As he prepares to drive to New Orleans on Friday, sophomore Adam Castiller will pack at least two things in his suitcase: a bright blue wig and a lab coat.
Castiller, a biomedical engineering major, will attend the UNC men’s basketball team's Final Four matchup against Duke on Saturday night at the Caesars Superdome.
The wig and coat are essential pieces for Castiller's planned game attire: a costume inspired by Rick, a character on the popular TV show "Rick and Morty."
‘I just got a ticket’
The student ticket lottery for the Final Four game opened on Sunday. Students who won the lottery were required to pay a $40 fee for their ticket, as well as find their own travel and housing accommodations in New Orleans, for the opportunity to watch the Final Four game in person.
Blaise Coen, a junior studying biology and global studies, said she didn’t expect to receive a ticket.
“I found out because I was hanging out with my girlfriend and she was like, ‘I just got a ticket,’ and I was like, 'That’s insane,' so I checked and I was like, 'Oh my god, I got one too,”' Coen said.
The odds that both she and her girlfriend would get a ticket were ridiculous, Coen said. She said they began to scream and jump up and down at the news.
Sophomore business major Virginia York said that before the Final Four ticket lottery, she hadn’t won a ticket in any other basketball lottery this season.
So when she opened the email saying that she had received a ticket, she didn’t believe it.
“At first I thought it was a mistake because I never win at anything,” York said.
She was excited when she learned that students who won tickets would be seated by the band.
"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, well if I can go for $40, I am absolutely going,'” York said.
After the initial excitement of receiving a ticket, students quickly had to find lodging and travel plans.
Like York and Castiller, Coen and her girlfriend decided they would drive to New Orleans on Friday due to the expensive price of plane tickets. But finding housing was still a challenge, Coen said.
Student Body President Lamar Richards announced on Tuesday that Student Government would be offering an opportunity to select students to get assistance with lodging and travel to the game.
Student Government covered the expenses of lodging for some students with the support of a donation from Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, Richards said in the campuswide email.
Participating students — who had to have won a lottery game ticket — are responsible for covering the cost of their bus ticket to and from New Orleans at a cost of $396.48 per person. Students will return to campus Tuesday afternoon following the championship game, regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game.
'Just take it all in'
As students prepare for travel to New Orleans or watch the game from home, anticipation and nerves are building.
“My roommate is super superstitious, and she suggested I wear exactly what I wore the last time we beat Duke,” York said.
Instead, York plans to wear a “Douche” T-shirt to the game to honor the UNC-Duke rivalry.
Castiller said he has superstitious beliefs of his own that are influencing the way he is packing ahead of his trip.
He said he might not bring any UNC apparel because he has watched every UNC game in the tournament so far without it.
“Just live in the present, I mean, don’t be too nervous about it,” Castiller said. "Just take it all in. You’re in a place that is extremely unique, something that probably will never happen in someone's lifetime again."
He said he will remember this moment.
"Like, when is the last time Coach K is going to play his last game in the Final Four against UNC?" Castiller said. "Quite literally never.”
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