Local restaurants and McKale Center prepare for large crowds ahead of NCAA tournament

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — Preparations are well underway for March Madness.

The University of Arizona women’s basketball team is set to host two rounds of the NCAA tournament. This is the second time in the program’s history for the team.

U of A Women’s Basketball will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Before the big games, it takes a bit of preparation to bring March Madness to life.

Friday afternoon at the McKale Memorial Center was full speed ahead for Sr. Assoc. Real. athletics, event management Suzy Mason.

“This opportunity to show what we can do is just huge,” Mason said ahead of the big weekend.

With more than 15,500 seats and 9,000 tickets sold and counting, Mason said preparing for a tournament of this magnitude takes a ton of work.

“This enjoyment lasted about three minutes. Enough to congratulate our players and coaches and then run to the office and start communicating with the NCAA,” she said.

She said it’s not just huge for U of A athletes, but for all athletes who take to the field.

“They’ve won their conferences or they’re in for a big bid. And, for a lot of those student-athletes, it’s the highlight of their season or maybe their career,” she said.

Down the street from upcoming events, Frog and Firkin general manager Jonathan Graham said he was stocked up and ready for a busy weekend of basketball fans and city dwellers.

“It’s going to be boom, boom, boom, boom… Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday non-stop. For a local start-up, we’re a mother and father, that’s great,” Graham said.

This is the second straight year the Wildcats ladies have returned to the NCAA Tournament. And, for restaurants like Frog and Firkin, Graham says this isn’t his first rodeo when it comes to Wildcat fans and big sports weekends.

The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday for the Stephen F. Austin-North Carolina game. And then, Arizona will face UNLV at 7 p.m. in McKale.

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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