University of Idaho band steps in to support Yale basketball for NCAA tournament

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The University of Idaho’s marching band is being praised for its sportsmanship after stepping in to support Yale in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night after learning that the Ivy League team’s own band couldn’t make the journey out west. 

The university’s band director, Spencer Martin, told KXLY that he received a call over the weekend and was informed that the Bulldogs’ band was unable to travel from Connecticut to Spokane, Washington, where the first and second round of the tournament would be hosted.

Yale guard Yassine Gharram (24) stands on a table after celebrating with fans after Yale upset Auburn in a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash., on Friday, March 22, 2024.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

“We got a call from our athletics department around Sunday saying, ‘Hey, Yale’s band couldn’t make it. Would the University of Idaho Vandal band like to step in,'” Martin told the outlet. “And it just worked out to where we could come up and play.”

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The group quickly got to learning the school’s music and even dressed in Bulldog apparel for the game. 

For head coach James Jones, he appreciated having the support. 

“I saw them out there, and they had their sheets, so they knew the music in terms of what to play. It was great,” he said after the game. 

Yale coach James Jones court side

Head coach James Jones of the Yale Bulldogs reacts during the second half against the Auburn Tigers in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 22, 2024, in Spokane, Washington. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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“Having that atmosphere and the people coming out and supporting us, there’s nothing better than that, and we can’t appreciate them more than to be Bulldog fans. A lot of times when you’re on the road and you’re the underdog, a lot of times the crowd goes in your favor, and that helped a little bit tonight, too,” he continued. 

Yale fan banner

A proud Yale Bulldogs fan shows his support during the first round of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament between the Auburn Tigers and the Yale Bulldogs held at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 22, 2024, in Spokane, Washington.  (C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Yale advanced to the second round after defeating Auburn 78-76 and picked up the program’s second NCAA tournament win in school history. 

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They move on to the second round, where they will take on No. 5 seed San Diego State on Sunday. 

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