball rolling.  I think Boehm and NU know how important home court is going to be and we all know Miles does.  So lets be sure to voice our ideas after that 1st exhibition.

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