The Cave was pure madness on March 16 as students, faculty and staff crowded in to watch the ETSU men’s basketball team compete in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
ETSU Student Activities invited the whole campus to watch ETSU play number four seed University of Florida at the Amway center in Orlando, Florida, at 3:10 p.m. in The Cave in the Culp Center.
Students showed up early, dressed in blue and gold, to watch the Bucs compete in March Madness for the first time in seven years.
ETSU provided snacks and beverages.
With large screens set up in the corner and every television in The Cave playing the game, people were watching the Bucs play their heart out.
Sarah Parker is a member of the ETSU marching band. She went to cheer on the Bucs in The Cave with her friend because the band could only bring a set number of students down to Orlando.
“I just think it’s cool how much school spirit this has brought to our campus,” Parker said over the cheers. “I’ve followed the Bucs all year, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Florida looked strong in the beginning, but by halftime, the Gators were only leading by one point.
During halftime, the students and staff in The Cave chanted and talked amongst themselves.
As a fellow ETSU student athlete, Jackson Trawick was excited to watch the game. His father and uncles attended ETSU, so he has been a Buccaneers fan his whole life.
“The Bucs started out shell-shocked I think,” Trawick said. “Then once they got over the large crowd, they definitely pulled themselves together.”
After halftime, the Bucs took the lead and were up by one point.
The crowd in the Culp went wild, but Florida quickly took back the lead.
Florida won the game 80-65 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament while the Bucs returned home.
“It’s really unfair to me that the game was in the state of Florida,” Trawick said. “It’s so close to the University of Florida so the crowd was definitely biased towards the Gators.
However, this game got us a lot of national attention, which is really awesome, but I was really hoping for that upset.”