The Illinois Orange Krush student section is widely considered one of the premier college basketball student sections in the entire country. This is for a variety of reasons, but one of them is that its students are notorious for attending at least one game at an opposing venue disguised as the home fans until tipoff.
In an email obtained by Onward State, we have learned that Orange Krush plans on doing this for Sunday’s game between Illinois and Penn State.
First, some back story. In 2007, Penn State and Illinois faced off in Happy Valley, and the Illini throttled the Nittany Lions, 68-50. While the game wasn’t exactly memorable, it was the antics of Orange Krush that made an impact and made the game one of the more infamous Penn State basketball games of the last decade.
Hiding under the guise of a Penn State alumni group, the Orange Krush received an allocation of tickets in section 114 of the Bryce Jordan Center, which is located directly behind the basket opposite of the Pride of the Lions pep band. The group wore Penn State gear, booed Illinois, cheered the Nittany Lions, and even sang/chanted along with Nittany Nation.
However, right before the game started, Orange Krush members ripped off their Penn State shirts to reveal orange Illinois garb, cheered on the Illini all game, and seemingly negated whatever home court advantage the Nittany Lions would have experienced.
According to the email, Orange Krush plans on doing that again. Here is the complete email:
I also reached out to members of Orange Krush and Illini Pride, the official student run fan organization of the university. We received a response from Grace Conrad, the president of Illini Pride and a member of the Orange Krush Foundation Board, who was unable to comment:
Thanks so much for your email and your interest in the Orange Krush–we are glad our tradition has sparked such an interest!
With regard to your question: as part of the Orange Krush Foundation, we cannot comment as to the destination of the road trip this year, per official policy of our organization.
While Conrad was unwilling to confirm her plans, the first email is certainly damning enough, and indicates that “over 100” Orange Krush members will be in attendance for Sunday’s game. There is no word on the exact number of students that will be coming — although according to Orange Krush’s Wikipedia page, about 150 students usually attend — or where they will be sitting.
“I think, if indeed they are, that Penn State students need to recognize it and make sure that they get out there,” said Darnell Brady, the president of Penn State basketball’s student section, Nittany Nation. “It’s kind of a call to make sure Penn State students come out, show support to our team, our home arena, and really make sure that this is our court and people know that.”
Brady said that he would welcome Orange Krush if it does show up, but that “we may have a few things up our sleeves.”
This, along with the fact that the game will be televised on Big Ten Network, should hopefully motivate Penn State students to attend the game. Ask anyone who was in attendance in 2007, the fact that Orange Krush was in attendance and invaded the BJC was an embarrassment, and unlike that game, Penn State fans are now aware of what Illinois students are planning.
Illinois is coming, Penn State. At the risk of being embarrassed, get to the Bryce Jordan Center early on Sunday — the game tips off at 4:15 p.m. — wear white, be loud, and support the Nittany Lions.