Salt Lake City hosted four games on the opening day of the NCAA college basketball tournament. Fans came from all over the country to see their teams in action.
A sea of basketball fans waited to get into the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Thursday, proudly wearing their team colors. Most of the crowd was sporting the blue and red of Gonzaga, but there was plenty of purple for Northwestern University, including from Michael Falk and John Schriner. They came from Chicago and Cleveland to watch the March Madness debut of their alma mater.
“Hoping for a Northwestern victory,” said Falk. “It’d be fantastic.”
“And a shot at Gonzaga,” Schriner added.
Falk disclosed his plan if Northwestern wins its game against Vanderbilt.
“I only got tickets to the first game, but if Northwestern wins, then I’ll probably cash in some more marriage pesos and stay another couple days,” he said.
The Northwestern fans got their wish—the eighth-seeded Wildcats bested the Commodores 68-66 and will face first-seeded Gonzaga on Saturday.
Caitlyn and Michael Frakes are going to school in Laramie, Wyoming but they’re Gonzaga fans. They’re on spring break and decided to make the six-hour drive and watch their team play South Dakota State.
“It was close enough and we enjoy watching basketball,” said Caitlyn Frakes. “We thought it would be a fun experience with a good atmosphere.”
None of Utah’s college teams managed to make it into the tournament this year. The University of Utah and BYU were both knocked out of the first round of the NIT this week.
There are two more NCAA games at Vivint on Saturday.