How I Attended My First March Madness Game (and, Gonzaga Advances to The Final Four)

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Excited Gonzaga fans at SAP Center to see the West Region Final, March 2017

If you’re a lifelong college basketball 🏀 fan and get to pick your first in-person experience, it may as well be a regional final, right?

While I don’t root for a particular school, I’ve admired the solid play of Mark Few’s Gonzaga teams. I watched players like Ronny Turiaf, Dan Dickau, Robert Sacre, Kelly Olynyk and Austin Daye play for Gonzaga, then make it to the NBA.

Watching the West Regional Final. In Person! 💪

The West Regional’s Sweet Sixteen games were played in San Jose, California, which is a short drive from my home. On Thursday night, Xavier and Gonzaga won their Sweet Sixteen games to advance to Saturday’s regional final.

On Friday, I saw my opportunity: I hopped on to the StubHub website and purchased a ticket.

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Downtown San Jose: the Gonzaga Band prepares to board the bus to nearby SAP Center.

To service fans who purchased tickets, StubHub set up a Last Minute Services station at The Hyatt Place, a short walk from the arena.

I parked the car, then headed over to pick up my ticket.

On the way, I bumped into the Gonzaga Band.

It was more than two hours before tip-off, but I could tell they were ready to rock 🎵🎺🥁

Note: Follow the Gonzaga Band on Twitter.

Thanks, StubHub

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Picked up my ticket at the StubHub Last Minute Services station.

The personnel at the StubHub Last Minute Services station run an efficient system 🙏. I showed my ID, grabbed my ticket and was off and running. I headed out on the short walk to SAP Center, where the game would be played.

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A crowd gathers outside SAP Center prior to the West Regional Final, March 2017

Gonzaga Advances to Its First Final Four 👏

Gonzaga played great. The early part of the first half was even, but Gonzaga built a lead as we headed into halftime. There was a crazy, 70-foot shot made by Xavier as the halftime buzzer sounded, but officials ruled that it came too late.

Gonzaga went on a quick run to start the second half, and never looked back. On offense, the key to their success was ball movement that led to open three-point shots.

Final score: Gonzaga 83, Xavier 59.

Video Footage from the Game

Shot on iPhone 😉

Be sure to catch the very end of this video, when Mark Few comes off the ladder after cutting the net. He’s helped by Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski.

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