When was the last time Kansas University basketball fans got this excited about their team getting into the NCAA Tournament?
Even before the pairings were announced Sunday, the Wichita State University Alumni Association had almost filled a 152-seat chartered flight to the Shockers’ first-round game, which will be played at 6:15 tonight in Portland, Ore. Telephones reportedly were ringing off the hook at the alumni association Monday with calls from people looking for tickets and travel assistance. Like KU, WSU’s allotment of tickets for the game already was gone. Unlike KU, WSU fans still had an opportunity to buy tickets from other sources; KU’s Friday night game in Omaha had been sold out for two weeks.
The WSU alumni association was planning events in Portland and sending “spirit boxes” filled with Shocker pompons and necklaces to watch parties across the country. The KU Alumni Association, of course, has sports watch sites across the country throughout the year, and planning events in connection with the NCAA basketball tournament is fairly routine.
KU fans are spoiled; we pretty much assume the Jayhawks will make an NCAA appearance every year. Maybe that’s why it’s fun to see how excited WSU fans are getting about their fifth-seeded Shockers, making just their ninth tournament appearance and their first since 2006. We hope WSU, as well as KU and K-State, all have great runs in the tournament. Speaking from experience, KU fans have one piece of advice for WSU: Don’t take that 12-seeded Virginia Commonwealth team for granted!