Editor, Daily Nexus,

I think every UCSB student is proud of his or her school. They show off to their friends what a beautiful place we live in. They bring relatives up, show them Isla Vista and tell them the crazy stories that make UCSB so unique from every other school. But one thing UCSB students probably don’t boast about too often is our athletics. Well, now is the time to start feeling prouder than ever about being a Gaucho. Thursday in the Thunderdome at 7 p.m., our men’s basketball team takes on the Utah State Aggies, the first-place team in the Big West and the favorite to go to the NCAA Tournament.

What many of you may not know is that last year our Gauchos did what everyone thought was impossible: We beat Utah State in the championship game for one of the biggest upsets in Gaucho history, earning our first ever Big West Championship and going to the Big Dance. I was at that game, and I heard that I.V. exploded with excitement when we won; people were out in the streets yelling and cheering and going nuts. It must have been an amazing sight.

Utah State beat us once already this year, and the Gauchos are out for revenge. It’s time for you to really show your pride in being a UCSB student and show this Gaucho team that it can beat any team, anywhere, at any time. It is time for UCSB fans to get out, support their team and watch some of the best players ever to wear the Gaucho uniform. Mark Hull, our star senior, could move into second place all-time on the Gaucho scoring list, and he already holds the career record for most three-pointers ever. Branduinn Fullove has been one of the most exciting players ever at UCSB, and he’s only a junior. And we have a couple of stud freshmen in Josh Davis and Cecil Brown, who reminds me a lot of Kobe Bryant.

If this is not enough to get you out to the game, consider this: You could walk away with your tuition paid for the 2003-04 school year. One lucky student could win free tuition for a year if their name is drawn at halftime and they are in attendance. Student admission is free to every game, so all you need is your ACCESS card.

The Gaucho players, the community of Santa Barbara, the UCSB staff and faculty and your fellow students want to see each and every one of you at the game tonight. If we win, we are in first place. Now that’s something to tell your friends about!