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October 19, 2012There was a buzz outside of Halton Arena Thursday night that was fueled by the green and white of Charlotte's Niner Nation.
For a team that finished just 13-17 (5-11) last year, there is an excitement around the preseason-picked twelfth team in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
Aside of the goofy games and dunk contest between Chris Braswell, Pierria Henry, and Terrence Williams, what Thursday showed is that for the Niners to make the postseason this year they will need a little something special.
That added influence could come from the Virginia Tech transfer, J.T. Thompson or the continued improvement of sophomore guard Pierria Henry.
Something that can't be denied is the sixth man of Charlotte's faithful, Niner Nation, as Alan Major alluded to. Maybe it is the resurrection of the inaugural football stadium a mere two-hundred yards away or another consistent season for a men's soccer team that made it to the Division 1 College Cup last season, but the growing student section of Charlotte is gearing up for what hopes to be a much needed successful season.
Coach Major, who is entering his third year, has more pressure than ever to deliver that winning season after coming off of two consecutive campaigns below .500.
He had a message for Niner Nation and his players, that this was the year to dominate and make Charlotte one of the most difficult places to play not only in the A-10 but in all of college basketball.
This was obviously responded to throngs of fans with raised hands, but the real question lies in who will be stepping up this season for the green and white to keep these fans on their feet.
Charlotte will continue the fan festivities onto Saturday where they will host their annual Fan Day at Halton Arena. The Niners then face Pfieffer University in an exhibition game at home on Thursday, November 1st and then the season opener at home against Charleston Southern on Friday, November 9th.
The home stretch will end with two more games against Georgia Southern and Lamar (Nov. 13 and 17) before the Niners head to Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout.