The UConn Huskies spent their final minutes on campus Tuesday before leaving for Texas, where they take on the Florida Gators Saturday.
One by one, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and an exuberant DeAndre Daniels boarded the bus, for their last road trip of the season, hoping to return as National Champions.
“Our rich tradition in basketball it shows everybody. The woman are constantly in final fours, the men are constantly top ranks in the country. So you’re always going to get a good game with Connecticut,” says Napier.
Niels Giffey moved to Connecticut from Berlin, Germany to join the team a few years ago.
“It’s just so amazing to live on a college campus for four years and create those bonds on and off the court,” says Giffey.
The Huskies are trying to repeat their 2011 championship success.
They’ve already boarded the bus and are headed to Dallas but on campus, students are still caught up in the frenzy of Final Four “fever.”
“It’s been crazy,” says sophomore softball player, Alyssa Gardea, who is a UConn Country transplant from California.
“Back home people are like… it must be crazy there – you must love it – honestly like I admire the sports here,” she says.
In the heart of campus, the hearts and minds of students seem to be focused on this weekend’s matchups.
“We’re excited, I think even like Thursday night and Friday night we’re just going to be getting rowdy and Saturday night of course…watching our boys and giving them good juju from Connecticut and keeping our fingers crossed,” says UConn Senior, Isaiah Farrow.
Students say the achievement of Huskies basketball trickles down to the rest of campus.
“My newsfeeds on my twitter timeline – outrageous – it’s unreal but it’s amazing. I’m proud to be a husky because of it,” says Gardea.
Farrow says the excitement isn’t limited to students.
“I probably shouldn’t say this but Professors are like canceling classes for Monday, so everyone’s doing all they can.”