Marquette University men's basketball
MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette University men's basketball team's run in March Madness came to an end after the first round, but the students that keep them organized behind the scenes are just getting started.
The Marquette men's basketball team managers are responsible for keeping things in order, but they have their own on-court skills.
"We've played games throughout the year, and I don't think many people know that these games go on. They happen the day before the real games. It's always fun, just doing it. We've been pretty successful. We've been ranked this year by the @ManagerGames Twitter, which, I don't know how they do that," said Anthony Pirone, manager.
A group of 13 managers compete in their own league against other manager teams across the country.
"We're all competitors. We have a couple kids who played in college, so that's kinda cool. They played a year or two years in college, and we also have kids who played throughout high school, so we're all competitors by nature," said Spencer Henke, manager.
"We call our own fouls, which sometimes can get a little heated, but we're all good sports about it. We just play 20-minute halfs, and it's always running," said Pirone.
Games are played throughout the season, and just like the NCAA, this league has their own tournament action beginning in March.
"A lot of undeserved recognition for not doing much, but it's been fun. The Twitter has been going crazy, and that's the only reason we're at this point now," said Ricky Muench, manager.
Driven by social media, the Marquette Managers and their Twitter followers compete in a battle of social engagement. The more Twitter followers, the further they go, with the winners advancing to play in a "Manager Games Final Four" in Minneapolis.
"The Manager Games tournament kicks off a fan fest at the Buick Arena, at the Minnesota Convention Center. At first, we were a little hesitant because maybe it wasn't that big of a deal, but it's literally how Fan Fest starts for the Final Four, which drives a huge crowd, so we're really excited because it's kind of a big deal," said Henke.
It's a chance for Marquette to represent and put a wrap on a fun season.
"It's a good way to kind of get our view of a college game, playing in arenas all across the country. It's a pretty cool experience," said Henke.
Their first game in the Manager Games Final Four is Friday afternoon, April 5 in Minneapolis.