Morgantown, West Virginia – When Miles McBride hit the game-winning shot to beat the #10 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders last night, the Coliseum crowd would have exploded with excitement if there were fans in attendance.
🎙️ 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗶 𝗖𝗮𝗺 🎙️
— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 26, 2021
McBride, who finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, made the following statement on social media today: “Man, I miss the fans. I can only wonder loud the Coliseum would have been last night.”
Man I miss the fans, can only wonder how loud the Coli would have been last night 🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️🤔🤔
— M11es McBride (@deucemcb11) January 26, 2021
To be clear, there should be fans in the stands. West Virginia University has not allowed any fans in the stands this season but will allow a limited number of fans to a men’s basketball game for the first time this season when the Mountaineers host Florida this Saturday, January 30th. West Virginia will limit attendance to 1,000 fans due to the pandemic.
Bob Huggins has made no secret of his disdain for the current COVID guidelines in college basketball right now. With all of the renovations that have happened inside the Coliseum since last season, Huggins is eager to get fans back in the building, cheering on the Mountaineers.
In his postgame interview following the home opener against North Texas, Huggins said the following: “We have 14,000 seats in the Coliseum. It’s beautiful. New scoreboard…the same scoreboard that you have in Madison Square Garden and this place doesn’t look 50 years old anymore. It looks new and vibrant.”
Huggins continued: “It’s missing one thing. It’s missing people in the seats. There are 14,000 seats, and we can’t put 3,000 in here and spread them out?”
Huggins has a point. The Coliseum is a massive arena and 3,000 people can easily socially distance safely while watching the games. While it would take an organized effort to accomplish it, it’s certainly something that could be done without risking the health of anyone in attendance.
College sports are not the same without fans and a home court advantage is non-existent without the support of the home crowd.
According to Huggins, it really does affect the players as well. “This is such a sterile atmosphere. It’s not what they (players) signed up for, to be honest with you. It’s not what they signed up for. I don’t get it. I don’t get it because it’s about the guys that are playing.”
For now, the Mountaineers will have to deal with 1,000 fans in the stands, mostly consisting of families and guests of the players and coaching staffs, along with some students and fans.