Fans Head Out to Catch NCAA Action - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Fans Head Out to Catch NCAA Action

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It's a big night for basketball fans in the QCA as the Iowa State Cyclones take on the North Carolina Central Eagles in the NCAA tournament.

All of the fans who have headed to local sports bars to watch the NCAA games have helped boost business around here.

Managers at several bars we talked to say they've had a lot of extra people coming in lately to watch the exciting games.

Friday night was no exception.

Hours before the big ISU game, some ISU fans were already showing up to Van's Pizza Pub and Grill in Davenport to get good seats near one of the many TVs, and much bigger crowds were expected closer to game time.

Of course, some of the more die hard ISU fans made the trip to San Antonio to catch the action first hand.

But even those who stayed at home to watch at sports bars across the QCA say they wouldn't miss these games for anything.

"It's been really fun to watch the overtime games and all the games," said Garet Huston, an ISU fan who was watching the games at Buffalo Wild Wings on Friday afternoon.

"It's just been an amazing tournament. It's really hard to predict this year," said another Buffalo Wild Wings customer, Gregg Machetta.

"This has been a great tournament. More overtimes than ever before. Plus, you get to get out and see friends and family," agreed another customer, Nick Hansel.

Local businesses say they're loving the boost in traffic March Madness has brought.

Managers at Van's say business is up 25 percent since the tournament started.

It's a welcome change after harsh winter weather made for slow sales over the last several months.

Businesses across the QCA report a similar boom in customers coming in because of NCAA basketball.

"We stay open late, we stay open as late as people want us to and they can enjoy the games as late as they want. So people seem to love it," said Audrey Machovec, an employee at Hall of Fame Pizza and Wings in Bettendorf.

"I think it's great that our customers have a great place to come and hang out, enjoy great specials and watch any game they want to see and just spend time with good friends," said Joe Sawyer, a bartender and manager at Van's.

Of course, fans say they love having an Iowa team to root for in the tournament.

Local businesses saw extra traffic when the Hawkeyes played on Wednesday, too.

ISU fans were obviously hoping Friday's game would have a better outcome than Wednesday's.

The Iowa Hawkeyes lost Wednesday night in overtime to Tennessee.

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