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Upset City: Providence hosts bracket busters

March Madness in Providence. It doesn't get any better than the first and second rounds of college basketball's unique playoff system. And the Dunkin' Donuts Center was home to some of the most thrilling games and notable upsets so far this tournament. 

The upstart town was pulling for the upstart teams. The crowd erupted every time the underdog, the Ohio Bobcats, made one of their many circus shot three-pointers. Robert Morris and Saint Mary's also felt the local energy as they tried to dethrone the Villanova Wildcats. 'Nova barely survived an OT thriller in the first game, but lost in the second.

Each squad brought its share of wacky fans, who provided their teams with a spark of energy. The San Diego State posse had some of the wildest, almost pushing their underdog Aztecs to an upset of Tennessee. Four alums decided to make the trip together — two from New York and two from California. They said they barely had enough cash for the trip, but the shirtless quartet, who sported colorful wigs as accessories and had "SDSU" painted across their chests, made it well worth it as their spirit was visible from around the arena.

With Providence College running the event on behalf of the NCAA, the school asked media relations professionals in the Providence area to volunteer to run the two days of basketball. Brown's Director of Sports Information Chris Humm, along with Lindsey Maurer, assistant sports information director, and Isaac Goodling, sports information coordinator, volunteered. 

Humm was the moderator for all of the press conferences, while Goodling and Maurer helped in photo support. "It's tiring," Humm said, "but for those of us in the athletic communications profession, working an NCAA basketball tournament is a thrill."

Even some of Brown's players were able to attend the action last week. Tri-captain Adrian Williams '11 said he knows two players on the University of Richmond team and was able to get tickets through them. 

"There is really nothing like the atmosphere of college basketball, especially during March Madness," Williams said. 

He felt Brown's squad could hang with some of the tournament teams, especially after watching Cornell's run. "Both of our Cornell games, we felt like we really competed for an extended period of time and had a chance," he said. "Cornell is a sweet sixteen team, which speaks volumes about our league."

Tri-captain Peter Sullivan '11 has been watching the games and also was happy to see Brown's Ivy League opponent enjoying success. It "is great for the Ivy League because of all the positive publicity they have received, and they have been really fun to watch, especially because we have played them so many times," he said. "I hope they continue to be successful, and I will be rooting for them the rest of the tournament."

Both Williams and Sullivan are unofficially bracket-busted. Each thought Kansas would win the National Championship. "The tournament definitely isn't turning out how I thought it would," Williams said. "But does it ever?"



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