HOUSTON -- Saturday night, Virginia Commonwealth lost to Butler, 70-62, in the Final Four, ending one of the most improbable runs in NCAA history. Rams fans that made the trip from Richmond to Houston saw their team fall just one win short of the national title game, but don't feel too bad for them -- hundreds of VCU students still received an unbelievable deal.
Each of the four teams in the Final Four were allotted approximately 800 seats for students, which were distributed via ticket lottery. The lucky winners at Butler, Kentucky and Connecticut paid $25 per ticket, good for both of Saturday's games and Monday night's championship game. That alone sounds like a good deal, given the hundreds of dollars regular fans could pay for a seat on the re-sale market.But add in the cost of a flight, lodging or gas for a road trip, and it's turning into a trip that could push four figures.
While the students from those three schools were scrounging for cash so they could accept their winning tickets, the lucky VCU students only needed to figure out which brand of face paint to buy. VCU, in honor of the team's first Final Four trip, decided to pay for all of the students' major expenses. For just the cost of the $25 ticket, the Rams student faithful were hooked up with charter buses and put up at the Westin Galleria Hotel through Tuesday.
The Rams were the lowest-seeded team ever to make a Final Four, but they had swagger for days. Never once did a VCU player sound shocked (or Shaka-d) that his team had upset a higher seed. It just seems fitting that the team that balled bigger than expected would show up big for its fans, too.
Saturday was the end of the line for VCU, but for the students spending championship weekend in Texas, it was well worth the price of a T-shirt.