When “The Whale” is a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'.
At least, not if you're from out of town.
Colorado State's Moby Arena, sitting on campus in Fort Collins, has quickly become one of the most formidable homecourts in the entire country; the Rams have run off a school record 26 straight wins.
They haven't lost a game in Fort Fun since November 19, 2011, ironically enough, to the man that leads them today; Larry Eustachy.
Over that time, Ram fans have seen thrilling victories over ranked foes San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV last year, a two school record setting game against Air Force, a sold out win over Wyoming and a defeat of ranked UNLV again this season. Plus, many more blowouts by the current No. 24 team in the nation.
Those that filled the stands last season were witness to the first CSU team to make the NCAA Tournament since 2003, and many rushed the court in jubilation after unforgettable upsets along the way.
And while there were some great crowds at the ancient arena last year, this season's crowds have taken the term “Moby Maniacs” to a new level.
The student section is once again packed, but they've caught on to the traditions of other great college student sections across America. This year – led by Ram Ruckus – the student section is full of giant pictures of funny, celebrity faces, intended to distract opposing free throw shooters. They also have been holding their hands up in unison, moving them all to one side just as the free throw is shot. And when it comes to noise, the Border War game against Wyoming 10 days ago was the loudest I've experienced Moby in person.
Ears were ringing, the environment was electric and the fans undoubtedly helped disorient and distract the Cowboys, resulting in a 19-point victory by the Rams.
Now, their next home game is a historic contest all its own.
No. 24 Colorado State (19-4, 6-2 MWC) is ranked for the first time since 1954, and fittingly, they face a ranked opponent in No. 23 San Diego State (18-5, 6-3 MWC). A win for the Rams would mean sitting in second place in the strong Mountain West Conference, it would be their 20th on the season, and extend that school record streak.
And to make matters even more interesting, CBS4 Denver's Vic Lombardi – arguably Colorado's top nightly news sportscaster – will be in the building to rate Moby in what he and colleague Gary Miller are calling the “HomeCourt Challenge.” Miller will be in Boulder Thursday night for CU versus Arizona, and the two will be comparing each homecourt based on four criteria according to Lombardi's twitter account, “HomeCourt Challenge based on following criteria: 1) noise level 2) student section 3) creativity 4) basketball IQ”.
To add that special flair, the game is the annual Orange Out that celebrates the history of Colorado State. The Rams will be donning their orange “Aggies” jerseys to honor the history of what was once Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, and when they wore predominantly orange uniforms. And the school is asking fans to wear their orange as well; it will be another special environment this week.
Eustachy's Rams, which include five senior starters, are one of the best basketball teams Colorado State has ever seen, and something significant is set to take place in The Whale this week.
CSU – SDSU tips off Wednesday night at 8 p.m. MT, one hour later than every other home game this season. Tickets are nearly sold out, so for those of you unable to attend, watch on CBS Sports Network.
Moby Arena history:
Moby was completed in 1966 and earned the nickname due to its resemblance of a whale. It has been home to Colorado State men's basketball ever since and women's basketball as well as one of the top collegiate volleyball teams in the country for many years. The ram horns in the hardwood were one of the first to feature a design in the playing surface, and the giant four-sided jumbotron has been added in the last few years. This year's new addition is the remodeling of the north concourse, where there are now indoor ticket offices, interesting design elements and new concession stands. Also, parts of the movie One on One were filmed at Moby in 1977.
More CSU Rams: