Despite a 17-2 start – the best start for Oregon basketball since 1925 – Duck fans have yet to storm to Matthew Knight Arena. Aside from the matchup against the Arizona Wildcats, in which attendance nearly hit 9,000 fans, the most beautiful venue in college basketball has yet to be filled to anywhere near maximum capacity. And despite a spike in attendance for the Wildcats game, Wednesday night showed a mere 6,500 fans, yet another mediocre turnout as the Ducks defeated the Washington State Cougars 68-61. The players must be thinking, “What do we have to do to impress this town?” Even the cheerleaders must be thinking, “What do we have to do?” I was left wondering the same thing as I looked around the arena during one of the most entertaining – and fulfilling - Oregon basketball games of the season.
Yes, football is the trendy sport at the University of Oregon. But what is not to like about a top-20 basketball team and a court with tree graphics on it? The passionate sports fan in me wanted to scream as I looked around and saw only a few hundred fans in the 300-level and only a scattering of Ducks everywhere but the student sections. The wild and crazy Autzen fans are out there, but they apparently haven’t discovered the joy of supporting a Top-20, PAC-12 leading basketball team. You would think that with good seats costing less than fifty dollars, Matthew Knight would be packed for conference play. That hasn’t been the case. Consider this one fan’s cry for help: we (the team, too) want you here! And what better time than to cheer our Ducks to victory over the Wicked Dogs of the North?
While selling out the 12,369 arena will likely not happen this season, Duck fans can certainly do better than the token 6,000 that we are getting on most nights. C’mon, gang! This is one of the top teams in the country!
Oh – by the way, the Oregon cheerleaders would like to see more of you, too.