College basketball fans impressed with Kansas City’s hospitality

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Throngs of college basketball fans are swarming downtown this weekend as Kansas City hosts the Sweet 16 Midwest Regional basketball games.

Fans are impressed with what they’ve seen so far.

Kansas City takes pride in hosting basketball tournaments, whether it be the Big 12 or the NCAA.

Downtown is known for rolling out the red carpet to make sure everyone has a good time. And this year is no exception, even though the local schools — Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri — aren’t involved.

Austin Bolinger arrived Thursday night from Colorado to root on the North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night.

He’s already taken in some of the sights and sounds of Midwestern hospitality.

“This morning we went to the college basketball hall of fame and toured it,” Bolinger said. “It was just surreal. It was a dream come true, because growing up watching college basketball and seeing that stuff, it was a dream come true.”

Like many of the out-of-towners, Bolinger said he’s looking forward to tasting some Kansas City barbecue. Many fans say they will try different joints at both lunch and dinner.

Most don’t plan to do much driving. They say there’s plenty to do within walking distance of the arena.

The tournament is big business for downtown hotels and restaurants who say they’re booked with basketball fans and Planet Comicon visitors, which is also happening this weekend at the Bartle Hall Convention Center.

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