Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tournament Time

Joshua and I will see some basketball this coming weekend. We will attend Sunday afternoon’s second-round games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Minnesota, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State all made the field of 64 for this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but we will not see the Golden Gophers, the Sooners or the Cowboys play. None of those teams was assigned to the Minneapolis site.

Josh and I had planned to watch this coming weekend’s games on television, but we had not anticipated actually attending any of the Minneapolis games in person.

Things changed on Monday, when Josh and I heard from my Dad.

The University Of Minnesota serves as official host for the first- and second-round games at the Metrodome this coming weekend, and on Monday the University issued a notice to supporters of Minnesota Athletics, informing them that seats for the Minneapolis NCAA games were available for sale solely from the University Of Minnesota Athletic Department.

The eight schools whose teams will play in Minneapolis—Kansas, North Dakota State, West Virginia, Dayton, Boston College, Southern Cal, Michigan State and Robert Morris—did not sell their full ticket allotments and had to turn tickets back to the host school via the “fill or kill” rule. The “fill or kill” rule requires participating teams to sell their full ticket allotments within a few hours of Sunday night’s announcement of tournament pairings and venues, or lose them back to the host school. Apparently only Kansas, Michigan State and North Dakota State filled their ticket allotments, with Boston College and Southern Cal grievously under-filling theirs, allowing the University Of Minnesota to sell those tickets instead.

My father called late Monday morning, wanting to know whether we wanted him to get tickets for us. Josh starts Spring Break on Friday, and Josh and I will be in Minnesota this coming weekend.

We told my Dad not to buy tickets for us, because tickets are only issued as a package for all three sessions—Friday afternoon, Friday evening and Sunday afternoon—and we thought it would be a waste of money to buy a pass for three sessions since Josh and I would be able to attend only the Sunday afternoon session. Each three-session pass costs $193.00.

Josh and I will not arrive in Minneapolis until 8:30 p.m. Friday night. Theoretically, if our flight is on time, we might take a cab straight to the Metrodome and catch the second half of Friday night’s second game, but we do not want to do that. Those are not ideal basketball conditions.

My Dad bought five passes anyway.

He and my brothers plan to attend the 11:30 a.m. Friday afternoon session (game times are scheduled so as to suit a nationwide television audience, not the teams or the fans) but only my brothers plan to attend the 6:20 p.m. Friday evening session. All five of us will attend the 12:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon session.

If seeding holds, Josh and I will see two excellent games on Sunday: Kansas vs. West Virginia; and Boston College vs. Michigan State. Second-round games are typically the best of the entire tournament. I hope that rule holds true to form this year.

My Dad is going to skip Friday evening’s session because he and my mother will retrieve Josh and me at the airport Friday night and take us home.

Everyone is going to stay at my parents’ house all weekend, so Josh and I will get to see a lot of everybody for three days.

One of the reasons we will all stay at my parents’ house this weekend is because on Saturday we will be creating a giant mess at my older brother’s house. We plan to start work very, very early Saturday morning, and we do not want the baby in the house while we work, what with the smells of paint fumes and wallpaper paste circulating, and the sounds of hammering and sawing disturbing her. She and my nephew will be happier over at my parents’ house.

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