LOGAN – While most Utah State University students are enjoying a long winter break, the members of the Aggie basketball team will have just three days off before returning to practice Christmas night.
Head coach Tim Duryea said he isn’t a fan of that at all. He thinks it could be avoided if the Mountain West Conference didn’t schedule games until after the new year.
“I think that is something our league should look at is not starting anything until after January 1,” he said. “I think kids should be with their families on Christmas, as well as coaches. We’re asking our kids to travel back all day Christmas from home and practice on Christmas night. I just don’t think that’s right, but when you play the 28th you don’t really have a choice.”
The Aggies will play Wednesday Dec. 28 at home against Boise State before traveling to Colorado Springs to face Air Force at noon on New Year’s Eve. USU has played home games in the stretch between Christmas and New Year’s Day every year for at least a decade, but some games were scheduled closer to Christmas. The Aggies hosted Wayland Baptist on Dec. 27, 2014.
There is another disadvantage to playing home games during Christmas break. Most students are out of town, which hurts attendance and leaves the Spectrum relatively empty. Weber State head coach Randy Rahe understands the advantage USU gains in having a full arena. Before Wednesday’s game in Logan, the Standard-Examiner reported that Rahe was hoping for an arena devoid of students.
“It’s tough enough to play without the students, but when they’re there, it’s really hard,” he said. It’s a great college basketball environment. I’ve always told our kids to go up there and enjoy it, embrace it and go play our tails off while we embrace it.”