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      SU fans gather on eve of big game

      Syracuse University alumni, fans, family and friends packed Erie Boulevard, the SU Hill and downtown on Friday night as they got ready for Saturday TMs matchup with Villanova. The Carrier Dome will host the largest on campus college crowd in basketball history on Saturday, and the game sold out weeks ago.

      "We get a group of 27 or so alumni and friends that come up for the game, said Robert Unger from Erie, Pennsylvania. We picked this game when the schedule came out, it just so happens it's the biggest game of the year."

      In a break between taking calls at the ~Cuse Cares telethon, SU legend John Wallace said he couldn TMt wait to see what the Dome would look like.

      "It's that type of game. We're in the best conference in the whole country, the Big East. We're the best team in the conference and they're the second best team in the conference. It's going to be a great game, said Wallace.

      The most hard core fans in have to be the SU students who have been camping out in the Dome since Wednesday night. They TMve an impromptu village made up of air mattresses, sleeping bags and pillows - all to get first crack at the best seats in the student section.

      "As insane as this whole thing sounds - at least we're inside - but it's one of those experiences, said sophomore Nephtaly Rivera. I don't know if this atmosphere will happen again."

      To pass the time, there were card games, power for laptop computers and even some Syracuse basketball - on an Xbox video game machine. It's one way to get good seats, but it wasn TMt for everybody. .

      Back in the day we'd camp out, said Robert Unger from SU TMs class of 1990. But his wife Lauren said she wouldn TMt do it today and was glad she wouldn TMt have to camp out for tickets anymore.

      Spending the better part of two days on a concrete floor does earn you some respect. Orange players Kris Joseph and Arinze Onuaku came by and autographed shirts for the students waiting in line.

      The game is sold out and Carrier Dome staff has recommended all 34,616 fans plan ahead and arrive early. The gates open at 7:00 p.m. for a 9:00 p.m. tip-off.