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Snowstorm won't hamper NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, mayor says

Two days of snow won't hinder teams and their fans from making their way to KeyBank Center for the NCAA Tournament basketball games Thursday.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said 25 crews will help clear streets and sidewalks in and around the arena and downtown area to make sure fans can easily reach the arena. Many of the crews are using smaller pieces of equipment, and they are not being pulled from neighborhoods, where snow clearing efforts are ongoing.

Brown and Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak said that since the snow stopped at noon, it's been full speed ahead for snowplowing crews, which have tackled nearly 20 inches of snow falling over a two-day period.

"We have had city crews for the City of Buffalo out around the clock," Brown said.

Brown also said the city-owned parking ramps downtown near the arena will offer all-day tournament parking for a flat rate of $10 as an effort to roll out the red carpet for visitors.

The snow did not impede the teams participating in the tournament. All the teams have arrived.

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Michael Gilbert, Sabres vice president and general manager of HarborCenter, said he didn't believe the storm will diminish fan attendance at the tournament.

"You've got to understand, these are rabid college basketball fans – Wisconsin, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Villanova – last year's national champion," he said. "They're not going to let a little snow stop them."

He said the arena has sold nearly 19,000 tickets to the tournament series, with only 300-level single seats still available.

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