It's not too early to begin thinking about the men's NCAA Tournament coming to the Ice Palace in 2003.
Applications to enter a lottery for tickets to the first- and second-round games are available to the general public through April 26. (USF donors and USF and Tampa Bay Lightning season-ticket holders will be mailed a form.) Fans can request a maximum of eight tickets at $165 each for the three sessions. A check or credit card number must accompany the entry. About 15,000 tickets will be available through the drawing, which will be held in May. The winners and losers will be notified in June. For the unlucky ones, the Ice Palace will return checks or refund the credit cards.
To apply, call (813) 301-6600 or go to www.-icepalace.com. Applications must be received by April 26.
_ BRIAN LANDMAN