ST. LOUIS -- Shocker nation or Shocker family -- call it what you want -- this year's Wichita State men's basketball team has ignited an already enthusiastic fan base.
As with most events in college athletics, there really are no strangers when people follow their team to something like the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. For many fans, the family-like feel is also the real thing.
Mary Reed, Amy Chambers, Jen Smith and Nicole Kriegisch are sisters. While they're the only members of their family in St. Louis, they're far from alone in their love of the Shockers.
"We're a family of 12," Reed said. "We have 11 siblings. There's seven girls; five boys. All of us went to WSU."
This is the first trip any of them have made to Arch Madness.
"We did do the Final Four last year and we get to games as much as we can," Chambers said. "We always have game-watching parties at home with all the siblings. We just love the Shockers."
It is a love of the Shockers these sisters hope to take on the road again in a few weeks.
"Our oldest sister, Michelle, has already booked some rooms in Dallas, so we'll take it from there," Reed said.
Chambers is certain she and her sisters will watch the Shockers make another Final Four appearance.
"We are going to be there," she said. "We were there in Atlanta and we're going to be there in Dallas, but this time, we're going all the way."
The Shockers have quite a bit of business to take care of before that can happen. The next order is winning a conference tournament and cutting down the nets in St. Louis.
"And we shall," Smith predicted.