A 3-D sculpture shaped like an NCAA bracket, emblazoned with the names of the teams bound for the Big Dance in hopes of making it to the Final Four next month in Minneapolis, attracted a steady stream of admirers Monday along Nicollet Mall.
People hunting for their favorite teams walked slow circles around the sculpture, which was erected Sunday steps from the IDS Center. Some crouched with their phone cameras for a better view.
"Gotta get a picture of my Gophers," said Tammy Duffney, 54, of Minneapolis, as she stooped near Minnesota's name in the East Regional.
Minneapolis resident Tracey Lester said he watched the structure being put up Sunday morning and wanted to come back for another look once the names had been added. He snapped photos next to Minnesota as well as North Carolina, his pick to come out on top.
The Final Four, he said, offers a good look for Minnesota. "It's bringing a lot of people here, bringing revenue here," said Lester, 48.
The sculpture also enticed Terrill May, 51, of Minneapolis, to stop Monday afternoon. Hosting the Final Four, May said, "puts Minnesota back on the map."
For Scott Gregoria, the structure recalled the Super Bowl and its many offerings along Nicollet Mall last year.
Like many passersby Monday, Gregoria raised his phone to grab a picture of Minnesota's name. He bought tickets to support the team in person with his son Thursday in Des Moines, where the Gophers will face the University of Louisville.
"Going to a March Madness game was on my son's bucket list," said Gregoria, of Jordan.
The sculpture travels from host city to host city for the Final Four and will be up through the championship game on April 8, said spokeswoman Maggie Habashy.
Hannah Covington • 612-673-4751