Psst. Save Mart Center. Up here.
It’s me, Pauley Pavilion. The basketball arena all snuggled up in championship banners over here in Westwood.
Word on the Grapevine is you’ve got a Big Play Date coming up Saturday. A top-10 team is making a tour stop out of Reno, is that right? We have a word for that here at UCLA. It’s called Wednesday.
But any who, you’ve caught me in a chum mood, so I want to give you some advice before the Fresno State Bulldogs rent the floor for a Saturday night dinner show – nice of you to lease your place to family like that, by the way.
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I hear you guys don’t remember what it’s like to see big-time basketball. Your fans have a reputation of forgetting how to misbehave like fans ever since you threw in the towel on Jerry Tarkanian way back whenever.
Your sports columnist paid me a visit last week. He caught a terrible Bruins team that had lost four straight and fired its coach for New Year’s.
He couldn’t believe how into it my peeps were, even for a lousy night of shirts and skins. Stanford players kept missing free throws, and people would not … shut … up.
The grouch asked me to share some tips, like a big brother. Or distant second cousin who abhors your red-faced freckles. Whatever.
Tipoff is at 5 p.m.?
See you at 4:45 p.m. and consider yourself late in doing so. You’re not my in-laws, so 5 p.m. Saturday does not mean sometime this weekend.
It means wide butts in slim seats before the game starts. Not lined up outside in the parking lot paying for your pass with cushion-seat quarters. Not at the Heart Attack on a Bun grill across the street, still waiting for a table.
Tell your people to be there when lineups are announced, giving their Bulldogs some serious throat and Nevada some serious hysterics.
The Wolf Pack are bringing the ball down the court?
Hiss. Boo. Bah. Make them hear thousands of voices in their head. Tell them you’ve seen better shots inside a health clinic. Yell all the things their names rhyme with, and hope one player is named Lupid.
Bonus points if you tell the refs they are one eye short of being a cyclops.
The only time Nevada players should hear themselves think, is when thinking this is a terrible winter hamlet to visit.
Fresno State has the ball?
Sit down. Be quiet. You can clap, but only in rhythm.
Nevada is at the free throw line?
Jump. Scream like they just posted a dissident political meme on Facebook. Wave towels. Show your angry face. Make Nevada pay for those free shots.
Fresno State is on the business end of a 10-0 run?
Keep your keys in the pocket. Stick around for two halves. Applaud a home-team basket, even if they can no longer win without some serious cheating.
Get your money’s worth, because it’s not every decade you get to see a top-10 basketball team without a road trip.
Just like it’s not every day a crowd shows up and lets Fresno State basketball know that a 12-3 record still means something in a program that’s done nothing worth doing in a long time.