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Court is in place for NCAA Tournament

BUFFALO -- The court is down. Hoops are in the house. Extra seats are on their way.

Prep work for the first and second rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament at HSBC Arena began Friday night after the Sabres game and will continue until Wednesday afternoon. 

The court -- shipped by the NCAA -- was installed Saturday and workers will prepare the rest of the floor today and Tuesday. 

Teams will arrive later this week in time for arena practice Thursday.

Staff from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference arrived in Buffalo on Sunday and worked until early today preparing paperwork after the teams were announced. The MAAC is host to the NCAA Tournament in Buffalo along with Niagara and Canisius. 

"On the building side, they're getting the arena ready, everything from decorating to putting the court down," said Ken Taylor, tournament manager for the Buffalo games. 

Marty Maloney, box office manager at HSBC Arena, said calls started as soon as the teams were announced Sunday. 

Tickets have been sold out for about 10 days.

"There was a lot of speculation Syracuse was coming anyway the last couple weeks," Maloney said. "Their fans bought up the last couple thousand all-session passes."

Those tickets retailed for $219 for three tickets to six games. Sunday's announcement that Syracuse and West Virginia are headed to Buffalo is expected to create a buzz in the resale ticket market, Maloney said.

Don't have tickets? Team practices are free and open to the public at HSBC Arena on Thursday. Practices will run from noon to 3 p.m. and from about 4:30 to 7 p.m., Taylor said.

"The concessions will be open. There will be merchandise for sale," Taylor said. "And you'll get a chance to be part of March Madness if you didn't have a game ticket."

Check out the HSBC Arena preparations in this video: 

Check out our printable bracket.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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