Orange Krush leave inkstain at UNC

By Courtney Linehan

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Heavy on orange and light on sleep, five members of the Orange Krush trekked almost 800 miles to cheer on the Illini at the Smith Center.

The students – Eric Anderson, Aaron Dubnow, Nicole Fyie, Chris Owens and Alyse Curry – drove to North Carolina to watch their team in the highly-rated rematch.

Coca-Cola and CBS sponsored the trip, during which a film crew taped the Illini fans outside their environment. The footage will be used in one of a series of documentaries the network is producing about college basketball.

The group left Champaign on Monday afternoon, stayed overnight in Virginia and arrived in Chapel Hill on Tuesday. While bad weather turned an 11-hour trip into 15, all five say they wouldn’t have missed this experience.

“We really love our team, so to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip like this is unbelieveable,” Fyie said.

While four of the group members are this year’s Orange Krush chairs, Curry was randomly selected to accompany them. Anderson said Curry thought the phone call asking her to come was a joke, and that the Krush chairs struggled to convince her and her mother that the trip was really happening.

“I knew (Illini basketball) was great, but there’s no feeling like being a part of it,” Curry said.

All but Curry attended last year’s championship game, and they agree that experience was a level far above Tuesday’s game. But they said supporting their team, especially against such a storied opponent, was well worth the trip.

“Just the traditions of this place, it’s awesome to come here,” Fyie said.