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PHOTO BY LISA FLORKOWSKI

Every Hoo down in Hooville liked basketball a lot. For, on game day, they knew. ...All the Hoo girls and boys would wake up bright and early. They'd rush for their doors! And then! Oh, the chaos!

Camping out last season for a men's basketball game was a combination of a little stamina and a lot of luck. An unordered system made for madness. When the doors of University Hall opened before games, everyone sprinted to grab the best available seats. Many of the fans who had been camped out the longest were beaten to the better seats by those with quicker foot speed or, at least, fresher spirits.

But the Grinch won't be able to steal the spirit from Hooville this winter. During the preseason, the University's student governing body lent some method to Hooville's madness. This year, they'll be no more mad rush of campers for seats. Instead, line monitors will ensure that the best spots in U-Hall go the best fans, the ones who camped out the longest.

So Hooville will be a little different this season, but no less of an unforgettable experience. For those unfamiliar with the process (especially first years), the line monitors have compiled a helpful list of tips for making residence in Hooville.

1. Follow the rules.

This season, 12 diehard fans, dubbed the Hoo Crew, will ensure that seats are handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis, so longtime campers won't have their work go for naught.

But don't think you can fool these line monitors. They'll keep you in line with numbered wristbands, which will decide who get into U-Hall first. Then there's rules about group camping: Each group has to be made up entirely of University students and of no more than 10 people. Each group also must have at least one of its members present in line at all times, though there will be a grace period on game days, so campers can take care of the important stuff. Like taking down the tent. And showering, which should make everybody in Hooville a little happier.

2. Know your Hooville history.

Under coach Pete Gillen, Virginia has improved so dramatically that fans have been showing up to games in droves. Diehard fans made their mark on the basketball program last year by camping out for more than a week before playing such traditional rivals as Duke and North Carolina. From that, Hooville was created.

"I am a fourth year, and my first year I got to games about 30 minutes before game time and was able to walk right down to the floor to our seats," said Blair Putnam, one of last year's loyal fans chosen to serve as a line monitor this year. "It's awesome to see how basketball at U.Va. has changed in four years. I am almost glad that I got to see us struggle a little. It makes winning just a little more special."

3. Enjoy yourself.

Fans are looking forward to the camaraderie of the fans in the pre-game weeks and to pitching their own tents. The atmosphere is buzzing with excitement since Hooville is a social event in and of itself.

"Camping out itself should be an event that students want to become a part of," said Andrew Lilienthal, chair of Student Council's athletic affairs committee, which came up with the new rules for this season.

Last year "we had radio stations coming by, not to mention ESPN," line monitor Martin Radzio said. "BW3 came by with Wild Wings. We'd get pizza from Pete Gillen and doughnuts from Krispy Kreme in the morning. Players would come out and talk to everyone daily, which made it pretty interesting as well. Some night, campers would grill dinner. It was awesome. I can't wait."

4. Don't get discouraged.

Regardless of the number of tents, there has never been a case where those who waited for a while in line were turned away. Even if the line of tents is extensive, the student section has a sizable capacity.

5. Keep a schedule nearby.

"First years generally don't realize the season starts well before winter break," said John Steck, the author of Hooville's new guidelines. "The season is long, and it's important for everyone to get out to the early games, too."

6. Be prepared.

The nights get cold, and it often rains. Last year, many fans fell ill because they were not sufficiently ready to brave the elements. Also, new facilities and security policy dictates that backpacks will not be allowed inside the arena. Therefore, plan ahead because you will not want to leave your bag outside the whole game.

Virginia is posed for another spectacular winning season. After a stellar 20-9 season, including getting a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, Virginia is looking to better itself. The fans also will be in full force, aiming to better their own remarkable season of fan support from last year.

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