Larry Krystkowiak found himself smiling when he looked into the corner of the Huntsman Center on Thursday night before the Utes took on UCLA.
His student section was present.
Yes, the Mighty Utah Student Section (MUSS) made its presence against the Bruins, and they did so in force. In the process, Utah's homecourt felt like - ummmm - an actual homecourt.
"It was awesome and it was cool," Krystkowiak said. "Seeing that section up there was huge. Obviously with the weather it was a bit slow for everybody, but there was a little heartbeat over there in the corner of the arena. They were there and we needed that."
The MUSS showed no rust against UCLA. They were knowledgeable. They were loud. They were present and they knew when to ramp it up.
It hasn't been that way for basketball. Yes, the MUSS is a huge factor during football games. But in hoops, they have largely been absent over recent years.
So will they return on Saturday for USC? Will this be a season long thing?
That is the big question.
"They are on our side and we liked having them," senior forward Cedric Martin said. "In the last five minutes, you could really hear them. The excitement in the gym made us excited and it made us play a little harder."