Virginia, Texas Tech fans soak up pregame fun before Championship tip-off

The 3-D tournament bracket on Nicollet Mall says it all: only Texas Tech and Virginia remain. 

Pregame parties and meetups set the tone in the hours leading up to tipoff. Texas Tech alumni gathered inside Target Field's Delta 360 Club. About 1,500 fans were estimated to have attended, creating a sea of red. Curt Langford, the CEO of the Texas Tech Alumni Association, says the Red Raiders “come loud and proud.”

“It’s amazing,” said Langford. “Texas Tech is in the Final Four, but we don’t need to be surprised anymore. We got a great coach and a great fan base and it’s been a long time coming.”

Langford says he’s taking the day’s sunny weather as a good omen.

“Sun's up, guns up and we’re ready to rock n’ roll tonight,” said Langford.

Also filling up the downtown, were the Cavaliers faithful. It’s not only the team on the court, who have bonded over basketball. Haider Arshad, Anand Joshi and Stevie Farmer forged their friendship almost a decade ago at UVA like many others in town for the Final Four.

“When we went to games our first year of college, there were a couple hundred students,” said Farmer. “By the time we left UVA won its first ACC, now being at the Final Four, we’re seeing it come to fruition.”

“It’s absolutely going to be something we are going to remember win or lose,” said Arshad.

“It means everything we used to go to the games all the time, this program means a lot to us,” said Joshi.

It all comes to a head in the championship game, which tips off at 8:20 p.m.