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‘We’re also good at sports’: March Madness trip to Louisville means breaking stereotypes for Princeton fans

“Princeton knows how to have fun. We’re not all just big nerds,” Barbara Chester said.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the KFC Yum! Center welcomed in 22,000 for March Madness Friday night, excitement continues to brew for students, fans and alum of Princeton University.

“For everyone who loves a good Cinderella story, Princeton is the team to cheer for,” said Princeton alumnus Steve Shueh, who traveled to Louisville with his kids for the NCAA Tournament.

While fans of Alabama, one of the heavy favorites in the tournament, lined the streets of downtown Louisville screaming, ‘roll tide’ – it was supporters in orange who wanted to debunk myths about their school.

“We’re just putting it out there that we’re also good at sports, it’s not just academics,” said Kelly Gallagher, a senior at Princeton and also a member of the school band which traveled for the big game.

Gallagher and five fellow band members ate their pre-game meal at the popular Troll Pub restaurant and bar.

They’re elated to perform in front of a crowd of 20,000-plus, an experience they typically don’t get.

“I think there is a sort of conception about Ivy league schools that we’re really up-tight, and I think the band is a really good opportunity to let loose and sort of have a really different experience of just being able to have fun and be silly, either on the field or in front of 22,000 people,” said Thomas Buckley, a freshman.

Meanwhile, many former students from Princeton’s class of ’97 reunited to watch the game nearby at the Moxy hotel in downtown Louisville. Several of their kids came along too, dressed from top to bottom in orange and black -- the school’s colors.

“Princeton knows how to have fun. We’re not all just big nerds,” said Barbara Chester, also class of ’97.

The beauty of the NCAA Tournament coming to Louisville expands beyond the economic benefit.

It puts the city, one also often overlooked, on the map for thousands from out of town to see and enjoy.

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