Des Moines Prepares for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The NCAA Tournament is back in Des Moines this week.

“It’s pretty exciting, we have the first tip off of the whole tournament,” Iowa Events Center General Manager Chris Connolly said.

On Thursday, doors will open 90 minutes prior to the first tip off which is Louisville versus Minnesota at 11:15 A.M.

Michigan State plays Bradley at 1:45 P.M.

Nevada and Florida tip off at 5:50 P.M.

Michigan versus Montana at 8:20 P.M.

For the downtime in between games there will be a “Fan Zone” inside Hy-Vee Hall.

“Fan Zone is open to the public, there are big screen TVs so people can watch other tournament games. We’ll have drinks, food, some inflatable games and it’s free,” Connolly said.

Tickets to the tournament are currently sold out, but they are being sold on secondary sites for an increased rate.

If you don’t have tickets but still want to see some of the action you can check out the open practice on Wednesday.

“It’s the first time the teams can come in and shoot around and get used to the arena and the floor, they practice for about 45 minutes. Fans may have an opportunity to meet some of the players and last time it was just really fun,” Connolly said.

Open Practice Day Schedule:

·        10:00 AM - Doors Open

·        11:00 - 11:40 - Minnesota Gophers

·        11:45 - 12:25 - Bradley Braves

·        12:30 - 1:10 - Louisville Cardinals

·        1:15 - 1:55 - Michigan State Spartans

·        3:25 - 4:05 - Nevada Wolfpack

·        4:10 - 4:50 - Michigan Wolverines

·        4:55 - 5:35 - Florida Gators

·        5:40 - 6:20 - Montana Grizzlies

There will also be opportunities to celebrate with other basketball fans and watch the games at bars and restaurants across the metro.

“The Court Avenue District itself actually organizes and they’ll be reaching out today (Monday) to all the different alumni associations for each school and they’ll establish themselves as headquarter bars for Michigan, Michigan State, Montana, whomever!” Catch Des Moines’ Greg Edwards said.

Hoops and Hops at Cowles Commons will also have the games playing as well as six food trucks and craft and domestic beer from Iowa Beer Tent.

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