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Rocking Out at Pauley

Wanted to share with you some quick thoughts on Pauley. In terms of the topic of Pauley’s restoration, I will leave it up to M to give us the latest updates/perspective on that issue. I wanted to write something about another matter, which is the issue of noise generated by 12,000 Bruin fans inside the Cathedral of College Basketball. Couple of weeks ago after the Bruins throttled the Standard of Pac-10, Zach Landres-Shnur from AOL Sports Blog (who is also a colleague of ours from U Dub Dish) had this observation about Pauley:

While the Bruins were quite impressive today, they may as well played the game on a neutral court. Pauley Pavilion, seeing its biggest home game of the year, was just silent. Fans seemed to have a hard time getting in to the game, which begs the question, "If they can't get excited for Arizona, who the hell can they get up for?"
Well, where to begin? First of all, given how Arizona has turned out, can you really blame us for not getting all that excited over a team our guys have handled four times in a row? Can you really blame the crowd for not having a lot of respect or appreciation for a fading program which has nothing to show for itself except for playing glorified AAU ball?

Secondly, I am not sure if I buy the characterization of Pauley being sedate and quiet just going by the crappy 5th rate coverage of FSN (well, everything about the Fox network (except "Simpsons" and "24" is fifth rate)). Let me expand on this a bit.

The whole phenomenon of the Pauley crowd appearing quiet on television is nothing new. During my student days at Westwood, I only missed something like 5 or 6 games during my 4 2/3 years at UCLA. I was a regular in the bleacher section and part of the crowd that camped out for hoops game (okay, by our 3rd year we had freshman doing the camping out for us). But anyways, I remember there were many games during which Pauley was ABSOLUTELY ROCKING, and had noticeable impact on the visiting teams, especially when they were on offense. Yet, when we would come home to check out the highlights on SportsCenter, the Pauley crowd would appear nothing special.

In other words, time after time, the TV camera and acoustics did total injustice to the Pauley crowd and failed to provide an adequate sense of what was really going on inside the arena.

The latest example was this past week’s home games. From the accounts of some of my friends who were at both games last week, Pauley was electric. I have heard from multiple people how the arena was absolutely shaking right before the tip-off of the Oregon game. Here is some evidence from local video highlights:

The shot of the Den right before the tipoff is awesome. Again, from first hand accounts of folks who were at that game, the crowd was electric during the Oregon game.

And then Pauley was alive and kicking during the annihilation of Oregon State. Here is more video (from a fan who was sitting in the section facing the Den) to support that assertion:

Just listen to that crowd (even when the Bruins were up by almost 40 points) and take a look at the Den when OSU was on defense or AA was knocking down his bomb. People were standing and students were certainly not "still." So, to answer Zach’s question, it looks like Bruin fans at Pauley had no problem getting "up" for Oregon State, not to mention for Oregon, which to date was the "biggest home game" of the year (it was a matchup between 2 top-10 teams at that time).

Anyways, I expect Pauley to be rocking again on Wednesday night. I am sure our guys will have plenty of motivation and focus after reading all the crap about gap closing even after winning their first game at Pauley South. And the crowd is going to be fired up. I expect bedlam in the Bruin Den, which will be frothing at the chance of belching out:


It’s just too bad FSN will predictably let us down by not giving us a true sense of the atmosphere when our Ben Ball warriors are dishing out their beat down of Timmeh’s special ed "student" athletes. Oh well.

We all know the Cathedral of College Basketball will be electric just like it has been during all key games this season.