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The Providence Friars are in the NCAA Men’s Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997, and their fans will arrive in style.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, the New England Patriots lent fourth seed Friars their private jet “to help ferry support staff and some fans” to Chicago for Friday’s game against the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks. The Providence team arrived in Chicago on Wednesday aboard a separate charter.
Friars head coach Ed Cooley is a longtime Patriots fan and spoke with owner Robert Kraft on Wednesday night.
“It’s New England teams supporting New England teams,” Cooley said. “Our families can come, our donors can come, our supporters can come. I really appreciate that he’s watching over us. Considering the number of planes used for the NIT, for the NCAA tournament, it was just limited. “
Although he faced the mighty Jayhawks, Cooley said his team was thrilled to have the chance to continue their run in the Big Dance.
“An opportunity to play against a No. 1 seed is just something, just things you dream about,” he said. “And we are living that dream and hope to keep dreaming big.”