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NCAA fans say Final Four in Phoenix was a slam-dunk event

North Carolina fans cheer during the first half in the semifinals against Oregon in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

PHOENIX — The NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament in the Phoenix area was a slam dunk of an event, according to visiting fans.

While fans of both North Carolina and Gonzaga were looking forward to Monday night’s championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, few were excited about heading home.

“I love Phoenix, the palm trees and the desert,” Erin Rotondo, a North Carolina fan from Indianapolis, said.

Rotondo said her Final Four was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but it probably won’t be her last to the Valley of the Sun.

“Pretty much ready to move here and would transfer tomorrow,” she said.

Rotondo won free tickets for being a sales leader at work. Her brother, Joe, flew in from New Jersey to join her for the game.

He said he was impressed by the Westgate Entertainment District, which is just across the street from University of Phoenix Stadium.

“It’s beautiful,” Joe Rotondo said. “I have season tickets to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Going there, it’s just a stadium, but you have a whole complex here of stuff to do.”

Joe and Erin Rotondo missed a lot of the other festivities — namely a three-day concert series in downtown Phoenix — as they landed Sunday night, but they are excited they are staying near the site of the final.

“We’re within walking distance of the stadium,” he said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

About 70,000 fans were expected to fly in for the tournament.

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