March Madness to take over Kansas City soon. Here’s who is coming and what to know
Perhaps your favorite teams in the Kansas City region had their NCAA Tournament hopes dashed over the weekend, but March Madness is still coming to town soon.
The Midwest region features four of the remaining college basketball teams, and they’ll play at the T-Mobile Center in the Sweet 16 round this weekend.
Actually, even if Kansas and Mizzou had won their round of 32 games, they wouldn’t have made the trip to Kansas City. The Jayhawks would’ve gone to Las Vegas, while the Tigers would’ve traveled to Louisville.
No. 3 Kansas State advanced to the Sweet 16, but they’re playing against No. 7 Michigan State at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The four teams coming to Kansas City are No. 1 seed Houston, No. 2 seed Texas, No. 3 seed Xavier and No. 5 seed Miami (Florida).
If you’re coming to town, there’s plenty to do, eat and see near the T-Mobile Center downtown. The KC Live! Block across the street will be showing each game on its big screen, and it’s surrounded by these restaurants that will also be playing the game inside:
McFadden’s Sports Saloon
No Other Pub
Guy Fieri’s Taco and Dive Joint
Any of the four schools can host pep rallies inside the Power & Light District if they want, a Visit KC spokesperson said.
You can take the streetcar from the River Market to the north to Union Station and Crown Center to the south and roam around. Union Station is also a quick walk away from the Liberty Memorial, giving you a great view of Kansas City’s skyline.
Before the ball is tipped, here’s a quick reminder of how each team got here.
WHO’S PLAYING IN KANSAS CITY THIS WEEKEND?
No. 1 Houston vs. No. 5 Miami (Florida)
When: 6:15 p.m. Friday
The University of Houston finished 33-3 and went 17-1 in the American Athletic Conference during the regular season, finishing in first place. The Cougars lost their conference championship to the Memphis Tigers on March 12.
Houston’s taken care of business during March Madness. They defeated No. 16 Northern Kentucky 63-52 and No. 9 Auburn 81-64 over the weekend to reach Kansas City.
The University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, finished the regular season 27-7 and went 15-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, finishing first overall in their conference. The Hurricanes also did not win their conference championship, losing to eventual winners Duke Blue Devils on March 10.
Miami’s road to Kansas City saw the Hurricanes defeat No. 12 Drake 63-56 and No. 4 Indiana 85-69 during the first weekend of March Madness.
No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Xavier
When: 8:45 p.m. Friday
The Texas Longhorns went 28-8 and 12-6 in the Big 12 Conference, finishing in second place behind Kansas. But the Longhorns later defeated the Jayhawks 76-56 on March 11 to claim the Big 12 Championship at the T-Mobile Center.
Texas returns to Kansas City after defeating No. 15 Colgate 81-61 and No. 10 Penn State 71-66 over the weekend.
Xavier University in Cincinnati finished the regular season 27-9 and 15-5 in the Big East conference, finishing in second place behind Marquette. The Musketeers lost to the Golden Eagles in the Big East championship game on March 11.
Xavier defeated No. 14 Kennesaw State 72-67 and No. 11 Pittsburgh 84-73 over the weekend to get to the T-Mobile Center.
The winners of these two games will face each other for the Midwest regional championship on Sunday at a time to be announced. General admission tickets are sold out, but you can still find tickets through the NCAA’s Fan Exchange or on third-party ticket sites, such as StubHub.
HAVE THESE TEAMS BEEN TO KANSAS CITY BEFORE?
We know Texas has, but what about the other universities playing in Kansas City this weekend? Check out their history below:
The Cougars played three NCAA tournament games in Kansas City. Led by future Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, they won the Midwest regional by defeating Memphis 70-63 and Villanova 89-71 on March 25 and 27, 1983, respectively at Kemper Arena.
The last time Houston played in Kansas City, they lost to Kentucky 62-58 in the Sweet 16 on March 29, 2019, at the T-Mobile Center.
History will be made, as this is Miami’s first time playing in Kansas City and in the state of Missouri.
The Musketeers have played in Kansas City during the NCAA Tournament only once; an 83-71 loss to Notre Dame on March 16, 2001, at Kemper Arena.