MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’ve spent anytime downtown, you’ll know that Virginia and Texas Tech fans have traveled well.

Before this year, Texas Tech had never been in a Final Four, and Virginia hadn’t been to one since 1984.

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“These guys were troopers,” Texas Tech fan Kelsey Johnson said.

Johnson isn’t talking about the Texas Tech basketball team, he’s talking about his team of travelers: his girlfriend Lacy and her sons Logan and Caden.

“The next thing you know we booked a hotel and started driving Friday morning,” Johnson said.

The life-long Red Raider fans spent 16 hours in the car.

“We had plenty of snacks, had iPads. They watched movies,” Johnson said.

They drove from Lubbock, Texas to Minneapolis with some sightseeing along the way.

“There weren’t as many complaints as I thought there would be,” Johnson said.

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And Saturday’s win made it all worthwhile.

“I still don’t know if I can feel it. Knowing we are playing tonight for a national championship. I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime,” Johnson said.

Jim Lamar feels the same way about his Virginia Cavaliers.

“It’s just been great. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Lamar said.

He turned 91 last week and shares a birthday with his daughter, Daphne. Together, they’ve been watching Virginia play in ACC tournaments for decades.

“This has been my and Daphne’s spring break since what? ’76,” Lamar said.

“I’m a daddy’s girl. I’m daddy’s girl. And I enjoy the heck out of it,” Daphne Sturgill, Lamar’s daughter, said.

In 1984, they watched the Cavaliers lose in the Final Four. And last year, they watched their team become the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round. This year, they feel like the ball is finally bouncing their way.

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“You just keep plugging away, and sometime, it’s going to happen,” Lamar said.

John Lauritsen