Illini fanatics can’t wait for Final Four

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Online Poster

By Jane Louis

There are Illini basketball fans. They know who the players are, they can recite statistics and they loyally wear their orange and blue on game day.

Then there are Illini basketball fanatics. These are the fans who camp outside Assembly Hall in the freezing cold all night just to get floor seats with Orange Krush. They do not just wear orange and blue – they paint themselves orange and blue. These are not just your average basketball fans. These are the die-hards, the fans who would rather skip an exam and risk failing a class than risk missing a game.

So what would Illini basketball fanatics like these do for tickets in St. Louis if Illinois makes it to the Final Four?

“Whatever it takes,” said Daniel Cox, freshman in FAA.

Cox and Joe Crawford, freshman in ALS, were first in line for the Illinois/Wisconsin game on Saturday. They had camped out without a tent or sleeping bag since 6:30 p.m. the night before to be assured floor seats with Orange Krush.

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    Crawford said he would be willing to do a lot of things to get Final Four tickets, including getting naked in front of a large crowd.

    “I would do anything Fear Factor is willing to give me,” he said. “Just tell (Fear Factor host) Joe Rogan to bring it on.”

    Kiki Sung, sophomore in engineering, agreed that she would do anything she could to get tickets for the finals.

    “If it’s a physical thing, I’ll do it,” she said. “If it’s something I can do, I’ll do it.”

    Tickets for the Final Four are already going on from $500 for two upper level tickets to $2,900 for two lower level tickets for both the semifinal and championship games.

    Many Illini fanatics said that if they could, they would pay whatever was necessary to get tickets.

    “If I had the money, I’d pay a grand,” Sung said.

    With the University’s limited number of tickets for the tournament, however, tickets for the finals will be hard to come by, according to Orange Krush president Mark Perkes.

    Perkes said he did not know how many tickets would be available to students if Illinois makes it to the Final Four, but he advised fans not to get ahead of themselves and to take the season one day at a time.

    “Enjoy the season while it’s going on,” he said.

    But it is not just Illinois students who have been “Krushed” by Illini basketball this season.

    Andy Kemp, a student at Honongah High School in Rockton, Ill., camped outside Assembly Hall with Jimmy Robinson, sophomore in engineering, to get floor seats for Saturday’s game. Kemp was visiting the University to help decide if he wanted to come to school here.

    “(I’m) just here to get a feel of Illinois – whether I want to come here or not,” he said, adding that the University has a “crazy campus life.”

    Some Illini fanatics did draw a line at what they would do to get Final Four tickets.

    “I would do anything except for cutting off a limb,” Ryan Schermerhorn, sophomore in engineering, said.

    If Illinois wins the championship, however, all bets are off.

    Schermerhorn said he would dye his hair orange if the Illini come home with an NCAA championship.

    So why would Illini fanatics do so many crazy things to get tickets if Illinois makes it to the Final Four?

    According to Cox, it may not happen again for a while.

    “It’s a one chance in a lifetime thing,” he said. “Why not go for it?”