WICHITA, Kan. - Basketball tournament fever is heating up across the country. And the tourney with Wichita State's undefeated men starts Thursday evening.
The Shockers and their loyal fans left for St. Louis with the sunrise. The team planned a bus ride from Koch Arena to Mid-Continent Airport, for a private jet flight to Missouri.
A travel office in northwest Wichita organized a bus convoy to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Seven busloads of fans assembled Thursday morning for the trip. Their fare includes "Shockers 6th Man" T-shirts to wear.
But events like this are a reminder that Wichita's airport has no direct flights to St. Louis. Online mapping sites indicate a drive from Wichita to St. Louis to see the Shockers takes six hours, 35 minutes. Yet a flight on Southwest Airlines would beat the bus by two hours. Even with a stop in Dallas, a morning flight takes 4 1/2 hours.
Even though Shocker scalpers offered hundreds of dollars for last weekend's final home game to complete the perfect regular season, you can still get tickets inside Scottrade Center in St. Louis for less than that.
A check of Ticketmaster Thursday morning found a ticket to the Friday afternoon session when the Shockers have their first game is available for $45.90. That's a club level seat, listed as "best available."
A ticket to the finals Sunday afternoon will cost more. Plaza level seats are still on sale, for $56.15.
The first Wichita State game will be against the winner of Thursday night's opening-round clash between Drake and Evansville.
Watch KAKE's "Road to the Championship" special tonight at 6:30 p.m.