Heading into March Madness in Tampa? Here's the skinny

Public parking lots in the Times Forum-Tampa Convention Center area.

Public parking lots in the Times Forum-Tampa Convention Center area.

TAMPA — March Madness gets under way today across the nation and at the St. Pete Times Forum, which features four games pitting some of college basketball's storied programs, including the Florida Gators.

A few thousand tickets remain available for today's games through the McDonald's Box Office at the St. Pete Times Forum or by calling (800) 745-3000. They are $77 for a two-game package today or $231 for all six games today and Saturday. Remaining tickets include the 6:50 p.m. Florida vs. UC Santa Barbara matchup, which are going faster than the other games.

"There's a few thousand left per each session," said St. Pete Times Forum spokesman Bill Wickett. "We have had good business today in our line, and I would expect the session this evening to sell better but there are still a few thousand tickets available."

While Ticketmaster is not showing any available tickets, they are also available at stubhub.com, priced between $49 and $600.

Parking is available all day at the St. Pete Times Forum lots for $15. Surrounding city garages are charging $12 for about half a day.

Seating capacity for the tournament is 20,000, and the Tampa Downtown Partnership expects more than 18,000 fans to fill the city. At least 7,000 high school students, teachers and volunteers are also in downtown for the Florida State Thespians Festival, which takes place at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the Tampa Convention Center today through Saturday. Tampa police said they don't expect any traffic concerns with all the visitors downtown.

Today's schedule of NCAA games begins at 12:15 p.m.

West Virginia vs. Clemson: 12:15 p.m.

Kentucky vs. Princeton: Thirty minutes after the first game ends.

Florida vs. UC Santa Barbara: 6:50 p.m.

UCLA vs. Michigan State: Thirty minutes after the Florida game ends.

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

Heading into March Madness in Tampa? Here's the skinny 03/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 2:22pm]

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