Syracuse, Nebraska cheering for the Orange
As the Syracuse Men's Basketball team prepares to take on Duke on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska, they might find some Syracuse fans cheering them on, closer than they thought.
Welcome to Syracuse, Nebraska: A small but proud town of about 2.000 people, named after Syracuse, New York.
It's just over 1,000 miles from Central New York and about an 18 hour drive in the car.
The small knit community also has a favorite college basketball team.
"Are you cheering for the Syracuse Orange since, you know, you have the same name, named after Syracuse, New York?" asked Hunter Arterburn into the microphone at his country music radio studio. in Syracuse, Nebraska,
He says the people of Syracuse, Nebraska feel a special connection to the Orange.
"With Syracuse being in the tournament, being one of the last teams to get into the NCAA tournament, and us having a local tie, I think we find ourselves cheering for Syracuse a little bit more," Arterburn says.
He says people all over town have been watching the tournament.
Their weekend got a little bit better on Sunday when the Orange stunned the nation once again, beating Michigan State University.
"A lot of people think that Nebraska's a big football state because of the Nebraska Corhuskers, but basketball plays a pretty key role, too," Arterburn added.
In 1856, the people who had settled in the area named the town for Syracuse, New York, hoping to have the same success with salt mining.
Flash forward 162 years, and the people who live in Syracuse, Nebraska now are still so connected to the city's namesake.
"... probably even more so since they are playing Duke," Carolyn Gigstad, the executive director of the the area's chamber of commerce, said.
All jokes aside, Gigstad says she's proud of all the Orange has accomplished.
"I think Jim Boeheim is a great coach and I'm really glad they got in this year," she said.
She adds one thing the two Syracuses have in common is a love for basketball and a cheer for Friday.
"Syracuse University, we hope you make it," she said.