Hoop Cat fans descend on Columbus for big game

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCAX) - March Madness is underway and both the Men’s and Women’s UVM basketball teams are getting ready to hit the court. The women play UConn Saturday in Storrs, Connecticut and the men play Marquette Friday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio State’s home turf is usually a sea of red, but during March Madness, every color of the rainbow is in Columbus. And on Thursday, the Green Mountain’s green and gold were on display

Craig Popp, a New Englander-turned Midwesterner lives just minutes away from the Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus. “Been a Vermont fan pretty much my entire life, even before Sorrentine hit the shot,” Popp said.

The former Massachusetts resident has seen the Catamounts 10 times and this time he’s hoping they win right in his backyard. “Watching the brackets, I knew there were games in Columbus. I was praying maybe we’ll get the Catamounts here and it was one of the last games they showed in the broadcast. The fact that they said Columbus, Ohio -- I was very excited,” Popp said.

And Popp wasn’t the only Cat fan watching them practice Thursday. UVM alum Brent Havey moved to Columbus right after he graduated. “It’s amazing, yeah. They’ve been nine times. I’ve seen them win once, I’d like to get another one,” Harvey said.

And he’s dedicated, too. In addition to watching the Cats practice, he’s taking off from work Friday. “They’re going to have a party at noon before the game and hopefully we win and come back Sunday,” Havey said.

But on Saint Patrick’s day weekend, with eight teams passing through town, it’s hard to know which one fans are rooting for.

We’ll hear from Vermont players on the Channel 3 Morning News Friday.

You can watch the big game Friday on Channel 3 at 2:45 p.m.

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