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Gonzaga missing Kennel crowd in NCAA Tournament

UPDATED: Tue., March 21, 2017, 10:47 p.m.

Przemek Karnowski and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are used to getting a boost from the home crowd in the Kennel. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Przemek Karnowski and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are used to getting a boost from the home crowd in the Kennel. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

SAN JOSE, California – The Zags seem to be in agreement over one thing – March Madness is not nearly as great without the Kennel.

After Gonzaga’s opening matchups in the NCAA Tournament last week, it quickly became apparent to the top-seeded Zags that they would have to take on a road-game mentality to survive the arena full of fans pulling for an upset.

Gonzaga’s game against Northwestern in the round of 32 on Saturday was the worst of the two, with Wildcat fans completely taking over the arena and drowning out the small group of GU fans behind the Zags’ bench.

“It was bad,” Gonzaga senior guard Jordan Mathews said on Saturday. “But we’ve been in those environments before. They’re just fans.”

Just fans, sure, but those kind of environments can only hurt Gonzaga’s performance. Most of the Zags said last week that they can only try and ignore the overwhelming amount of fans that they expect will continue to root against them.

But GU’s Rem Bakamus proposed another solution – get Gonzaga’s students back in the stands.

On Sunday, the senior reserve asked the Kennel Club on Twitter if it could start a page on the GoFundMe site – a crowdfunding platform in which people or organizations can raise money online through individual donations – to get 100 Gonzaga students in San Jose, California, this week to cheer on the Zags as they take on West Virginia in the Sweet 16.

“We need you guys,” Bakamus wrote to the Kennel Club.

The tweet received several responses from Gonzaga fans who wrote that they would gladly help fund the trip. But as of Tuesday, there was no such fundraising page available for Gonzaga students on GoFundMe.

Bakamus and the rest of the Zags might not get a piece of the Kennel they were hoping for on Thursday, but they could get a chance to see a few more Zag fans than expected. On Wednesday, Gonzaga fans in northern California and elsewhere could have the opportunity to add bodies to the GU fan section this week at a cheaper ticket price.

The Pac-12 Conference, which will host the West Regional semifinal games and championship at the SAP Center, announced on Tuesday that roughly 1,000 tickets will be available to the public to purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. The tickets were originally reserved for the four teams participating in the West Regional, but were not all accounted for and were subsequently returned to the Pac-12 for resale to the general public.

Single-session ticket prices (two games on Thursday or one game on Saturday) will be sold for $125 apiece. An all-session ticket to attend all three games this week will sell for $250. Tickets will go on sale at 12 p.m. at NCAA.com/MBBTickets.

Those prices are slightly better than the get-in ticket prices that are available on TicketIQ. On Tuesday, an all-sessions ticket price started at $285. A Session 1 ticket that would admit a fan into both games on Thursday – Gonzaga against West Virginia and Arizona against Xavier – started at $126.

This week, all-session tickets for the West Regional were selling on average for $395, according to TickitIQ, the cheapest of the four regional locations. At the Madison Square Garden in New York, all-session tickets to the East Regional were priced at an average of $865, which also topped the Midwest ($760) in Kansas, Missouri, and the South ($519) in Memphis, Tennessee.

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