By JEFF DURBIN, Missourian staff writer
March 9, 1999


It looks like Coloradoans will outnumber Columbians in the MU cheering section at the NCAA basketball tournament in Denver.

The MU athletic ticket office is taking orders, but won't know until later today how many tickets the university will be allotted. About 50 people called for tickets Monday.

The Denver Post reported that the eight teams invited to Denver will receive 350 tickets each. The 15,000 tickets available to the public sold out last April.

Missouri tips off against New Mexico Thursday at McNichols Sports Arena. A Tiger victory would probably mean a Saturday matchup against Connecticut, ranked third nationally in the latest Associated Press poll.

The 2,000 MU alumni in Denver are taking the lead in fan interest, judging by calls to the MU Alumni Association.

"It's been a steady stream all day long, probably 75 to 80 alumni, most from Colorado," said Todd McCubbin, the group's director of marketing.

The alumni association will host a pre-tournament rally at the team's Denver hotel. The rally will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Adams Mark Hotel, with appearances from the Mini Mizzou band, MU cheerleaders, the Golden Girls, Truman the Tiger and Athletic Director Mike Alden.

Since tournament pairings were announced Sunday, Columbia travel agencies haven't been able to put together trip packages.

Jerry Price, owner of Summit Travel, said his company has no package but can put flight and hotel reservations together separately. The problem is that game time is only two days away, which means astronomical fares. The current lowest fare is $448 out of Kansas City, Price said.

"We'd start looking at packages if they got deep into the tournament," Price said. "Final Four, we'd be looking to grab charter planes."


WHAT: Missouri Tigers in first and second rounds of NCAA men's basketball tournament.

WHEN: 5:50 p.m. Thursday. Second-round game would be Saturday.

WHERE: McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colo.

HOW MUCH: Game ticket: $60 for two games, $30 if MU plays one game; call 884-7297.

Travel: Kansas City-Denver round trip airfare for $448 minimum, but could be much higher; by car, Denver is 740 miles, or 13 hours, from Columbia.

Hotel: varies; rooms are available around the city.

Alumni rally: free.