Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama basketball fans make first trip to Final Four

CW / Riley Thompson
Fans attend the Final Four playoff game between Alabama and UConn on April 6 in Glendale, AZ.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Although the trip from Tuscaloosa to Arizona was 1,420 miles for the Alabama faithful, crimson and white were well represented at State Farm Stadium on Saturday night for the Final Four.   

Furthermore, Alabama’s athletic program became just the second school in history to participate in both the College Football Playoff and the Final Four in the same calendar year. As a result, Alabama fans had the opportunity to travel to both Pasadena, California, for the Rose Bowl and Glendale, near Phoenix, for the Final Four.  

Jack Horton, a Tuscaloosa native and a graduate student in the Master of Business Administration program at Alabama, was one of these lucky fans.  

“I was able to go to both the Rose Bowl and here [the Final Four],” Horton said. “I’ve just been waiting for the Final Four for a long time as an Alabama fan.” 

This idea of the Final Four being a “can’t miss” event for Alabama fans was a sentiment shared by many who were experiencing the deepest tournament run by any Alabama men’s basketball team. Jon Smith, who currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended the University of Alabama from 1984-1991 as both an undergraduate and a law student, echoed this. 

“You know, you just can’t miss the Final Four when it’s the first one. … I hate to travel, but you know I’m not going to not do it,” Smith said.  

As someone who was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Horton has been surrounded by Alabama athletics his entire life and the success in football that has come along with it. On the other hand, Alabama basketball for the majority of his life has been seeking that same level of success, and now that the team had finally punched its ticket to a Final Four, he had to be there. 

“I saw the dog days of Alabama basketball, so I just couldn’t miss it [the Final Four],” Horton said. 

Even though many students paid upward of $1,000 for flights to and from Phoenix for the game, a major reason many students chose to go was the affordability of the tickets. On Monday, UA athletics in a partnership with Pizza Hut held a raffle for 700 $40 student tickets that gave students the opportunity to not only watch the Crimson Tide from the floor of State Farm Stadium, but also the first semifinal game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the North Carolina State Wolfpack.  

Carsen Piacsek, who grew up in Wisconsin and currently attends Alabama as a graduate student in the MBA program was one of these lucky fans who won a student ticket. 

“One thing about the Final Four that was really enticing was the student ticket price of $40,” Piacsek said. “So you know that makes up for a lot of travel costs.” 

Although for Carson Glover, who grew up in Hoover, Alabama, and is currently a sophomore majoring in accounting in the Culverhouse College of Business at Alabama, the cost of traveling to Phoenix to catch the first Final Four in program history was an afterthought.  

“I was going to be here regardless,” said Glover. “Alabama made it [to the Final Four] for the first time; we decided we had to go.”

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