Miami fans scoop up Final Four shirts ahead of big game

The Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team is scheduled to head to Houston for the Final Four on Wednesday morning.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 2:50 PM EDT
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The Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team is scheduled to head to Houston for the Final Four on Wednesday morning.

WFLX has been on the Coral Gables campus to capture all of the energy and how the team is preparing for Connecticut ahead of this weekend’s big game.

The team has an open practice scheduled for Wednesday morning before buses depart the Watsco Center at 11:45 a.m. The public is welcome to attend the send-off to show their support for the team.

Meanwhile, Final Four shirts arrived on campus Tuesday and people swarmed staff to quickly get their hands on one.

One student grabbed one and said it was still hot coming out of the box.

"Every day we're expecting more and more products to come in," Donnice Peeples, a University of Miami campus store employee, said. "The excitement is just growing."

Some students said they are going to great lengths to make travel arrangements to Houston, flying out of Orlando or flying to Dallas and then driving because airfare is getting expensive.

Meanwhile, other 'Canes fans are staying in South Florida and are already planning watch parties.

"We're in the Final Four," student Marcel Vanhemert said. "I started crying when I found out."

"I did too. I was at the watch party here at the on-campus restaurant in the student center ... Sunday night," student Michael Muela said. "It got so emotional. I cried. We were all hugging each other and everything, it was awesome."

Vanhemert said this is probably the biggest sports-related event to happen at the school since 2001 when Miami won national championships in baseball and football.

The men's basketball team made it to the Elite Eight last year, and this year women's basketball also made a historic NCAA run, making it to the Elite Eight.

"We're obviously upset that the girls didn't make [the Final Four], but we're taking what we can, and taking the wins where we can," student Charly Hill said.

The University of Miami already sold out its 700 allotted student tickets, not counting the students, staff and other Miami fans who are making the trip to NRG Stadium in Houston.

"Everybody is going to Houston," Hill said.

And in true Miami fashion, don't be surprised to see Miami fans spilling onto the streets banging together kitchen pots and utensils if the team wins Saturday night.

"I think the entire city of Miami will lose its mind. Pots and pans, pots and pans, pots and pans," Muela and Vanhemert said.

After Wednesday's 10 a.m. practice, some of the players will speak about the game before the team heads to Houston.

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