When the cameras pan the crowd at tonight’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament game between Wichita State University and Notre Dame, you might see one Shocker sign among the sea of Fighting Irish.
On Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Peuchen was still trying to decide what kind of sign she’d make to hold up during the game.
“I’m still trying to decide, either one that says ‘Wheat Sixteen’ or ‘There’s No Place Like Home — Shocker Nation,’ ” Peuchen said.
“I’ll be sitting in the Notre Dame student section — the tickets are really cheap — but I’m going to cheer for the Kansas team,” she said. “It’s where I am, versus where my heart is.”
Because of where she’ll be sitting, she said, she was trying to find some middle ground between being bland and upsetting those around her.
Peuchen graduated from Southeast of Saline High School in 2010, graduated from Newman University in Wichita in 2014 and is now working on her doctorate in chemistry at Notre Dame.
She said her friends at Notre Dame “have known since Day One, even before basketball season, that I was a WSU fan.”
When brackets for the tournament were announced last week, Peuchen said, “we were looking at the brackets and thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if they ended up playing each other?’ ”
WSU all the way
While she admits it’s “really hypothetical” that Wichita State would win a national championship, she does have the Shockers going all the way in the bracket she filled out.
“I have them playing Notre Dame and beating Notre Dame,” she said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see them playing each other.”
Peuchen said she took some WSU T-shirts and sweatshirts with her to Notre Dame, and “I’ve been wearing some every day. The kids I teach know I’m a Shocker fan, and everyone at Notre Dame is really respectful. They come from all over, so this isn’t unusual.”
Tonight’s 6:15 (CDT) game is in Cleveland, which Peuchen said is about a four-hour drive from Notre Dame. That means she won’t get home until the wee hours Friday morning.
“I’m teaching a class Friday, so the kids better show up,” she said.