SPOKANE, Wash. -

The NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday and the teams were down at the Spokane Arena Wednesday getting in some practice time on the hardwood to prepare for the Big Dance.

As you're out around Spokane this week you'll notice a lot of green, but not for St. Patrick's Day. It's for Michigan State, whose fans have flocked to Spokane to watch their team.

Whether you're a fan of Gonzaga, WSU or Idaho, seeing Spartan green is usually an unwelcome sight, but this week the Lilac City welcomed the team and their fans, like Don Tierney, Michigan State '68, who flew in from Ohio because he never missed a chance to see his Spartans in action.

"I've been here four times, three times for basketball. I know all the good places to eat. Frank's Diner, Anthony's and Hudson's," Tierney said.

You might say Tierney knows about as much as the locals do on places as Kasen, Kade and Kole know about Oklahoma basketball. They were born in Oklahoma and while their family is stationed now at Fairchild Air Force Base, their hearts are in Sooner country.

"I was excited because I knew it was going to be a once in a lifetime chance for us," Kade said.

Meanwhile, members of the Harvard band left their studies and instruments at the hotel to watch the Crimson go through practice. They're hoping studying and practice pays off for their team.

"It's really fun to play and be in such a prestigious atmosphere in the world of basketball," Radhika Jain said.

If nothing else, it's a chance to see these players up close before they launch onto a national stage. Whether you think much of these fans or not -- they sure think a lot about us.

"We took a big hike along the Centennial Trail and Spokane River yesterday and it was beautiful," Jain said.

"Between Coeur d'Alene and Spokane, this is a really nice area," Tierney said.

While teams like Michigan State have a sizeable fan base descending upon Spokane for the tourney, a walk around among the fans in the arena Wednesday showed that some of the double digit seeds, like Delaware, didn't have much support in the crowd.