Monday was a big night on the Gonzaga campus as the Bulldogs return to McCarthy Athletic Center to take on San Diego State. ESPN is in town to watch the Zags host the Aztecs as part of the network's College Hoops Tip Off Marathon.
For Zag fans, this really is the most wonderful time of year. After eight long months, the Zags are back on the hardwood and campus was buzzing with excitement. The Kennel was packed with hungry Bulldogs cheering on the Zags in their second game of the season.
“I'm stoked. San Diego State! All my roommates are from San Diego and I'm excited that I might get to talk a little smack about them,” Jason Conci, Gonzaga University Sophomore, said.
“Oh, I'm hyped. I can't wait to watch our team put it to SDSU,” Matt Welinski, a GU freshman, said.
It's a big game considering the last time the Aztecs made the trip to Spokane they beat the Zags in what was just their fifth loss in the Kennel. But that was back in 2010.
“We're gonna win no matter what. We're going to win,” Gonzaga freshman Kevyn Johnson said.
“I'm super excited,” freshman Jack Ford added. “San Diego State's a good time, so are we. It should be a fun game.”
The start of the season brings with it some Gonzaga traditions, like “Tent City.” On Sunday, students raced through campus to snag the coveted tent number one and with it, a prime seat in the Kennel.
“We tried to get the best spot we could. We got tent number 114. We're just making sure we got good spots for the game tonight,” Cameron Cortinas, a freshman, said.
The most loyal Zag fans braved the rain and cold, sleeping outside while their dorms were just feet away.
“It was crazy. It was cold, but I feel like just the warmth of friendship and spirit for the basketball team kept us warm,” Welinski said.
It's safe to say Gonzaga is ready for another exciting season of college basketball.
“I really just think the community of Gonzaga is incredible and everybody really just is a big family,” freshman Maddie Murray said.
As far as the season goes, Zag fans have high hopes. They're predicting the team will make it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament this March.