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March Madness arrives in Salt Lake City

March Madness fans flood SLC for NCAA basketball (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) It's here.

March Madness has arrived in Salt Lake City. The last time this national event came to town was four years ago. Now crowds are coming from across the country to root for their favorite team.

"Some of us flew in from Orlando, from New Jersey,” said Northwestern fan Bill Rosner.

Eight teams are in town for Thursday’s kick off of Round One. Those teams are Gonzaga, South Dakota, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, St. Mary’s, Virginia Commonwealth University, Arizona and North Dakota. The big story here is the appearance of the Northwestern Wildcats who are making school history by making it into the NCAA basketball tournament for the very first time.

Rosner said that their first tournament game is "ironic because the first NCAA tournament was played on our campus in Patten Gym back in the '30s. We are incredibly excited."

Matt Brown also wore purple to support the Northwestern Wildcats.

"Oh it's incredible. I remember the bleachers being half empty, winning no games in the Big 10, now we are in the tournament," Brown said.

But there's more than just basketball. These crowds are spending money, and that includes at nearby restaurants.

"Our lunches usually consist of people just that work around here at the gateway and having a tournament around here really helps us out," Costa Vida manager Jose Lazalde said.

And it's not going away after one day; the winners of the four games play on Saturday.

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