By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The games may be two days away, but many basketball fans are already in Minneapolis. More than 70,000 fans will attend the Final Four games. That’s 4,000 more than attended the Super Bowl.

And they came ready to celebrate. WCCO’s Esme Murphy found Auburn fans Eric and Kristi Blackstock at Matt’s Bar in South Minneapolis. Kristi said,

“Everyone said to get a Jucy Lucy, and here we are to get one” Kristi Blackstock said.

The world-famous Jucy Lucy emporium has even designed their own souvenirs. Matt’s General Manager Amy Feriancek showed off a Final Four shirt designed just for the occasion.

Over lunch, the Blackstocks were talking Auburn fan enthusiasm.

“It’s crazy. If you know Toomer’s Corner it’s been rolled every weekend for the last four weeks,” Eric Blackstock said.

(If you didn’t know about Toomer’s Corner, WCCO looked it up. “Rolling” Toomer’s Corner consists of toilet papering a corner in Auburn in celebration.)

For all of you bargain hunters, WCCO found some deals right here right now in downtown Minneapolis. The discount items turned out to be last year’s Minneapolis Super Bowl merchandise, but still, a deal’s a deal. The rest of the items in the pop-up store — i.e. Final Four merchandise — is not discounted. The store is already doing a brisk business.

WCCO’s Esme Murphy found a father and son from New York City who are going to their 24th Final Four together.

“We were here in 2001. It was snowing and sleeting for five days,” Jeff Matty said.

“The first time I got introduced to your breezeways or whatever you call them. It was so cold and windy,” Bob Matty said before being corrected. “Skyways! I will try and remember that.”

The Schueffners from Stillwater were picking up souvenirs for their friends coming in from Auburn.

“We got one of those instant telegrams on Saturday, saying ‘we are coming is the room ready?'” Dale Schueffner said.

Across the Twin Cities, the fans are getting ready for the one-of-a-kind celebration that is the Final Four.

Esme Murphy