WICHITA, Kan. --- They've got to be some of the hardiest, avid W.S.U. Shocker basketball fans around.
Those are the ones who are willing to pitch tents and camp outside Koch arena to be first in line for seats in the student section. It's known as Marshallville, after Coach Gregg Marshall, of course.
Alex Pierpoint, a WSU junior says, "I've always wanted to be in the front row of the student section." That, he says, so he can cheer on the Shocker basketball team. The student from Andover says he's willing to camp in the cold to get a front row seat and be as loud as he can.
Those student section seats have been a first come, first serve basis. There'll be one change for the game against Indiana State.
WSU's sports marketing came up with a sign contest. So, those with the ten best signs will get the first ten seats in the front row. Associate Athletic Director John Brewer says the sign contest is a way to engage students and generate more fan excitement.
He says Wu Shock will judge the signs. Brewer says it's all about having fun and promoting sportsmanship. It's also a way to get signs in front of the ESPN cameras that put the program in the best light.
The students we talked to in Marshallville say they understand what the university is doing with the signs and support it.
Sam Belsan, a WSU freshman, says he's all for it and says there'll still be some front seats left and says the other rows are good seats also.
What really took Marshallville founder Max Runyon by surprise is when WSU police asked the campers to pull up stakes and move about ten yards away and set up camp again.
Runyon says they would have liked to have known that in the first place so they'd set up camp only once.
But they still plan on being set for the big game Saturday afternoon at three o'clock and being televised on ESPN 2.
The Shockers are going for their 19th win with no defeats. A win against Indiana State will give them sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference.