NCAA Tournament welcomes fans back to practice day

Fans welcome full experience of NCAA Tournament after pandemic
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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FORT WORTH, Tex. (WIBW) - Fans decked out in crimson and blue flocked to the stands at Dickie’s Arena in Fort Worth, Tex.

The NCAA Tournament held an open practice day for the first time in three years, welcoming fans back to the stands to watch their teams go through the paces. The pandemic forced cancellation of the entire tournament in 2020, and last year’s events took place under tight restrictions.

KU fan Bill Chapman has been to several NCAA tournaments in the past. This is the first time his grandson, Will Howard, gets to see the full experience in person.

“It’s great to give him the opportunity to see the players practice up close, and you can see them walk by,” Bill said. “It’s just amazing how you see them on TV and you think that they’re big, but then you see them walk by and you realize how really big they are.”

Will was eating up the experience - even enjoying some of KU’s Big 12 rivals.

“I’ve gotten some pictures with some of the Baylor players. It’s been really cool,” he said.

Carla Wix expects the KU faithful to make their team feel at home at Dickie’s Arena.

“There are so many different Jayhawk alumni associations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, that they will pack this place out,” she said.

Dickie’s Arena has no mask requirement, except for people on the sidelines or in the front row. There also are no capacity restrictions.

The Jayhawks play Texas Southern in their first round matchup. Tipoff is scheduled for just before 9 p.m. Thursday, but could slide later depending on the length of the site’s first game of the night.

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