WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fans flocked to local sports bars and restaurants Thursday to watch their teams battle it out on the court in the NCAA Tournament.

March Madness is officially here. On Thursday, Eyewitness News Reporter Madonna Mantione stopped by a popular sports bar in Luzerne County to talk to fans about their excitement for the games.

A group of friends gathered around the TV at Patty’s Sports Bar and Restaurant in Wilkes-Barre.

“Patty’s is our spot, yes it is,” said Shavertown resident Bernie Popson.

They came out Thursday night to watch the first few games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

“I do have my bracket made, I have Gonzaga winning it. A little stretch, but it’s something different. Unfortunately, North Carolina is not in the tournament this year, that’s where my younger brother played. He actually played with Michael Jordan. Michael was a junior when my brother was a freshman,” said Popson.

With games playing on TVs almost everywhere you look, it’s hard not to get your head in the game during March Madness.

“I’m not a basketball fan but I do like the March Madness. I mean, there’s some good teams out there, and it gives some underdogs a good chance to prove themselves and it happened over the years. But, I enjoy it, I do, I enjoy March Madness,” said Bob Frankelli of Bear Creek Township.

From Major League Baseball to College Basketball season and everything in between, these guys have been making memories here at Patty’s for decades.

“I’ve been coming here for quite a while, and it’s good people. It’s a fun place, we enjoy the St. Patty’s day celebrations and the sports, but I’m more football than anything,” said Kingston resident Charles Edwards.

Other patrons share the same enthusiasm to see how the tournament pans out.

“I’ll watch the games, yeah, I don’t watch basketball much during the course of the year but I’ll watch this, it’s exciting, yes, very exciting,” said Ed Katarsky of Wilkes-Barre.

The first NCAA bracket pool is believed to have started in 1977 at a Staten Island Bar.