HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Husky nation was out in force this St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Hartford as fans watched the UConn men’s basketball team face off against Iona University for their first 2023 NCAA Tournament game.

At Vaughan’s UConn fans were decked out in green, and their eyes were glued to the televisions as the UConn Huskies faced off against Iona Gaels. 

The bar’s owner Johnny Vaughan said the UConn basketball teams have always brought in a crowd on game night. 

“The basketball men’s and especially the women’s, because they happen on off days, they literally have been the blood and lifeline of a lot of bars and restaurants downtown,” he said. 

The game being on St. Patrick’s Day kept them busy all day.

UConn Huskies win first round of NCAA Tournament

“We were delighted to open early today, the weather has obliged and it’s nice to see people out walking the streets,” Vaughan said. “We opened at 9 o’clock and we’ve been busy ever since, it’s been a great Friday so far.” 

It was tense for the first half, the score too close for comfort. But With a Guinness in hand, fans were still confident the four-time NCAA championship winners would crush the competition.  

“I think they’re a very strong team, I think they’re going to do it this year,” said Mary Santos from Westbrook. “It’s the best they’ve been in many years so we’re very excited for them. It’s like the old UConn days!” 

The team pulled through, leaving fans happy and excited for the next round.