The diehard Gonzaga fans are out there. There just aren't as many of them zipped up in sleeping bags and tents as the Zags prepare to play Saint Mary's at the Kennel on Thursday.
Fans started camping out outside the McCarthey Athletic Center earlier this week. About 20 tents were set up as of Thursday morning. That number is a far cry from what is normally seen before big games, but that is because many students are away on winter break. They don't start classes again until next Monday.
The last time the Zags played the Gaels was last spring in the West Coast Conference championship game in Las Vegas. Gonzaga lost 77-74 and broke their streak for consecutive WCC titles.
This year, Saint Mary's appears ready to make another run at the crown.
"They have pretty much their whole team back with the exception of Rob Jones from last year," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. "[It is] the same scenario we've always faced with Saint Mary's."
"They know us really well, we know them really well and it is going to be a tough matchup," said guard Kevin Pangos. "They're coming into our house and there will be some students coming back. It's going to be a battle."
Yes, Pangos said SOME students. How many students make the trek back to Spokane could make all the difference for the Zags, as they battle their biggest conference rival.