If Mercer Universitys basketball team beats Duke come midafternoon Friday -- and even if it doesnt -- the Cherry Blossom Festival, that pinkest of parties that begins the same day, will be awash in orange.
There are noon-hour get-togethers planned.
TVs in sports bars, restaurants and office break rooms will be tuned in for the 12:15 p.m. tipoff.
And seven busloads of Mercer students will make the trek to North Carolina for the game.
And why not?
The Bears are going dancing -- Big Dance dancing.
The game is Mercers first foray into the NCAA tournament since 1985, when Ronald Reagan was president and the aforementioned Yoshino fest was just 3 years old.
On the Mercer campus so far this week, if you asked anyone about the mood, the word excited came up a lot. Awesome, too. Anticipation ran deep.
Its something to be proud about, said Rahul Changela, a sophomore biology major from Duluth. Especially playing Duke, too, this could be really intense.
Changela, one of 400 or so students traveling to the game, was at the campus bookstore Wednesday, browsing the Mercer hats and visors. He also happened to be carrying a piece of fruit, an orange.
The more orange the better, he said.
Sophomore Dhruv Patel, a biomedical engineering major from Peachtree City, is also attending the game.
Mercer is a very spirited school. I always feel like were behind our team whatever happens. For us to make it this far is something to be proud of, he said.
Hopefully therell just be a sea of orange. ... Well be cheering as hard as we can. We want them to know our name and put Mercer on the map.
Mercer President Bill Underwood has been out of town most of the week.
But outside the Jittery Joes coffee shop at the edge of campus Wednesday afternoon, Underwood said the schools basketball buzz has been incredible.
Just tremendous energy on campus, he said. Itll be more fantastic if we beat Duke.
Mercer Village, a block-long stretch of lofts, shops and restaurants just east of the Interstate 75 overpass on Montpelier Avenue, likely will be full of fans at game time.
Montpelier will be closed half an hour before the game.
Therell be a big-screen television set up on a trailer, along with tables and seating for 300 people along the street.
Carl Fambro, owner of Francars Buffalo Wings nearby, said that when Mercer played in a postseason tournament a couple of seasons back, a similar event attracted 700 people.
The problem now is, this is a day game, Fambro said.
Then he added, But this is Duke were playing.
There are other options off campus for watching the game.
C.J.s Bar & Grill on Riverside Drive is opening four hours earlier than usual. Owner John Holton said C.J.s will offer beer specials and an all-you-can-eat wing bar.
Both Buffalo Wild Wings and Wild Wing Cafe in north Macon are showing the game live, but managers at both said nothing extra was planned.
Taste & See Coffee Shop & Gallery at 546 Poplar St. has already gotten into the spirit, offering a special Bear Claw latte, which includes espresso, rich milk, vanilla and almond syrup.
Writer Jonathan Heeter contributed to this report. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.