A slice of bacon: Is Duke really better than us?

By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, December 2, 2005

For those students who never received the memo from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, this was the year of the student section.

The Zona Zoo was supposed to erupt this year with the new section on the north side of McKale Center, reserved just for Coronado's finest.

The problem with the student section is, well, it is a weak student section.

I had a discussion about this with former Arizona Daily Wildcat Sports Editor Maxx Wolfson on Wednesday, and through that conversation I have come up with some ideas about how to improve our Zona Zoo in McKale Center for, hopefully (and I'm crossing both fingers and toes on this one), the last time.

Student attendance

If I had a buffalo nickel for every time I bring up the comparison of Cameron Indoor Stadium to McKale Center, Mike Krzyzewski might have to cut me a good portion of his check.

Want really simple facts about Duke's students? Fans sleep in tents. Fans do their homework outdoors, and they are not homeless. Fans paint their chests, even if it is an exhibition game against the top women's under-10 team in North Carolina.

We implement a new student section that allows the most fanatic fans in first and, according to Katie Miller's article in the Wildcat on Monday, only about 75 people were lined up at 1 p.m. for the Virginia game on Sunday?

We go to a basketball school, kiddos. We aren't Stanford (good at everything). We aren't Southern California (they make football look like parents versus toddlers). We aren't Texas (good at everything, just have a hard time winning the big games).

If you come to this school and you are lucky enough to receive tickets, go to the damn games. If not, give your tickets to someone who might.

The nonticket line

During the Virginia game, my co-worker and I looked up from press row and saw a troubled sight - an empty nosebleed section.

Mark Cuban would have sold the franchise if we were professional, and ASUA should consider doing something to make us look a little less pee-wee.

I know that so far we have played Mickey Mouse teams and then an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent picked to finish last in its conference, but if you get them, you must come (imagine me saying that out loud in the James Earl Jones voiceover).

What needs to be done to fix this problem is have someone counting tickets. We need another line, one for students who didn't get tickets. Hell, it could be for students who have never purchased a Zona Zoo pass, never bought any Arizona sweatshirt or partook in anything university affiliated.

It is a line for students who just want to see the game, and if the seats aren't filled by the first 10 minutes of the first half, those students get in and can fill as many seats as they can find. If 150 students didn't show up for a game, let 150 drifters in to watch the second half.

There might be debate over seats when a Zona Zoo winner comes back from getting nachos, but the drifters can just move seats. It would at least give students who won't see a game all year the opportunity to do just that, and it might bring in more energy.

Standing out

Does anyone ever watch a North Carolina game or see the Michigan State Spartans play at home? You know where the students are. You can feel where the students are. They are jumping and screaming and complaining and cheering. Those schools define what Dick Vitale thinks about in the shower.

Wolfson brought up a good point to me when he talked about the Virginia game: Who the hell even knows where our students are? We are bunched behind the band with a camera angle that hinders our ability to be noticed and seen.

Can you totally pick out the band? That's because they are wearing red-and-white-striped shirts.

What an idea for next year's Zona Zoo apparel.

Quit the senseless changes

I've been here for four years, and every year there is another idea for men's basketball seats. We've seen riots, "A" and "B" seasons and now, priority with arrival.

I just don't get who thought it was a good idea to stick all the students in the same place, instead of splitting it up behind both baskets.

If you've been to a game yet, the student's side works harder at getting the old people on the south side of the basket to stand up during an opponent's free throw. Sadly, the students have to "cheer" those people on when they do actually set down their sodas and wave their hands.

When the student section was split, we at least had an echo throughout McKale Center, which is lost now, as one side dominates over the other. Plus, the Zona Zoo keepers don't get to do that cool run where they high five at midcourt anymore.

If you received tickets, wouldn't you rather be behind the basket than watching the big screen most of the game to see who threw the alley to Hassan Adams?

Shane Bacon is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.