Around and about at the Final Four.
Case Of Mistaken Identity
Blue and white, a telltale sign of a UConn fan at the Final Four ... or so you'd think. Friday's open practices were free to the public and filled with locals in their Dallas Cowboys best. Blue and white hats, T-shirts and jackets, it was hard to tell the Huskies from the Cowboys from far away, except for the guy in the Emmitt Smith jersey and cowboy hat.
Eat Like A 'Champion'
Jonathan, we're not in Connecticut anymore. The food at AT&T Stadium certainly has Southern flare. The Champion is two Texas-shaped waffles stacked with hand-battered fried chicken, onion rings, pepper jack cheese, maple mayonnaise and bacon at a price not yet listed on the screens. The Texas Triple Double combines a burger, a fried chicken sandwich and bacon into one sandwich for $20.
Ryan Boatwright's mother Tanesha sat just a few rows back in her bright pink sweatsuit as her son practiced for Saturday's game. "I'm excited, not nervous at all," she said. "I'm looking forward to Ryan having a good game and staying healthy." She said she was covered in chills watching him practice, from what she at first thought was cold air, but then realized she was just having a "mommy moment."
"To see him warming up after everything we've been through is unexplainable," she said.
She is predicting a UConn win, but if the Huskies don't get it, she is still grateful for the journey and the example Ryan has been to his younger siblings.
Florida Fan Not Scared
Gunnar Brooks, 18, of Mansfield Texas, is a lifelong Florida fan excited to have his team on his home turf. He wore his Gators jersey and hat to catch the team in open practice Friday. He says he's not worried about the Huskies. "That first game, one-point game, Shabazz Napier gets the buzzer-beater. We didn't have a full squad. With the full squad running, I feel confident." He predicts a 62-54 Florida win. Scottie Wilbekin had 15 points in the Florida loss in December but hurt his ankle with 3:01 to play and never returned. Kasey Hill, who avareges 5.5 points and 3.2 assists, missed the entire game.
Almost As Good As Gampel
UConn fans Beth and Tom Iarusso of Berlin have traveled to six Final Fours. They said the trip into North Texas was difficult because of severe weather; four tornadoes reportedly touched down in North Texas Thursday. But the energy and excitement of Final Fours make all the travel worth it.
"It's almost as good as Gampel Pavillion," Tom said. "You can't beat 75,000 people."
Their favorite Final Four memory? "Beating Duke." The Huskies won their first title in 1999 against the Blue Devils
The Empire State Building's tower lights will be in the colors of the four NCAA Final Four men's teams Saturday from sunset to 2 a.m. The east side of the building will be in UConn blue and white.Copyright © 2015, CT Now