What you need to know if you’re going to Wichita to watch KU

WICHITA,  Kan. -- 'March Madness' begins Thursday for Kansas fans.

Thousands of Jayhawks will travel to Wichita for the opening game of the NCAA tournament which tips off at 2 p.m.

FOX4’s Rob Collins traveled to Wichita to find out what you need to know if you’re planning to make the trip.

The Jayhawks will play at Intrust Bank Arena. The venue has a smaller seating capacity than Sprint Center, but given the proximity to Lawrence, it’s likely going to be loud.

Thousands stopped by the arena Wednesday to watch Bill Self and the team shoot around. Fans also got autographs and took pictures with their favorite players.

There are still tickets available on the secondary market, but as you can imagine they're costly. Susie Santo with the Visitors and Convention Bureau says even if you don’t have a ticket this is still the place to be.

"The atmosphere is unbelievable," Santo said. "All around the arena there are parties going on. There are opportunities for you to come be a part of this whether you have a ticket or not. This is where you want to be. I can guarantee if you make the short drive to Wichita, you're going to have a great time."

Wichita is known as the 'air capital of the world.' It's also the birthplace of Pizza Hut and White Castle, and the city is home to Lynette Woodard, the first female Harlem Globe Trotter and basketball Hall of Famer. It's also home to Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director and potentially the next Secretary of State.

There will be a rally for the Jayhawks at 11 a.m., at the Glass Tent that will feature appearances by the KU band, cheerleaders, mascots and Rock Chalk Dancers. The alumni association will be there selling KU merchandise, and KU Alumni Association members who show their cards will qualify for a special gift.

Food and drink will be for sale inside the tent, which will feature a 30-foot bar, a stage, more than 10 large-screen televisions and an LED video wall. Fire pits and more bars will be set up outside. The Glass Tent will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday.

People who don’t have tickets to the games can stay and watch them broadcast at the glass tent.

The official watch party bar for KU fans in Wichita is open to the public at the Brickyard, 129 N. Rock Island.