By LARRY VAUGHT
Because he played basketball for Kentucky, Ravi Moss says he knows and understands just how loud Rupp Arena can be when the Wildcats are playing.
“I have been at Florida, Kansas, other places and know how loud they can be. Kansas rocks,” said Moss.
Moss didn’t think it was that way at Rupp Arena Saturday when UK was trailing Florida by five points at halftime on Senior Day — and he let fans know it.
He’s the on-court announcer for UK basketball game day promotions along with Maria Montgomery. At halftime, Moss vented to the fans.
“I want to be brutally honest. This is the last game of the season and you all have been bad, lousy at best. You’ve been sitting the whole game, lets get up and cheer for these guys,” Moss told the crowd and added for them to get off their butts.
Not everyone apparently agreed with his words — or thoughts. However, Moss didn’t back down and even called WLAP’s Sunday Morning Sports to clarify his position.
“Yesterday was the quietest I have ever heard Rupp. Definitely the quietest all year,” Moss said.
Moss said he was wondering if he was at a “basketball game or opera” during the first half and others he was talking to at the game agreed.
Moss said he didn’t discuss what he was going to do with anyone. Instead, because it was “crazy quiet” at the end of the half he just decided to share his feelings.
“This is the time to be as excited about basketball as any time of year,” Moss said. “This team has come a long way. They play great defense. I just didn’t understand what they were nothing there (from the fans).
“It’s like we are a bunch of spoiled little brats. We are Rupp. We are supposed to have one of the best atmospheres in college basketball. It was like a church during a prayer.”
Some fans didn’t like what Moss said or felt he could have worded it differently. Others felt he said what needed to be said.
“I was at the game and fully supported Ravi’s comments. And, most importantly, it worked! Second half crowd was great,” Matt Walter posted on Twitter during Sunday morning’s show.
“I’m team Ravi. The fans needed a kick in the butt,” UK fan Kevin Mudd tweeted.
Another fan, Dan Wright, said Moss was “100 percent in the right” for what he said.
“What does Coach Cal day? The hit dog barks!! The Rupp crowd is generally lousy at best all the time,” Wright added.
Whatever the reason, the crowd got way more into the game the second half, Kentucky got on a roll and pulled away to win. Florida coach Mike White even noted after the game how the crowd got louder and impacted his team.
“It makes a difference as a player to hear people screaming,” Moss said. “It makes a difference to our players and makes a difference to other teams. It’s hard to shoot and execute when it gets loud. We are not just doing this (making noise) for our team but to bother opponents.”
He remembers when he played and the E-Rupp-Tion Zone was “25 times better” because students were always bouncing and jumping the entire game. That seldom happens now.
“I just called people out,” Moss said. “If you (as a fan) are not doing your part, I don’t want to hear you crying about how guys are not doing enough. It’s hard to get up for a 2 o’clock game when you have been grinding all year. They are teenage kids. They go through a lot of stuff. The last fans can do is support them.
“I will stand by my (halftime) statement (about the crowd).”