The University is expecting a capacity crowd for Saturday’s men’s basketball game against conference rival Xavier at Smith Center and is taking measures to ensure a “level playing field” to get lower-tier seats, Assistant Athletic Director Jason Wilson said.
Students hoping to get a seat with a GWorld may also run into problems. More than 3,000 GWorlds have been validated for student entry into Smith Center with approximately 1,600 student seats. If every student who is eligible comes to the game, they will be hard pressed to find a seat.
“We haven’t had a sold-out student center this year, so we’re hoping everyone comes out,” Wilson said.
The entrance ramp to Smith Center will not be open for students to line up until 1 p.m. Saturday, seven hours prior to game time. The doors to the building will open at around 7 p.m., Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz said.
Athletic officials are concerned about students standing in the cold weather all day and are encouraging students to attend a pre-game barbecue in Kogan Plaza at 1 p.m. Students will not be permitted to camp out Friday night, partially due to frigid temperatures the Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic regions have been experiencing, Wilson said.
“If students are hearing that kids are sleeping out, it will be a lot of pressure (to line up early),” Wilson said. “At night, it’s going to drop down to single-digit degrees.”
University Police and the athletic staff will block the entrance ramp with a bike rack, Wilson said. The University cannot control whether students line up on the sidewalk or street, both of which are public property.
Anticipation is running high for this game, with a rare 8 p.m. start, where a loss would break GW’s 23-game home winning streak and extend the Colonials’ losing streak to three games. A win in this game, which ESPN 2 is televising, would be the second against Xavier in Coach Karl Hobbs’ tenure. With many students hoping to see GW beat an Atlantic 10 rival in a nationally televised game, athletic department officials are anticipating the season’s first completely sold-out game.
“We have nothing,” Kvancz said. “Now, will I get some calls Thursday and Friday for tickets? Probably, but I don’t know what I’ll do.”
The 8 p.m. tip off makes this match up GW’s only night game of the year and is wholly due to the television broadcast.
“I’d rather play Saturday afternoon,” Kvancz said. “Just because Saturday afternoon is for basketball.”
Festivities begin at 1 p.m. Saturday with a barbecue in Kogan Plaza hosted by Program Board and Hippo Grillmasters student organization. All fans planning to attend the game are urged to wear Buff-colored shirt for a planned “Buff Out.”