NCAA tournament brings big business to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The NCAA Tournament could give Kansas City a second chance this year to score big business with basketball fans.

If Kansas and North Carolina each win Friday, the teams would face each other Sunday at Sprint Center.

Despite the cold, one North Carolina fan said he only sees this trip as sunshine.

"This is the first time I've ever been anywhere past Indiana, so this is great," he said as he looked around an empty outdoor Power and Light district.

The district predicted this year's tournament turnout would be better than the one Kansas City hosted in 2009.

"It's all about the teams this year," said Jim Watry, of the district's Entertainment Concepts group.

Kansas and Kansas State's matchups in Kansas City this week are a big break, but ticket brokers said Sunday's potential matchup between North Carolina and KU has driven demand, as ticket prices have soared.

Even fans from other teams are anxious to see Kansas coach Bill Self and former KU coach Roy Williams face each other on the local court.

Several out-of-town fans said it is what brought them to town this week.

"It's Kansas power and North Carolina power and then you throw in Roy Williams on top of that -- I mean, really?"

One fan said he drove in from Nebraska when he heard the basketball bracket announced. "We found out we (North Carolina) were playing here so we had to come," the fan said.

Some fans also said the desire for the matchup comes from a distaste for the abrupt way Williams left KU in 2003.

Sunday's tip off times will be announced after the second round concludes.

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