Concert? Comedy show? Nope, these USF students stood in line for hoops

TAMPA — The line of youthful humanity, roughly five hours in the making, started at a Yuengling Center ticket window and slithered for roughly 20 yards before forking.

One artery stretched modestly northeast toward the Selmon Athletics Center. The other slithered to the northwest for at least 100 yards, right into the shaded solar plexus of the USF campus. Lime-green prevailed as the predominant color of the multitude.

The assemblage awaited neither Bad Bunny nor Beyonce, just another command two-hour performance from the newest rock stars indigenous to the university: the USF men’s basketball team, orchestrator of the best regular season in program history.

“Our team usually has not been a very good team,” said Shadi Boulos, a mechanical engineering student who stood nearly three hours in the line Sunday afternoon. “So, now that our team’s very good, you’ve got to support the team. You’ve got to get behind them.”

Such was the latest surreal scene in a winter filled with them.

USF students, who earn complimentary admission to Bulls games as part of their student fees, had to wait in line Sunday for tickets — available on a first-come, first-served basis — for that evening’s NIT second-round game between the Bulls (25-7) and Virginia Commonwealth.

The university was anticipating nearly a fourth consecutive home sellout for this 2023-24 Yuengling Center finale. Even with a win Sunday night, USF — which won the American Athletic Conference regular season title after being picked to place ninth in the preseason — was assured of being on the road for the rest of this tournament.

Seemingly no one wanted to miss the final frenetic encore.

“You want to support your team,” said Kel Lowe, a junior nursing student from Tampa. “We’re winning; this is the most success we’ve had in a minute. It’s the start of like, a new path for us. You want to show out, come here and support the team, pack the arena.”

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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