ST. LOUIS — N.C. State and North Carolina will be heavily outnumbered by Kansas fans tonight at the Edward Jones Dome.
The massive downtown arena can seat up to 70,000 for football games but will be limited to about 29,000 fans for the weekend’s NCAA Midwest Regional basketball games.
Each participating school – N.C. State (24-12), North Carolina (31-5), Kansas (29-6) and Ohio (29-7) – received an allotment of 1,250 tickets for the three weekend games. As of Thursday afternoon, N.C. State had sold roughly 955 tickets and North Carolina about 950.
“Our response from fans has been very good,” said N.C. State associate athletics director Chris Kingston. “We’ve got a charter flight coming out (Friday) that will be filled with Wolfpack Club fans, so this is a great experience for us.”
North Carolina doesn’t have a fan charter scheduled, but associate AD Clint Gwaltney said the response from Tar Heels fans is in line with previous regional semifinals.
Kansas’ allotment went quickly and associate AD Jim Marchiony said there will be lots more at the arena when the Jayhawks face the Wolfpack in tonight’s second game. North Carolina and Ohio are scheduled for 7:47 p.m..
“We were told that about 23,000 tickets overall had been sold as of Tuesday or Wednesday,” Marchiony said. “The ticket office here said that about 40 percent of those were grabbed by fans living in the state of Kansas.”
Two years ago in Houston, which is close to Baylor’s campus in Waco, Texas, almost 50,000 fans flooded Reliant Stadium for the Bears’ regional title loss to Duke. Maybe 1,000 or so were yelling for the eventual national champion Blue Devils.
Reliant Stadium that afternoon was loud by Houston Texans standards.
“You learn to adjust to crowd noise, but that was extremely loud out there,” former Duke star Kyle Singler said of the experience.
Assuming Edward Jones Dome and NCAA officials stand by their plan to limit the crowd size to 29,000, the Wolfpack won’t be so outnumbered tonight.