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Duke hoops fans choose cold tradition over warm dorm rooms

January 16, 2018 GMT

Are Duke University students smart enough to come in from the cold? Tradition holds that tickets to winter’s hottest basketball game – the annual visit from the University of North Carolina Tar Heels – go to students stalwart enough to camp out.

They call it Krzyzewskiville. Students spend weeks studying, socializing and even sleeping in the tent city on campus for the right to be among those Cameron Crazies when the big game comes.

“It’s like a month-long sleepover,” said sophomore Gretchen Wright. “It’s like being back in middle school. Everybody is giggly in the tent. It’s fun. It’s a great time.”

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And when the temperature drops, the intensity rises.

“I woke up and my whole body was in pain, but it’s still worth it,” freshman Nicole Crumpler said.

Wright, a double-major in English and classical studies with a 4.0 grade point average, agreed.

“I guess there’s nothing like waiting so long outside in the cold for one game, it makes it that much more exciting,” she said.

Fellow sophomore Clayton Delp allowed that the tradition can look foolish, especially on those chilly winter nights.

“Am I smarter than this? No, I am not smarter than this, that’s my answer,” he said. “It makes the game that much better. It really is sort of a religious experience once you get in the game, because you’ve been waiting so long. It’s the anticipation that makes it.”

Rules of the ticket lottery require that one person must always be with the tent, around the clock, except when the temperatures drop below 25 degrees. Then, students can leave and find warmer accommodations.

While Wright and friends figure out how to type with gloves on, her proud parents tease her in video chats and only jokingly reconsider the cost of her dormitory room.

“This is about living life and having those opportunities to do the things you really remember, the fun things that build your memories, and those are more important long-term than a 4.0,” Tracie Wright said.

Crumpler’s mom featured a photo of her daughter’s tent on Facebook.

“I think we’ve raised her right,” she wrote. “Go to hell, Carolina, go to hell.”

The game at Cameron Indoor Stadium is March 3.