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​AAC tournament boosting Hartford businesses

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HARTFORD - With 11 teams descending on Hartford and the fans of those teams in tow, the American Athletic Conference Men's Basketball tournament brings an influx of energy into Connecticut's capital city.

The Huskies scored a win over the University of South Florida Thursday night, advancing to the next round of the tournament against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Downtown, restaurants scored a win as well, benefitting from extra business from the tournament.

The tournament means that for at least one weekend, Connecticut is home to the entire conference and it's teams, from Tulsa to Tulane, from South Florida to Central Florida.

Eleven different downtown restaurants "sponsored" teams offering their dining rooms as "home bases".

Arch St. Tavern for example, was the home base for South Florida, Bear's Smokehouse BBQ

was the spot for Tulsa fans.

Of course, the Huskies had a home too and it was City Steam Brewery Cafe, where the alumni association was there for a pep rally type of atmosphere.

Two games preceded the marquee matchup Thursday, of UCONN vs. USF.

"It's great for the city, great for Connecticut, we're all about it," said UCONN alum, Ryan Eaton.

City Steam actually unveiled a special beer just for the tournament.
"We're excited - hosting the American Athletic Conference here in Hartford is a great boost for business - that we've experienced in the past few months with this weather pattern we've had," said City Steam spokesman, Andrew Smith.

Husky fans found there way to City Steam hours before the game.
"We were going to go to Black Bear, but then we realized that was the Cincinnati bar, so we busted our but down here to have a good time," said Jeff Frantz.

Speaking of "the wrong bar", FoxCT spotted bearcat fans at none other than Bear's Smokehouse. The only problem? That's supposed to be Tulsa's spot.

"We're kind of exploring hartford and it's great, it's treating us well," said Cincinnati band member, Hannah Lewallen.

Rivalries aside, playing host is a slam dunk for Hartford.

"It's a boost to our restaurants, our economy, our hotels and also just to make sports a more vibrant part of our city," said Mayor Pedro Segarra.

Now it's just up to the Huskies to show the conference what UCONN Country is all about.

"They've got the home court advantage so…. we'll see what happens," said PJ Grant.

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