Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- With full Georgia hospitality, a high school band led the way as the Orange arrived at their Atlanta hotel
to a little music and a nice crowd of local SU alums welcoming their team.
"They were eating it all up. At first they were surprised. They didn't realize there were so many of us down here in Atlanta and they were loving it,” said Syracuse University Alumni Club of Atlanta President Ian Thompson.
With urging from the NCAA, Thompson quickly organized a crowd of former classmates through social media. Sixty people showed up to welcome the team at the hotel, twice as many as he'd expected. They were rewarded with a little one-on-one time with the team.
"Coach, when he came into the hotel, he actually stopped and took a lot of pictures with everyone, shook everyone's hand and was really grateful that we were there to welcome them,” Thompson said.
With an estimated 3,200 SU alums in Atlanta, the team will have its share of support at the Georgia dome. Players met for a closed practice Wednesday to warm up. Meanwhile, their eager fans in the Peach State
are already full of confidence in the Orange.
"My prediction for the game, Syracuse wins by 15 and plays Louisville,” Thompson said. "We're so, so excited that we get to see them in Atlanta, the Final Four in Atlanta. There is nothing better."
Alumni will meet at the Hudson Grille in downtown Atlanta on Friday to welcome fans from Syracuse. They’ll hold a watch party there on Saturday. Both events start at 4:44 p.m.