The NCAA Tournament gives students an opportunity to ditch class (or spend spring break) following their school, visit another city and celebrate for the weekend. It also gives alumni and other fans an opportunity to gather, don the colors, sing the Alma mater and celebrate their college days.
During First and Second Round games played this weekend at the Bradley Center, alumni groups from all eight participating schools will host events at area bars.
If your alma mater -- or favorite team -- is in town this weekend and you don't have tickets, the following schools are hosting events and parties:
Minnesota -- The Minnesota Alumni Association and Athletic Department will host a "'Sota Social," Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m. At Bootleggers, 1025 N. Old World 3rd St. Head coach Tubby Smith is expected to speak during a short program and there will be snacks along with a cash bar and the Minnesota Band.
Friday, fans can gather at Bootleggers for breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. With a pep rally to follow at 9 a.m., prior to the Golden Gophers' game with Xavier.
Oakland -- Fans can watch the Grizzlies' First Round game Friday at Buckhead Saloon. A pre-game gathering is scheduled from Noon-1:30 p.m. With a viewing party to follow for those without game tickets. For more information, call the Oakland University Alumni Association hotline at (248) 364-6140.
Pittsburgh -- The Panthers' official pre-game pep rally starts at 10:30 a.m. At Molly Cools, 1110 N. Old World 3rd St. Fans can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, cash bar and special appearances by the Pittsburgh pep band, cheerleaders and Roc the Panther. Those without tickets can stick around for the game and watch on one of 11 plasma televisions.
Xavier -- Cheer on the Musketeers at McGillycuddy's, 1135 N. Water St., beginning at 9 a.m. For $15, fans can enjoy a breakfast buffet with coffee and juice. A full cash bar will also be available. Register online or by calling Darlene Gilligan at (513) 745-3192.
Should Xavier advance, a mass will be held Saturday at 5:15 p.m. at St. John's Cathedral, 812 N. Jackson St. with a pre-game event at McGillycuddy's, beginning 2½ hours before game time.
Ohio State -- At this time, no pep rally has been planned for the Buckeyes' First Round game, but Buckhead Saloon will serve as the official Ohio State fan gathering establishment.