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Characters On And Off The Court As NCAA Tournament Returns To Sacramento


College basketball's biggest tournament returned to Sacramento for the first time in a decade on Friday.

People from all over the country flocked the Golden 1 Center to see the opening of March Madness. Bob Mierow, for example, is visiting from Seattle and was having a great time standing in line.

"I got a tradition: I always buy my son a T-shirt from the team with the strangest nickname," Mierow says. "This time, it's the Kent State Golden Flashers." (Of course, the team is the Golden Flashes.)

Moffitt: "How old's your son?"

Mierow: "He's 47 now."

031717MieroMierow looks off the side in the Golden 1 Center. He said he likes to get his son a sports jersey with the strangest-sounding name whenever he goes out to watch games. Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Nearby, Dan Wilson was looking around at the new Golden 1 Center.

"First time I've been here. I think it's beautiful," Wilson says. "Best thing I like about it? No plywood."

Wilson intentionally did not wear green for St. Patrick's Day lest someone think he's an Oregon fan. He's rooting for UCLA.

It was obvious to tell who he rooted for, but that was not the case for some other fans. Craig Walters, on the other hand, made the drive from Reno wearing clothing from two different schools, neither of whom is playing in Sacramento this weekend.

Moffitt: "Who are you rooting for?"

Walters: "UNR, of course, but they lost last night, so now I've got to root for my second team which is North Carolina."

031717WaltersScott Walters, left, poses with his father Craig Walters, right, at the Golden 1 Center. Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The tourney offers a geography lesson of sorts every year as fans learn about schools they've never heard of. Oregon, obviously located on the West Coast, played Iona, which, people outside the East Coast might not know is in New York. The geography lesson further complicates when you find out they are both in this year's Midwest bracket.

Creighton, Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Kansas State, and Kent State are also playing. The winners of these games will play against each other on Sunday.

Dan Fouts, a former NFL quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, was also present at the Golden 1 Center. He described the particular situation the Midwest bracket.

"We play in a tough conference, what we call the 'Conference of Champions'. I think they have to overcome the Boucher injury," Fouts says. "They fought back well against Arizona and made it a game at the end, so I like our chances today.'" 

Original Post: The UC Davis Men's Basketball Team is getting ready to play the Kansas Jayhawks in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first round of the NCAA Division One Tournament.

This is the Aggies' first-ever appearance in the March Madness bracket, and the first time in 10 years Sacramento is hosting Divison One tournament games.

The team beat North Carolina Central back on Wednesday during the preliminary rounds to get to this point, but they are the clear underdog coming in against Tulsa.

Crowds are expected in downtown Sacramento this afternoon and evening as NCAA crowds head to the Golden 1 Center for basketball games.

-Capital Public Radio Staff

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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