SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah made it to the NCAA Tournament, after all.
Well, sorta kinda.
If you thought the Fairleigh Dickinson University pep band looked familiar — and maybe wondered why one of them jokingly yelled trash talk about BYU during a break — there was a good reason.
They didn't play Utah Man and you wouldn't have known from looking at their white FDU shirts, but the Knights' band was actually the Utes' band in disguise.
Fairleigh Dickinson no longer has a school band, so the program borrowed bands from Utah for Thursday's game against Gonzaga at Vivint Arena and from the University of Dayton (Ohio) for Tuesday's First Four game against Prairie View A&M.
Call it Band-Aide.
"It's part of the whole college atmosphere, especially for the NCAA Tournament. We really need the band," FDU cheerleading coach Crystal Simmons said. "It helps with the atmosphere. It helps with the spirit. It helps get everyone going."
Utah band director Brian Sproul found out Wednesday that FDU was looking for a band, and the idea to play for and support the No. 16 seed from Teaneck, New Jersey, struck a chord for him and his student musicians.
Their calendar was wide open after the Utes didn't earn a spot in the postseason.
"We’re happy to help out," Sproul said. "It’s a great opportunity for us to show how important band is for college basketball. It’s a huge part of March Madness. Any time that we can help out and be a part of that is a good thing."
The temporary FDU band members cheered for the Knights and chanted "You let the whole team down!" after a couple of Zags missed shots. They didn't learn Fairleigh Dickinson's school song, though. The university doesn't have one.
Oh, and if you were wondering, FDU didn't borrow any Ute players for what turned out to be an 87-49 blowout loss to the No. 1 seed.11 comments on this story
NOTES: The University of Utah ski team was honored at halftime of the Gonzaga-FDU game for its 2019 NCAA national championship. ... Sen. Mitt Romney was among the familiar faces in the crowd. ... Remember when Cosmo's head popped off his mascot uniform while doing a stunt at a BYU football game and the video went viral? The same might happen to FDU's mascot Nitro. While doing an on-court showdown with Gonzaga's bulldog, the horse's head dropped to the court as he did a flip, revealing his true identity. The school's cheerleading coach laughed about the moment. "That is the first time it's ever happened," FDU's Crystal Simmons said. "Nitro is always in uniform. I'm so surprised he lost his head."