TULSA, Oklahoma – As many as 100,000 fans are expected to pack downtown Tulsa for the NCAA Tournament at the BOK Center this weekend.
After much planning and preparation, the city of Tulsa, along with the Tulsa Police Department and downtown Tulsa restaurants, say they're ready for the games.
TPD said it will have 40 officers around the BOK Center during games this weekend. They'll also have two mobile command posts set up and ready to go.
Fans can catch free shuttle rides to and from the BOK Center. One shuttle will run from the Blue Dome and Brady Arts district. Another will run from the Brookside, Cherry Street and 18th and Boston area.
The city is also hoping to make parking easier. Message boards will be set up to direct fans to basic parking areas. City officials said there are 2,500 spots directly downtown.
Parking prices may vary.
Metered parking is free after 5 p.m. and on weekends. The standard rate for a garage is $8, but spots closer to the BOK Center will cost about $20.
More than 100 volunteers have been trained to help fans from as far away as California. The volunteers, who be wearing blue shirts that say "Tulsan" on the back, will carry bright yellow bags, with information highlighting Tulsa hotspots.
The NCAA tournament will provide a big boost for downtown Tulsa restaurants. Fat Guys Burger Bar said it expects a 30 percent increase in customers. Joe Momma's pizza is also stocked up with extra food supplies.
It's not too late to go to the games. Single-session tickets, which feature two games, are on sale for $79. Tickets can be purchased at bokcenter.com, the Arby's Box office at the BOK Center, or by calling 866-7-BOK-CTR.
As for the tournament returning to Tulsa in the future, Ray Hoyt, with the Tulsa Sports Commission, said there's a possibility.
"There's an opportunity bid for '14 and '15 and we'll certainly be pursuing that opportunity with the NCAA after we get everything settled here," Hoyt told Six in the Morning Friday. "This just helps us with the future with other events. It really presents BOK in the national light and Tulsa, which is what this is really all about."
Friday's games at the BOK Center:
•#4 Texas (27-7) vs. #13 Oakland (25-9), 11:15 am; Televised on CBS
•#5 Arizona (27-7) vs. #12 Memphis (25-9); 1:45 p.m.; Televised on CBS
•#1 Kansas (32-2) vs. #16 Boston University (21-13), 5:50 p.m.; Televised on TBS
•#8 UNLV (24-8) vs. #9 Illinois(19-13); 8:20 p.m.; Televised on TBS