This is THE game

Colin Ritsick

Tonight’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette is, in my opinion, the biggest basketball game in the four years I’ve been here.

Georgia Southern basketball never really gets the same attention as other sports on campus. And, there is a valid reason for that – they don’t win championships as frequently as other sports like football and baseball do.

But, this year’s team isn’t like the other three years I’ve been here. These guys are good. They can shoot from anywhere on the floor, they rebound better than most teams in the country and they play tough, aggressive defense. These Eagles are for real – and they can let the rest of the Sun Belt know that with a victory tonight.

You, as a fan – I’m going to assume you are somewhat a fan or else you wouldn’t have read this far – should be very excited about that. Going to a school that is good at basketball and has a fun fan base is exhilarating. Ever watch a Duke game at Cameron-Indoor?

I went to Wheeler High School in Marietta where every season was pretty much state championship or bust. And because there are so many basketball games in a season, it was like a party every week.

I would love to see that type of atmosphere for a game in Hanner Fieldhouse. Head coach Mark Byington believes that type of fan support helps his team, too.

“When [fans] are here supporting us our guys play better. It raises their level of play,” Byington said.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are the No. 1 team in the Sun Belt, and if you remember, they weren’t happy about us winning the conference in football. This game is going to be intense and could be a turning point for how our campus views basketball.

When asked about the student body showing up for Thursday’s game, Byington said, “they’re more important than they even know.”

“Having a great basketball environment can be worth a couple of points. And this game might come down to one or two points,” Byington said.