EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- For the first time in history, the Northwestern Wildcats are in the big dance! They're going to the NCAA tournament and will play Vanderbilt in the Western Regional on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
The timing of the game is not great for students - it's finals week. The location doesn't help either, with the game taking place 1,400 miles away from campus.
Still, some students are hoping to find a way to make it work, without compromising their GPA or their savings. Northwestern student Andrew Scherl is trying his luck in the raffle to score the hottest tickets on campus.
"It would be unreal to get the tickets, make my day, make my year. Everything," he said.
The men's basketball team was jumping for joy at the Selection Sunday watch party at Welsh-Ryan Arena celebrating the program's first invitation to the big dance.
They'll face off against Vanderbilt in Salt Lake City Thursday afternoon.Students and faculty want to cheer them on, but the logistics are proving to be difficult.
"My boss was like 'no.' So I was, 'Cool, OK. I will stay,'" employee Ben Schroeder said.
The game is happening during finals week and right before spring break.
"Most of the people I know can't get away from their jobs. It is finals week so that's hard on our students," said Claire Roccaforte, another employee.
"I have talked with a couple students who are trying to figure out a way to get out there," Professor Henry Beinford said.
"I think if Northwestern had a little more experience doing this that they would realize how big of advantage it would be for the team and just for the school to have a lot of students go to the game," student Michael Paretzky said.
"I think most kids would want to have a momento of this," said David Haghnaji, owner of Campus Gear in Evanston.
The 25 students who won the lottery found out Monday evening. Tickets were $66.
For those who can't make the big game in person, the Davis Theater will be holding a watch party. null
NU's first NCAA tourney game difficult to attend for students