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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

The spirited atmosphere of the ‘Octagon of Doom’

Bramlage Coliseum is constantly rocking because of passionate fans.
Alexis Forgy
The Student Section celebrates after guard Tylor Perry scored the game winning 3-pointer with four seconds left in overtime to win 72-71 against Villinova. Head coach Jerome Tang challenged the fans the day to see a bigger attendance than the first six home games.

“The student section has been good, not great,” men’s basketball head coach Jerome Tang said on Dec. 4, 2023, the day before playing Villanova. “We sold, I think, over 8,000 ICAT passes and I haven’t seen close to 8,000 in there. I appreciate the ones who have been there, but I say all the time, we got the best student section in America and I don’t think I’ve seen that yet this year.”

These comments came after Kansas State narrowly defeated North Alabama 75-74 in overtime. The game marked the sixth in a row in Bramlage Coliseum where attendance marked under 10,000. 

The response to Tang’s challenge was strong. Bramlage Coliseum saw 10,140 fans arrive as K-State defeated Villanova 72-71 in another overtime victory.

“I challenged our students and challenged our student ticket holders,” Tang said. “I love every one of them, but a part of loving is expecting some things, and our students responded like I could not believe and our fans were incredible. … That was a big time game, and a big time atmosphere.”

Since then, men’s basketball at the “Octagon of Doom” has seen attendance dip below 10,000 fans only three times — twice during winter break.

As Tang has increased fan attendance and intensity, so too has the star team of the town.

No. 2 Kansas State women’s basketball saw a major bump in home attendance. Last season, the Wildcats averaged less than 4,000 fans per home game. That number sits at 4,704 and should only grow as the season goes on.

In the past three home games against Texas, Kansas and BYU, more than 8,200 fans rocked Bramlage Coliseum per game as the Wildcats continued to dominate. The Texas game was the first game to bring in over 4,000 fans since Nov. 19, 2023, against Wisconsin.

“I’m glad so many people made it out with the weather,” guard Zyanna Walker said for the Jan. 10 win over Texas. “It was extremely cold and their energy was super great. It felt really great just to be in that moment. It definitely helped us throughout the game … when we made plays and the crowd erupted, that gave us momentum to go on a run.”

Following the top 10 win over the Longhorns, K-State hosted the Sunflower Showdown a week later, in the first game without star center Ayoka Lee. The highly-intensive performance the home fans displayed in the Wildcats’ 69-58 victory stood out to Kansas veteran head coach Brandon Schneider.

“I’ve been a head coach for 26 years and I thought that was the best road student section of a game that I’ve ever been a part of, so credit to their students,” Schneider said.

The compliments did not stop there for Bramlage’s passion. After falling to the Wildcats 67-65, BYU’s head coach Amber Whiting was thrilled by the noise, even though it made it difficult for her to give calls to her players.

“They come out and they support, and that’s what women’s sports should look like,” Whiting said. “So I loved it. It was fun. … If we could play in a venue like that every night out and make ours sustain like that, it’s just huge.”

Not just head coaches recognize the energy of the Octagon of Doom. BYU’s star forward Lauren Gustin made sure her friend, K-State guard Gabby Gregory, knows what they have is special.

“Towards the beginning of the game she came up to me and was like, ‘Y’all’s crowd is incredible.’ … [I was] like, ‘I know, it’s pretty awesome,’” Gregory said. “It’s just awesome to have a crowd like that and everyone’s so into the game. … It really helps us, it really does.”

As both teams go on their respective paths, with women’s basketball thriving to the top and men’s basketball finding their way, one thing remains certain: when both teams play at home, a group of wild and eccentric fans wait to greet them in Bramlage Coliseum.

“They were here to see K-State play and that’s what you want, right,” head coach Jeff Mittie said after the BYU game. “You want your crowd to be here to see us and you want them to be here regardless of who the opponent is. And it hasn’t always been like that, and I think our team is earning that. I think our team is appreciative of it. We don’t take it for granted.”

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About the Contributor
Luke Lazarczyk, sports writer
Sports editor for 2023-24. Previously sports editor for 2022-23 and writer for 2021-22.
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