Lincoln prepares to host NCAA tournament

By: Brittany Paris

UConn, DePaul, Texas A&M and BYU are all making their way to Lincoln for the Sweet 16 Round of the Women's NCAA Tournament.

UNL was awarded one of four regional host sites about a year ago. And even though the Husker women won't be playing at home, they lost to BYU by just four points, Lincoln is preparing for a big weekend.

“It's a big deal to do an NCAA tournament. It has been several months of meetings and preparation,” Tom Lorenz, General Manager of Pinnacle Bank Arena, said.

The Arena is finishing up final touches, ordering extra food for vendors and put in a brand new floor.

“The NCAA is very thorough on what they would like to have. So they talk about all the different room set ups, the different signage they need. The new floor is brought in and set up just for this 3 game tournament,” Lorenz said.

Three games might not seem like a lot, but hotels in the Haymarket have been preparing for those three games for months.

The Courtyard Marriott at 8th and R is the NCAA headquarters hotel where tournament officials and media will post up.

“We anticipate being sold out each night for Friday night, Saturday night, probably tonight and close on Sunday night,” John Kalogeras, General Manager of Courtyard Marriott Lincoln, said.

As each team fights to keep dancing, only one will leave Lincoln with a shot at the title.

And Pinnacle Bank Arena thinks this is a shot to put the city in the national eye.

“I think it means a great deal for the city. It certainly means a lot for the area around us to be part of this, for the Haymarket to be park of all of this,” Lorenz said.

UConn takes on BYU at 3:30 on Saturday with DePaul and Texas A&M to follow. The final game is on Monday.

There are still tickets available if you're interested.