Well before fans on the morning shift were let into the Tank the New Mexico Lobos (playing in the night cap against Montana this evening) were out on the floor for one final morning practice. When the doors opened just after 10 a.m., UTEP faithful, Butler boosters, Murray State maniacs and Vanderbilt fans flooded in.
“It’s beautiful here… we’re going to spend a couple of days here,” says Filomeno Salazar of El Paso. As a matter of fact, most of the folks we chatted with are here for the weekend, no matter what. You may already know that Vanderbilt Commodores are from Nashville but not know, which U.S. state is home to Murray State.
Sam Underwood informs, “Murray, Kentucky is in Western Kentucky on the Tennessee border,” and Racers fans are rabid and well traveled. “I go to almost all the games… I missed three of the games this year that’s all,” says Underwood. His team got a last-second shot for the win sending Vanderbilt back to Tennessee.
If you were wondering, just who was enjoying a cold beer in the A.M.? Nobody… the taps are off at the Tank per NCAA rules. One other quirk today, to keep everything on schedule for TV, the arena staff had just 25 minutes to get all the fans in the building for the first two games out of the building -- before letting in folks for the two evening games.
“Everybody’s excited, everybody’s enthusiastic, so in a sense this is part of the fun, part of the excitement that people will experience today,” says HP Pavilion general manager Jim Goddard. Just like the fans who arrived with enthusiasm bright and early, the late crowd settled in for some fun on the night shift featuring Marquette, Washington, New Mexico and Montana.