COLUMBIA - March Madness hit downtown Columbia as fans began filling the bars to watch The University of Missouri's first game in the NCAA tournament against Colorado State Thursday evening.
Campus Bar and Grill was busier than usual for the entire first day of games, general manager Matt Hudson said.
"We've been solid since noon and games started at 11:00," he said.
As time grew closer to the 8:20 p.m. MU tipoff, more people began to fill the bars downtown.
"When Mizzou plays, we're packed," Hudson said.
This sentiment was echoed at Harpo's Bar and Grill, where a recent renovation included installing a new bank of televisions, just in time for the NCAA tournament.
Jerod King, a manager at Shiloh Bar and Grill agrees that Mizzou games draw fans to the bar to watch.
"We want Mizzou to keep winning," King said.
Hudson does worry that the timing of the tournament will mean less revenue from Mizzou students in particular this year.
"It's tough, the first weekend falling on spring break, so we hope Mizzou advances past the first round," Hudson said.
Bar owners and basketball fans alike can agree on that.
Sam Nasci staked out a table at Campus Bar and Grill early with his friends.
"What more to life is there than drinking and watching Mizzou play basketball?" he asked.