Have tickets, will travel: Hoops fans to follow teams

03/25/2011 12:00 AM

08/05/2014 2:15 PM

Frenzied Shocker fans eager for more basketball madness sold out the first block of tickets that Wichita State made available to the NIT semifinals Thursday as well as a travel package to New York to see WSU play.

"Our fan base is so excited and wanting to get to New York," said Debbie Kennedy, director of the WSU Alumni Association. "The phones are ringing off the wall. People are wanting to know what's going on in Manhattan."

And they don't mean the Little Apple. WSU on Wednesday advanced to the semifinals of the NIT and will play Washington State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at New York's Madison Square Garden.

WSU's first block of 200 tickets to the semifinals sold out Thursday, and another block was then made available, athletic director Eric Sexton said. At least 40 more tickets in that block also have been sold. WSU will continue to add tickets as needed, he said.

"We've had requests from people as far away as Florida who are going," Sexton said.

The problem for some of them is getting to New York.

Sunflower Travel sold out a travel package to New York to about 100 Shocker fans Thursday and had a waiting list of about 300 more interested in going, said Devin Hansen of the travel agency. But by the end of the day, airfares had hit the $700 range, he said.

Seats to New York are limited because of spring-break travel, said Mariann Gamble of Village Tours & Travel. Anyone planning a trip can expect to pay, in addition to high airfares, no less than $400 a night for a hotel in the vicinity of Madison Square Garden, she said.

Tickets to the game, for sale through WSU's ticket office, are $40, plus another $40 if WSU makes it to the final game Thursday.

For those left behind, the official watch party for the Shockers will be at Fox and Hound, near 13th and Webb Road. Kennedy recommends getting there early to get a table because there won't be any reserved seating. There will be prizes and probably T-shirts.

"We'll help with building those memories," Kennedy said.

But there's another basketball game that many area fans are anxiously awaiting in the meantime. KU plays Richmond at 6:27 tonight in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament.

Birds of a Jayhawk feather who want to flock together should head over to Larry Bud's, 2120 N. Woodlawn, an official watch-party site, said Chip Budde, head of the Wichita chapter of the KU Alumni Association. But there is no organized party, he said.

Madrocks at 1820 E. Madison in Derby also is an official watch-party site, Budde said, while younger alumni often head to the Back Alley, 11413 E. 13th St.

"There's a number of people that are going down to San Antonio," where KU will play tonight, Budde said, "but a lot of people are holding out for Houston," site of the Final Four on April 2 and 4.

"If they're going to make one trip to Texas, they're going to Houston."

Steve Dillard, vice president of the Wichita KU chapter, plans to go to Houston next week if KU makes the finals. But in the meantime, "I just know I get crazy enough at these games late in the season I usually try to watch them at home."

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