The University of Kansas will open NCAA Tournament play in Wichita on Thursday while Wichita State University and Kansas State University will hit the road for tournament openers on Friday.
KU is one of eight teams that will play at Intrust Bank Arena this week. The Jayhawks, the top seed in the Midwest, will play 16th-seeded Penn at 1 p.m. Thursday. That will be followed by No. 8 Seton Hall vs. No. 9 North Carolina State.
The winner of the those games will play Saturday for a Sweet 16 berth in Omaha.
In the evening session Thursday in Wichita, Houston – seeded No. 6 in the West Region – will play No. 11 San Diego State at 6:20 p.m. That will be followed by No. 3 Michigan playing No. 14 Montana. Again, the winners play Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles.
Tickets for the three sessions at Intrust Bank Arena have been sold out for months. But tickets are available at the NCAA Ticket Exchange and other secondary ticket outlets.
The one event you won’t need tickets for is the practice day on Wednesday at Intrust Bank Arena. All eight teams will hold practice sessions beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 6:25 p.m. Arena doors will open at 10 a.m. The first 1,500 fans will receive a free commemorative rally towel.
Here is Wednesday's practice schedule: Penn, 11 a.m.; North Carolina State, 11:45 a.m.; KU, 12:30 p.m.; Seton Hall, 1:15 p.m.; Houston, 3:25 p.m.; Michigan, 4:10 p.m.; San Diego State, 4:55 p.m.; Montana, 5:40 p.m.
WSU, meanwhile, will open play Friday in the East Regional against Marshall in San Diego. The Shockers, seeded fourth, are making their seventh straight NCAA appearance under Coach Gregg Marshall. The game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
If WSU wins, it will play the winner of West Virginia-Murray State on Sunday for a berth in the Sweet 16 in Boston.
K-State also opens play Friday, meeting Creighton in the South Regional in Charlotte, N.C., at 5:50 p.m. The winner of that game likely will face Virginia, the top-seeded team in the entire tournament, on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16 in Atlanta.
Tom Shine is the director of news and public affairs. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine.
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