No matter what the outcome is of Thursday's Ball State-Utah matchup in the Huntsman Center, the Runnin' Utes will not be playing their next game at home. The Huntsman Center is all booked up next week - for a Novell convention.
According to Rick James, director of the Huntsman Center, Novell "is moving in on Friday and will be in there until the following Friday."Asked why the arena wasn't reserved for the basketball team in the event that it earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament, James said, "It's up to athletic department to schedule it."
The university's athletic department actually rents the Huntsman Center for its events.
"People probably will be surprised to know that we're not in charge of the arena," says athletic director Chris Hill. "We don't determine who's in there. It's run by a different department. We have priorities, but they've had this thing scheduled a long time . . . I'd prefer to be able to play every chance we could at home. Anybody would."
If the Utes beat Ball State, it is uncertain where or whom they would play next. The NIT does not establish a bracket but matches opponents as the tournament procedes.
"It's crazy," says Hill. "They told us, `We'll let you know.' They said we'd play Monday or Tuesday. I imagine we'll play someone from the West."