Duke, NC State, UNC catch March Madness today - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Duke, NC State, UNC catch March Madness today

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March Madness is officially here, and all three of the Triangle's teams play Friday.

It's an event that can either bring people together or drive them apart.

"Everybody's kind of just jealous, I'm not going to lie," said Charlie Shapiro, a UNC sophomore, and director for Carolina Fever, a super fan group.

"Go Devils!," said lifelong Duke fan Bryan Westmoreland.

"Of course, I favor Pack more than anybody," said Graham Dennis, a junior at N.C. State.

If there's anything they can all agree on, it's that each thinks their team is the best.

"They're the best team out there. I think they got the most chemistry together," Dennis said about the Wolfpack.

"Carolina fans are the best in the entire country," Shapiro said.

"Just a different breed. Just like Carolina thinks they're the best team and Duke fans think they're the best team. It's just an old Tobacco Road rivalry," Westmoreland said.

Follow Caulton Tudor's columns on WNCN.com

Tobacco Road Sports Café has locations near Duke, N.C. State and Carolina and sees a 30 percent boost in business on days when a hometown team plays, according to owner Brian Amra.

"It's one of those strange days when we'll get people who come in at 10:30 in the morning waiting at the door. We don't let them in on a Friday. They'll sit down at 11 and not leave until 10 p.m.," he said.

"We've had people before that we've had to scoop up out of chairs, put in cabs. They eat. You go back at the end of the night, you look at their bill, and it has three different dinners on it."

The Wing Zone also expects a boost.

"If anything goes with big games of any sort, it's wings," said Adrian Walls, manager of a Raleigh location.

"It will probably be double our business compared with a regular week this time of the year," he said.

At Tobacco Road, the seats will fill quickly, but business may actually be too good too early in the tournament.

"There's only so much you can pack the restaurants. If we had our preference, which the NCAA doesn't really listen to us, you know, we would have the teams play Thursday, Friday. That way we get Saturday, Sunday," Amra said.

As for what impact the individual teams have on business, Amra said N.C. State fans come out a bit more. He attributes that to more Wolfpack fans living in the area.

Carolina is the biggest draw, he said, and not just because the customers are Tar Heel fans.

"People get dressed and go out to cheer against Carolina. Go out, spend money, it's the funniest. They're by far the biggest draw," he said.

Whether you're rooting for or against, here's when you can catch the games:

12:15 p.m. - Duke vs Albany

1:40 p.m. - N.C. State vs Temple

7:20 p.m. – UNC vs Villanova

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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