(CBSLA/TiqIQ) – Much has been made in the days since Selection Sunday of the committee’s decision to place Syracuse as the #3 seed in the South Region as opposed to the East. As a result of this, the Orange will not be playing in their home state of New York at Madison Square Garden in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 if they make it that far. While New York college basketball fans were excited to see their Orange play at the ‘Mecca of Basketball’ as it hosts an NCAA Tournament event for the first time since 1961, they will not get their wish. However, fans even more directly local to Syracuse are indeed the ones who have lucked out, as the Orange will play their 2nd and 3rd round games at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, just a short drive from campus. The close proximity to campus has led to Buffalo being amongst the most expensive host sites for the 2nd and 3rd round, with an average ticket price across all three sessions of $214.89.
When it comes to prices in the early rounds for NCAA Tournament tickets, school and venue proximity are key. The three most expensive sessions of rounds 2 and 3 include Wisconsin and Michigan playing at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Duke and Virginia playing at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Kansas, Wichita State, and Kansas State playing at the Scottrade Center in nearby St. Louis, Missouri. These venues have average ticket prices across the three sessions of $229.35, $219.29, and $213.83.
For less expensive NCAA Tournament tickets in round 2, fans would be wise to turn their attention out west. In somewhat of a twist, the East Region has a slate of games about as far west as you can get in the continental United States, as Cincinnati takes on Harvard, and Michigan State plays Delaware out at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington. Tickets for this first session out in Spokane are currently averaging $167.13 with a get-in price of $51 dollars, making it one of the least expensive sessions of the 2nd round. Session 2 in Spokane is currently the least expensive session of the tournament, with an average price of just $138.14. This session features some west coast teams taking on one another in San Diego State and New Mexico State, but these teams are far south while Spokane is one of the northernmost points in the continental 48 in addition to being one of the westernmost.
The other west coast site for the rounds of 64 and 32 in this year’s tournament is San Diego. While ticket prices for this site are higher than Spokane, they still check in a bit beneath most of the Midwestern and eastern locations. With nearby squad UCLA squaring off against Tulsa in Session 2 at Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl (formerly Cox Arena) on the campus of San Diego State University, tickets for this session are currently listed at an average of $193.43. However, Session 1 which features West Coast Conference powerhouse Gonzaga is still the more expensive session, with an average price of $200.11. With conference mates Saint Mary’s, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, and San Diego all located nearby, local fans are most likely pulling for Gonzaga, hoping for the WCC to upset Big 12 major conference opponent Oklahoma State.
Also rolling through San Diego is #1 seed out west, Arizona. After a hot start, the Wildcats cooled off down the stretch but still performed well enough to capture a 1 seed. Unlike some of these other west coast teams however, it’s Final Four or bust for Sean Miller’s squad. While tickets for Arizona’s 2nd and 3rd round games average $200.11 and $234.19, respectively, things would get quite a bit more expensive if they were to punch their tickets to the Final Four. Currently, Final Four tickets for both sessions carry a price tag of $1,110.25, while tickets for just the semifinals check in at $639.15 and the championship at $614.68.
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