LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Vols' next stop on their NCAA journey is in Louisville for the Sweet 16, where they'll take on Purdue.
The game will be Thursday night just before 7:30 p.m., and will be televised on TBS. But why watch on TV? Louisville is just over four hours away, after all, so why not take a Big Orange road trip?
The road trip is even shorter for many Boilermaker fans, by the way, so Tennessee will need the help of a big crowd to get the win!
"It's a really good time, I'd kill to be there this weekend," UT student Shea Payne said.
Payne made the drive last year to see the Vols in the NCAA tournament in Dallas.
But he decided not to drive to Louisville this year--school is the priority.
"It's like the whole city just kind of, revolves around the tournament for a minute," Payne said.
If you go, you can not only watch the Tennessee/Purdue match up, but stick around Friday night to watch the No. 12 seed Oregon taking on No. 1 seed Virginia.
The winners of both games will advance to the Elite 8 on Saturday. The tip off time for that game is not set yet, but the winner of that will head to the Final Four in Minneapolis.
Where is the game?
The Sweet 16 games for the South region are being played at the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. The arena has more than 22,000 seats and is home to the University of Louisville men’s and women’s basketball programs. It also hosts concerts and other special events.
You can get directions, plus parking and traffic information, what you can and can't bring into the building, and more right here.
How do I get tickets?
There are multiple ways to get tickets to the game. You can buy them from the venue via Ticketmaster, where a three-game package deal is going for $250 dollars.
Tickets can also be bought and sold directly with other fans through the official NCAA Ticket Exchange. Looks like tickets start at $135 there just for Tennessee's game on Thursday, or $160 per ticket for both games. Tickets for Saturday's final start at $144.
Vivid Seats is the official Tennessee Athletics ticket resale marketplace and they've got a variety of ticket options available, ranging in price from $171 dollars a ticket to more than $2000 to sit center-court on the lower level.
There are also a number of ticket resell sites like Stubhub and SeatGeek, which you can check out for yourself. You may get better seats on those websites, but will likely pay more.
SeatGeek says the average price for the Tennessee game on its site is $222.
According to SeatGeek, 23 percent of people shopping for tickets in the South region are Tennessee fans, but 34 percent are coming from Indiana to see Purdue, so Big Orange Nation could be outnumbered.
Meet up with other Vol fans
UT alumni will be hosting a Big Orange Tailgate Thursday before the game at the Porch Kitchen & Bar in the Louisville Marriott Downtown, located at 280 West Jefferson. The hotel is a short walk to the KFC Yum! Center and paid parking is available in the hotel garage.
All times are EDT
4:00-5:30 p.m.—Door prize giveaways and appearances from the Pride of the Southland Pep Band, Smokey, and the UT spirit squad
5:30 p.m.—Pep rally Begins
7:29 p.m.—Tennessee vs. Purdue in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament
Where to stay and fun stuff to do in Louisville
When you aren't cheering on the Vols, there's lots of stuff to do in Louisville, with lots of specials for fans in town for the games. You can get hotel and parking information plus a guide of things to do and deals here.
How about AirBnB prices?
Right now, AirBnB is fairly cheap just for Thursday night, with prices as low as $35 dollars just ten minutes from the arena.
When you add in the weekend, it goes up to about $400 in the downtown area.
Payne says the trip will be worth it.
"I'd probably go up, game's at 7:30, right?" Payne said. "I'd probably leave about noon. Get there, hit the scene around downtown Louisville."
Payne says get a group together.
"I'd probably send out a tweet and be like, 'hey where's everyone in Louisville going to hang out before the game?' Go find out everything I can about the city and just enjoy it," Payne said.
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