Friar fever grips fans as team leaves for San Antonio

PC team leaves from TF Green on Wednesday morning.

Surrounded by fans and well-wishers, the Providence College men's basketball team left Wednesday on a flight bound for San Antonio and the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"I can feel the energy everywhere we go. I appreciate the people and the well-wishers. But that's temporary. Right now, it's what have you done for us lately and we have an unbelievable game on Friday," said Providence coach Ed Cooley.

It's been 10 years since the last time the Friars were in the NCAA tournament. They received an automatic bid after winning the Big East tournament.

The team has seen an overwhelming amount of support and excitement from fans since the big win Saturday night.

"I feel great today. It's a great day in Friartown, exciting for our program exciting for our city and state. These kids have earned it and I can't be more proud to represent our college," Cooley said.

No. 11-seeded Providence will take on No. 6 North Carolina on Friday night.

"(North Carolina) is one of the best transition teams in the country. They're one of the fastest teams we've faced all year. They're the best rebounding team in the ACC. We've got our hands full, but we're excited," Cooley said.

Cheerleaders and pep band members traveling with the team echoed that excitement.

"He's an amazing coach. He knows what he's doing. He's brought a new life to our school and community," said Nick Tavares, a pep band member. "We're basically rock stars. We're flying everywhere, playing at huge venues like Madison Square Garden, the AT&T Center. It's amazing."

Friday's game starts at 7:20 p.m. and will be broadcast on TNT.