Fans of the San Diego State Aztecs made a surprise visit to Gonzaga’s Tent City on Monday to build more hype for the nationally televised game on ESPN.
Campers at Tent City, an event in which GU students camp outside the Foley Center in order to earn a spot in the student section for select games, were awakened by chants of “S-D-S-U” around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning.
Daniel Incerpi, President of the Gonzaga Kennel Club Board, which organizes the Tent City event, said members of the Aztecs fan base were also singing the school fight song on their brief visit to GU early Monday.
He described the group as college-aged or graduate students.
“It’s beginning to be (a rivalry),” Incerpi said.
Throughout the night, both schools’ student section’s Twitter accounts exchanged tweets.
The Show, an account affiliated with the student section of San Diego State, sent out a tweet at 12:50 a.m. to Gonzaga’s student section asking, “Yo @ZagKennelClub u up?”.
The Kennel Club, Gonzaga’s student section, responded with, “New phone. Who dis? @TheShowSDSU.”
“People are really fired up for it tonight, because they heard them last night. It’s fueling the fire,” Incerpi said.
Once Gonzaga jumped out to a comfortable lead in the second half Monday night, @ZagKennelClub got the last word, tweeting “Looks like you’re a no show? @TheShowSDSU.”
If this is any indication, both schools are primed and ready for an intense season of college basketball.
Both teams were receiving national attention entering Monday night’s showdown at the McCarthey Athletic Center, which is a part of an ESPN tradition known as the Tip-Off Marathon.
Starting in 2008, ESPN has aired a showcase of college basketball games over a span of 24 hours to kick off the first week of the season.
This year, Gonzaga is featured in the fourth slot of the marathon.
Being featured in a nationally televised game is beneficial to the Zags. Recruits from across the country are able to watch the Bulldogs play and witness the program compete at a high level of competition.
“You can’t measure the benefits of getting a small, private institution like us this type of national exposure on a regular basis,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said.
Although not part of the Tip Off Marathon, the Champions Classic on ESPN immediately follows the final matchup of the 24-hour extravaganza. The final game of the marathon is Oregon at Baylor, while the Champions Classic includes Duke vs. Kansas and Kentucky vs. Michigan State.
“ESPN has been great for us over the years. This is something we crave, our students crave, and our fans crave,” Roth said.
It’s safe to say Gonzaga is in the national spotlight, and finding new rivals along the way.
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