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CSU basketball prepares for biggest game in Moby Arena history

022213-MobyMadness_DL-2On Jan. 27, 1966, the doors of Moby Arena were opened for the first time for its inaugural game, a basketball matchup between CSU and New Mexico State University.

Unbeknownst to Jim Williams, the athletic director and coach of that team, the 39 point blowout by the Rams would set the tone within Moby for decades to come. The home court advantage that CSU found gave birth to the phenomenon we now refer to as “Moby Madness.”

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“The term ‘Moby Madness’ has been used since I got here,” CSU volleyball coach Tom Hilbert said. “If that building gets relatively full and has a big student presence, it becomes a very intimidating environment for opponents, no matter what the sport is.”

Fast forward to today.

The process to acquire a ticket for a chance to be a part of that madness has evolved into standing in line in the freezing cold for hours, and the true die-hard fans are now using the Moby parking lot as an overnight campsite to ensure they get their foot in the door.

However, it hasn’t always been this way.

“It’s night and day. When I first got on campus, nobody would come to our games; we begged people to come and still wouldn’t get a good output,” senior basketball guard Dorian Green said.

But.

“Now you see students camping out, waiting to get tickets. It’s nowhere close to where it used to be. The difference is huge.”

The force behind this change is being driven by the CSU men’s basketball team having one of its best seasons in program history.

With the Rams nationally ranked, it has set the stage for arguably the biggest game in Moby history Saturday, when No. 22 CSU takes on No. 16 New Mexico for a share of first place in the Mountain West.

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“Moby is a tough place for other teams to play in when we get it packed and get the energy from the students,” Green said.

“The crowd is huge as far as momentum and atmosphere, they bring that extra component that the road team doesn’t have. It makes a good atmosphere to play in, you want to play in a packed house every night.”

The creation of RamRuckus in June of 2012 also added fuel to the fire.

RamRuckus is a spirit group founded by students that encourages its members to attend sporting events and cheer as loud as they can.

“I just wanted people to be as passionate and feel as excited about athletics and CSU as I did, I’m a diehard,” RamRuckus founder Tim Brogdon said.

“I feel like we needed that spirit to carry on to basically every aspect of student life, whether it was athletics or academics, you just felt pride in where you were at CSU, and that’s where this organization came from.”

The current state of CSU athletics has allowed Moby Madness to become as big as it has ever been.

“This is the most insane that I’ve ever seen it at Moby, and it’s awesome. Everybody is united as one being, cheering on the Rams,” senior chemical and biological engineering major Taylor Jackson said.

“You get to the point where you care about the team and the sport so much that if they lose you know the rest of your week is ruined, and if they win then you’re on a high for the rest of the week. It gets to the point that it becomes part of you.”

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