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Rutgers Basketball Deserves a Full Student Section

It’s a lot to ask for, but selling out the RAC on Sunday would send a message to the team and the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball: Fairleigh Dickinson at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I know, this is a tall order.

It’s New Year’s Day, you’ve been out partying all night, and you aren’t on campus. The idea of getting in the car and shlepping up the Turnpike sounds awful.

But hear me out.

Rutgers basketball sits at 11-3, and despite public perception, this is a team on the rise. It’s the kind of team that defends its heart out, battles for every loose ball, and leaves everything they have on the floor. They attack the rim, and need some help on offense, but they are the kind of team you want to love.

Basically, they are the kind of team that a packed RAC would push to many upset wins in the old days.

Ah, yes. The old days. I’ve spoken to you about them before. There was a time, when a man named Gary Waters coached this team in the early 2000s. And he understood the power of the RAC and the power of good defense. He’d have his team playing so hard against all comers, he’d have the RAC crowd screaming so loudly, that the opposition couldn’t hear the plays being called out. And that team would beat all sorts of ranked teams.

That’s what the RAC can do. People still talk about it.

When the place is packed and rocking, there is no better arena to be. Unfortunately, any student who’s been on campus the past 10 years has rarely-if ever-seen it. Maybe once or twice during the Mike Rice era. Even Bob said the RAC sucks. So, I understand, it’s hard to fathom, but it’s true—when the RAC is shaking, there’s no better place to watch a game.

And Steve Pikiell is the man who can turn it around again. The man who can start knocking off ranked teams on the home court on a nightly basis.

But that has to start on Sunday.

Penn State comes to the RAC, and they are not ranked. In fact, they may not even be good. But they can make shots, as they did against the St. John’s Red Storm. They are a talented team, but they are extremely young.

They can be rattled. They can be beaten.

Rutgers is selling lower level tickets for $20.17, according to the phone call I got from the ticket office. The online ticket sales say the student section is sold out. I hope this is true. I hope the RAC is ready to roar.

Bcause the Scarlet Knights need you. They need you, rehydrated, full of aspirin, and ready to scream your head off. They need you to make the effort. Bring the Fat Heads. Bring your college age version of snark. Bring the noise.

I know it’s unlikely, but I have to try. I want the old days of the RAC back. I want Rutgers to start knocking off teams no one expects it to. And it starts here on Sunday. And that means the rest of us common folk have to gobble up tickets too!

So, students in a 40 mile radius, I’ll be there. Long time fans will be there. And I’m sure Steve Pikiell sees this as a winnable game. Aaron wrote about making the RAC a wonderful place to play again. But that’s not just about a team that plays well. It’s up to you guys (and me and the other 7500 fans) as well.

Make the effort. This plea may fall on deaf ears. You haven’t been convinced yet, I get it.

But I have to try. People keep telling me, when Rutgers is competitive the building will be full. We guess what? This Scarlet Knights’ squad is competitive.

It’s time to start the rumble.

Please pack the RAC on Sunday. Because 1-1 in the Big Ten is a lot better than 0-2. And 1-1 in the Big Ten when the building is shaking is a sign that Rutgers isn’t a pushover anymore.

And I’m not talking about the team. I’m talking about the casual Rutgers student fan.

Let’s do this.

Edit: I inadvertently confused the RU Riot Squad with the casual student population. For that I am sorry. The Riot Squad has been at the RAC all season and loud.

However, I still hope the casual student fans fill the rest of the section and even the rafters of the RAC on Sunday and make the building loud. I know the members of the Riot Squad are upset at me, and that wasn’t my intent. I meant this as a call to action, not bashing those that have been there all year.