When it comes to basketball inside the Armory Gymnasium the last two months, fans of the Montana State University-Northern basketball teams deserve an assist.
There is no question that Northern fans have created what is easily the best home-court advantage and very best college basketball atmosphere in the Frontier Conference. And actually, I’ve been to most other gyms around the league, and it’s not even close.
So MSU-N fans deserve a huge pat on the back for that, and I now for a fact, every Light, Skylight and all the coaches appreciate what the fans do for the two Northern teams night in and night out in Havre. The support, the noise, the energy and the passion the fans bring mean more to the Lights and Skylights than most people will ever know.
But now, Northern fans have the opportunity to do something really special – maybe something that’s never been done before. Tonight, Northern fans have the chance to turn the Armory upside down, to make it such a loud and intense environment that, sitting at court side, my ears will be ringing when I leave.
It’s the Frontier semifinals, against a UGF team which has pushed Northern to the very limits this season, which has beaten the Lights on a last-second shot and which will come into Havre tonight with a lot of confidence. And it’s an earned confidence because make no mistake, the Argos are playing as well as anybody in the Frontier right now.
Northern will fight back on the floor, the Lights will play their trademark style of “leave it all on the floor for 40 minutes” basketball tonight, and hopefully the fans, who I’m begging to show up in record numbers tonight will do the same.
The Lights are the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, and many Northern fans are assuming and possibly waiting for Monday night’s championship game, but remember, there will be no chipper in Havre without a win tonight. So my hope is, Northern fans don’t wait, my hope is, they decide to set an attendance record for tonight’s semifinal game. My hope is, fans decide it’s worth the Frontier’s price of admission to come to tonight’s semifinal game and set a record for number of fans in attendance, as well as set a record for the loudest game in Northern history.
Fans have a chance to be a part of something really special. Northern fans have a chance to do something tonight that’s never been done, and that’s absolutely blow the roof off the Armory and then turn around and do it all over again.
Can you imagine that? Two nights of record-setting attendance numbers in the span of three days in Havre. An event like the one that starts tonight doesn’t come around very often, and especially with the prospect of the Frontier possibly going back to a tournament, single-site format, the opportunity fans have tonight may not come around again for a long time.
Northern fans have been the best in the Frontier all season long. Actually, you all have been the best in the Frontier for as long as I can remember. But tonight, you all can go above and beyond that. You can bring the game-high atmosphere to a whole new level, one the Frontier, even the NAIA has never seen before.
Please don’t wait. Please don’t choose to do something else tonight. Come to the gym and leave with your vocal cords stressed completely out. Please help sell out the tonight's game and worry about selling out the championship game when there is actually a championship game to worry about.
That’s college basketball. That’s March Madness, and Northern fans can be a special part of that madness tonight.
Tonight's playoff game tips off at 7 at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse in Havre.