CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Eager to send the UNC men's basketball team off to the Final Four in style, hundreds of Tar Heel faithful lined the sidewalk outside the Dean Dome on Wednesday afternoon to bid the players farewell.
"I had to come support my boys by any means necessary," said Jada Williams, a UNC Senior.
Generations of North Carolina fans made their way to Chapel Hill for the big sendoff, some cutting out of work and pulling their children out of school early to be there.
"We just love our Tar Heels. We are Tar Heel born, bred, from Chapel Hill," said Megan Nashel, a UNC alum who came out with her two young children. "I just wanted them to be able to see the team close up and actually see their faces and get to tell them good luck."
The team, greeted by a roaring tunnel of high fives, made their way onto a charter bus escorted to RDU by one of the Chapel Hill Fire Department's iconic Carolina blue fire trucks; their fans crowded up to the bus to wave them goodbye to the chant, "Beat Duke."
The Tar Heels arrived in New Orleans later than expected. They first were delayed at departure when their was a problem with the stairs to the plane at RDU They then endured a bumpy flight when thier plane encountered severe weather in Louisiana.
"Well, it's great, I'm just so excited for our players, you know, it's been a year of hard work, a year of perseverance, resiliency and this is a time for celebration," first-year coach Hubert Davis said after the team arrived in the Big Easy.
Davis said he was looking forward to "the challenge of playing a great Duke team."