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National media attention good for Wichita State

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March 25, 2013|by Pilar Pedraza | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — Kicking a #1 seed out of the NCAA Tournament has made Wichita State the talk of not only Kansas but the whole basketball viewing nation.

"It's really cool to watch the sports channels and hear about Wichita State.  It's just cool to have our team be known everywhere," said WSU student Joe Traffas.

Being the topic of nationwide headlines is something WSU isn't used to, but wouldn't mind getting used to it.  The attention is coming from across the country and it's not just your traditional sports outlets.

"Great news.  It's great exposure," said Wade Robinson, WSU's Vice President of Campus Life and University Relations.

The Wichita State Shockers are one of the hottest tickets in the country this week.

"Everyone always thinks of K-State and KU as the big colleges at Kansas, so WSU kind of gets ignored," said Hayley Whinery, a WSU English Major. "So it's really nice for people to have their attention to WSU now."

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The team and the university aren't used to this kind of attention.

"ESPN, they were talking about Wichita State," said Traffas.  "And on all their broadcasts, all the channels they're playing the tournament games on."

Even the New York Times is talking about the Shockers and the team's great attitude on the court.  Not to mention the national celebrities who've taken a moment to praise the team online and in person.

"This you'll remember for the rest of your lives," said NFL player Tim Tebow when he stepped onto the team bus at Wichita's MidContinent Airport Sunday.  Tebow, in Wichita on a refueling stop, spent several minutes speaking to the Shocker team.  The coach's son recorded the speech on his camera phone and later tweeted it.

But will all this attention matter after the tournament's over?

"I don't really know, as far as duration," said Robinson.  "You'll see the clips of their game with Gonzaga well into the future.  More than months.  Even next year's tournament and beyond."

"It could help raise money for it," said Traffas, meaning the university.  "Just having everyone know who we are."

"I think people will want to come here more," said Whinery.

The university has a service that actually tracks how often it appears in the media.  On a normal day the school gets about 100 mentions.  Monday it had more than 1,400.  That number will only climb if WSU wins its Sweet Sixteen game later this week.

If you haven't already gotten your tickets to the Sweet Sixteen game on Thursday, WSU is only selling them until 5 p.m. Monday evening, so it has time to process the sales before fans start leaving for Los Angeles.  After that, you'll have to buy them directly from the NCAA or at StubHub.com.

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