Moby Madness: A highly contagious infection caused by being witness to the Colorado State Rams basketball team.
Moby Arena, located in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado, has quickly become one of the most daunting arenas to play in for opposing teams.
Due in great part to the maddeningly loud crowd.
No. 24 Colorado State, in the midst of playing their best basketball in nearly 60 years, is fresh of beating San Diego State, and the difference Wednesday night were the screaming Moby Maniacs.
“If that’s not an exciting college basketball game, I don’t know what is,” CSU head coach Larry Eustachy said after the team’s 20th win of the season.
“We just made plays down at the end, so the game could have gone either way,” he continued. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere. As good as I’ve been in and we all know I was at Iowa State, which was supposed to be one of the five toughest places to play and this thing was louder than any game I’ve seen at [James H.] Hilton [Coliseum].
“Hat’s off to the fans. We don’t get that thing done at the end; that’s hard for a team to come down and make the plays, meaning San Diego State, when that place is going nuts in the last two minutes. It’s just, it’s the difference maker. We don’t win without the crowd,” Eustachy finished.
The game wasn’t a sell out – at 8,753 fans, they were just under 200 fans short – but this was the loudest game in the last two years, possibly in the history of the 66-year old arena.
It was an Orange Out, where all the fans were asked to dress in orange to celebrate the history of the university, and they did a fantastic job, as 90 percent of the arena was decked out in their pumpkin and alfalfa.
Colorado State’s student section was spectacular; they have developed into a formidable force that will play tricks with opposing players’ minds.
The many large, cardboard cutout faces are fun and distracting to shooters, as is the waving of arms in unison during free throws. Chants of the fight song and other unrepeatable phrases intimidate opponents and the referees alike.
At their loudest Wednesday night, the Moby Maniacs got to 125 decibels – enough noise to cause hearing loss – enough to make even the best college basketball players in the country flounder opportunities. Jamaal Franklin, the Aztecs’ leading scorer at 17.5 points per game and one of the best players in the nation, was off to a hot start with nine points in the first half. But Pierce Hornung locked him down in the second, allowing him to score a mere two points on free throws as he went 0-6 from the field when it mattered most.
The eardrum-shattering noise hurt Franklin and his Aztecs, and even may have swayed the officials.
Following the game, Rams point guard Dorian Green was asked if he was scared about his last minute drive for a score and-one that sealed the victory, to which he responded with a chuckle, “Yeah, right when I jumped.”
“I didn’t know if it was going to be a charge or a block, until I heard the crowd’s reaction,” Green said.
And fans weren’t just helping their team to a third best in the nation 27th straight home win Wednesday night, they were also participating in a massive simultaneous “Harlem Shake” late in the first quarter.
Of course, what gets lost in Moby’s homecourt advantage is the elevation of over 5,000 feet above sea level, which can certainly effect a team like San Diego State.
Combined – the noise, the student section’s improved IQ and the elevation – make Moby Arena one of the scariest venues for opposing teams.
Who knew a whale could roar?
For that matter, who knew Colorado State could be this great in basketball?
The victory marked CSU’s 20th of the year – they’re 20-4 overall and 7-2 in the Mountain West – and are all but a lock to make the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. If it happens, it would be the first time since 1989-90 in Fort Collins, and this team actually has a chance to win a game or two once they make March Madness.
Without a doubt, Colorado State is one of the best college basketball teams today, and a major reason why they’ve been so dominant is their Moby Maniacs.
More CSU Rams:
Colorado State proves they’re great with win over San Diego State
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist. You can follow Rich on twitter or facebook for all your CSU Rams news and opinion.