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Students pack JACC to cheer on Irish men

Liz O'Donnell | Thursday, January 15, 2009

With football season now over and the winter sports season in full force, even more students have shifted their support of Irish athletics from the field to the court.

Led by last year’s Big East Player of the Year, Luke Harangody, the Fighting Irish men’s basketball team has started the 2008-2009 season with an impressive 12-4 record.

For the rest of the regular season, the Irish are set to face a challenging schedule of opponents including many from the Big East, one of the nation’s premiere college basketball conferences.

With the team’s ranking staying consistently in the top 15, the campus atmosphere is hyped with excitement from the team’s success.

“Our team is amazing,” freshman Nathan Feldpausch said. “All students should attend the games because it is especially enjoyable to watch a good team play.”

The student section has been packed during each home game, with the eager fans cramming in to the Joyce Center from courtside to the upper bleachers.

“It’s really exciting to go to the games,” Winny Hu said. “The team is doing so well.”

Along with the normal cheers that students chant during football games, an array of other cheer tactics are also involved at basketball games.

“You get a cheer sheet that has information on players on the other team,” Feldpausch said. “It’s usually pretty funny.”

Along with the success of this year’s team, the Irish currently hold the longest home winning streak in men’s college basketball (44 games), a fact that contributes to high attendance at the games.

“It feels like more and more students and fans show up each game, maybe to be a part of history,” freshman Garrett Campbell said.

Currently there are three Big East teams in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 poll. While the Irish will face two of these three teams on the road, including first-ranked Pittsburgh, the Irish have quality opponents who will make the trek to the Joyce Center

These teams include fifth-ranked Connecticut, who comes to town on the Jan. 24.

ESPN will broadcast the UConn game on College Gameday from the Joyce Center beginning at 11 a.m.

With seven remaining home games, it appears that the attendance at the games will only increase.

“The fans are intense and filled with energy,” said Campbell, “The student body is there for the team and everyone’s prepared to let them know it.”