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Purdue Basketball Looking Forward to Having Fans Back in Mackey Arena, Around the Big Ten

Purdue will play 20 games against Big Ten opponents during the 2021-22 college basketball season. The team is excited to hear fans back inside Mackey Arena and other venues across the conference.

INDIANAPOLIS — Last season, some of the most prestigious venues in all of college basketball were left barren of spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the 2021-22 season rapidly approaching, fans will be welcomed back in the stands to cheer on their beloved teams. 

That includes those filing into Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, and other facilities across the Big Ten Conference. 

Last year's freshmen were unable to experience the true atmosphere of a Purdue basketball home game. The older players within the program will have to get used to a roaring crowd at Mackey all over again, but it's something the Boilermakers are looking forward to. 

"I think maybe the first few shots might dent the backward a little bit," Purdue senior guard Sasha Stefanovic said Friday during the 2021 Big Ten Basketball Media Days. "It's true, it's definitely going to be an adjustment, obviously our freshmen last year didn't experience it. 

"But it's such a great environment. We're obviously biased, but I think it is the best environment in college basketball and I think a lot of these these players that are here today would kind of vouch for that, maybe. We just give any words of wisdom that we can to them and help them prepare for this upcoming year."

Last month, the Big Ten announced that for the fourth straight year, each school in the league will compete in a 20-game conference schedule. There will be an equal number of home and away games for the Boilermakers against Big Ten foes. 

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Walking into a hostile arena — jeers and all — is an occasion that the Purdue players relish in. There are high expectations of the team this upcoming season, and other basketball programs will be chomping at the bit to try to shoot them down. 

"Being in road environments is so tough to play in," Stefanovic said. "I think anybody that you play in the Big Ten, you're gonna have a tough battle every night. You're going to rivalries in Assembly (Hall) and going into Breslin or wherever. 

"In Ann Arbor, you're going to have great environments and great atmospheres where the team is going to give you all that they can. Really looking forward to playing everybody this year. You know, it's going to be such a nice feeling to have fans back and it's going to be fun having people boo us and everything like that and getting back to normal."

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