Purdue Basketball Looking Forward to Having Fans Back in Mackey Arena, Around the Big Ten

INDIANAPOLIS — Last season, some of the most prestigious venues in all of college basketball were left barren of spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans will be able to cheer their favorite teams on as the 2021-22 season approaches. 

This includes those who are able to file into Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, or other facilities in the Big Ten Conference. 

The true atmosphere of a Purdue basketball game at home was not available to freshmen last year. The Boilermakers are looking forward, even though the older players will have to adapt to the Mackey crowd. 

“I think maybe the first few shots might dent the backward a little bit,” Purdue senior guard Sasha Stefanovic said Friday during the 2021 Big Ten Basketball Media Days. “It’s true, it’s definitely going to be an adjustment, obviously our freshmen last year didn’t experience it. 

“It’s a great place to be. Although we may be biased, I believe it to be the best environment for college basketball. Many of the players here today would probably agree. We offer any wisdom we can to them, and help them prepare for the upcoming year.”

Last month, the Big Ten announced that for the fourth straight year, each school in the league will compete in a 20-game conference schedule. There will be an equal number of home and away games for the Boilermakers against Big Ten foes. 

Walking into a hostile arena — jeers and all — is an occasion that the Purdue players relish in. There are high expectations of the team this upcoming season, and other basketball programs will be chomping at the bit to try to shoot them down. 

“It is extremely difficult to be in road environments.” Stefanovic said. “Anyone who plays in the Big Ten knows that it’s going to be a tough fight every night. There will be rivalries at Assembly (Hall) as well as going into Breslin, or anywhere else. 

“In Ann Arbor, you’re going to have great environments and great atmospheres where the team is going to give you all that they can. Really looking forward to playing everybody this year. You know, it’s going to be such a nice feeling to have fans back and it’s going to be fun having people boo us and everything like that and getting back to normal.”

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