The Basketball Tournament is coming to Wichita for the first time, as Koch Arena is set to play host to seven games in four days starting Thursday to crown a regional champion in the 64-team, single-elimination tournament.
It’s the first time for everyone in Wichita, from the players to the coaches to the WSU employees playing host, so no one quite knows what to expect this week.
But here is a guide that will prepare fans for everything they need to know going into the start of TBT on Thursday:
When do the Aftershocks play? The Wichita State alumni team is the second game on Thursday. The game against Iowa United is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip and will be broadcast on ESPN. If the Aftershocks win, they would play again at 3 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. The regional championship game on Sunday is scheduled for 3 p.m. on ESPN.
Where can I get tickets? GoShockers.com still has tickets available for all sessions this week or you can call the WSU ticket office at 316-978-3267. Single-session tickets start at $15, while all-session tickets start at $45. Session 1 includes games at 6 and 8 p.m. on Thursday; Session 2 has games at 6 and 8 p.m. on Friday; Session 3 has games at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Session 4 is the championship game at 3 p.m. Sunday. A little less than 6,000 tickets have been sold so far for Thursday’s opening night.
Where do I park? How much does it cost? Parking lots open two hours prior to the first game each day and limited reserved parking close to the arena is being sold for $20 for a single session and $50 for an all-session pass. There will be limited free parking available in the Koch Arena lots. WSU basketball parking passes are not recognized for the event. The parking lot east of Koch Arena is currently closed because of construction.
When does the arena open? The doors to Koch Arena will open at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, then 11:30 a.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Will the Aftershocks sign autographs? The players and coaches signed autographs at an event this past weekend. Tekele Cotton was the lone member absent, so he will be signing autographs for fans on the concourse at Koch Arena on Thursday from 5-5:45 p.m.
Is there security? Fans will walk through metal detectors and the standard bag policy will be in effect just like a normal WSU basketball game. Backpacks, including those used as diaper bags, are not permitted. The official TBT list can be found on TheTournament.com.
Will there be food? Yes, the full concessions, including QDOBA, will be open and beer and alcohol will be available for sale. No outside food or drink is allowed in the arena. Bottle caps will not be removed from beverages purchased at the concession stand.
Who else is playing in the Wichita regional? The alumni teams that are playing are Kansas, Kansas State, Marquette and Colorado, while Iowa United is a collection of players from Iowa colleges. Sideline Cancer and Fort Hood Wounded Warriors both feature former collegiate players scattered across the country.
Will the games be on television? The majority of the regional games will be broadcast on ESPN. Both games on Thursday (Self Made-Sideline Cancer at 6 p.m. and Aftershocks-Iowa United at 8 p.m.) will be on ESPN, as well as Saturday’s semifinals at 1 and 3 p.m. and Sunday’s championship at 3 p.m. Friday’s quarterfinal games featuring Golden Eagles-Fort Hood and Team Colorado-Purple & Black will both be streamed on ESPN3.
How much money is at stake? The regional champion from Wichita will win 25% of the ticket sales. Wichita has shattered a TBT record in ticket sales, as the 25% figure grew to $78,257 as of Wednesday evening. Each team has around 12 players, three coaches and a general manager. Evenly distributed, that means everybody is playing for about a $5,000 cut this weekend. The winning team also advances to the tournament quarterfinals in Chicago next week, where they could potentially win a share of the $2 million grand prize.
Are the Aftershocks the favorites to win? Not according to outside opinion. Many analysts are picking the Marquette team, the regional’s top seed that advanced to TBT semifinals last summer. A few have also picked the KU alumni team, led by Elijah Johnson and Wichita native Perry Ellis.
So what is the Elam Ending? This is the most significant change in TBT games, as it completely alters how the end of games work. Here’s how it works: the clock stops on the first dead ball under four minutes in the fourth quarter and a target score is set. The target score is determined by adding eight points to the leading team’s score. The clock is then stopped and teams play until one reaches the target score, rather than the end of the clock.
For example: the clock stops at 3:55 with the score 75-68. The target score becomes 83 and the first team to reach 83 points wins the game.
Are there any other changes to these games? Instead of playing halves, games will consist of four nine-minute quarters (except the fourth quarter). Players also have six personal fouls before fouling out and all non-shooting fouls automatically result in two free throws on the fifth foul of each quarter. International rules apply with goaltending, meaning players can’t touch the ball on the way down but can when it hits the cylinder. And the games feature the three-point line used in college basketball last season at 20 feet, 9 inches.