These major sporting events that roll into town and take over everything, they’re not exactly known for free and super-accessible stuff. But that’s exactly what’s happening today, at U.S. Bank Stadium no less. All four teams — that’s Auburn, Michigan State, Texas Tech and Virginia, if you’ve missed the news — will have practices on the court, starting at 11 a.m. and running consecutively at about 50 minutes each. It’s not a national semifinal game or anything, but if you just want to get in on the action and see some hoops inside the Vikings stadium, today’s your day.
There’s a Ferris wheel on Nicollet Mall. That doesn’t happen every day, so get over there and go for a ride. Let us know if you see any lingering piles of snow on the rooftops. It’s the main attraction, or at least the biggest, for the Final Four Tip-off Tailgate Party, a free fan festival on the mall each night this weekend. Also find games, team rallies, a little live music and food. Los Angeles soul-pop dance band Fitz & the Tantrums, a favorite at the annual Basilica Block Party, plays at 6 p.m. Monday, right before the championship game.
The indoor fan headquarters will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center. All kinds of things happening in there, from games to play, celebrity and athlete appearances, autograph signings and more.
Getting tickets to Monday night’s championship game might not be that difficult or (comparatively) expensive. Here’s one way to get your hands on title game tickets: Go downtown Saturday, watch the first semifinal at a local establishment and when that game ends, walk toward the stadium and see who’s leaving with tickets to sell.
One team’s fan base won’t be interested in attending Monday night’s game, and those folks might be looking to sell their seats. Same with the second semifinal. Saturday is a buyer’s market by the stadium, as four teams become two.
Here’s the lineup for the March Madness Music Series at the Armory. Tickets are sold out so you’ll need to get creative to get in the door:
Friday: The Chainsmokers, with Judah & The Lion.
Saturday: Jonas Brothers, with Elle King.
Sunday: Katy Perry, with Zedd.
While you’re down on the mall: Get your social media selfie face ready and go check out a cool, large 3-D NCAA tournament bracket outside of the IDS Center (right).
Basketball in the Mall of America? It might be worth a trip just to see what that looks like. There’s a 3-on-3 national championship happening in the rotunda much of the weekend. Pick up some new jeans for spring and an Orange Julius while you’re there.
Cute kids, dribbling basketballs, in parade, all jazzed about the festivities ... this might be irresistible. Get your cameras ready! Sunday at 2 p.m., starting at the Convention Center, is the Final Four Dribble, a downtown youth basketball parade.
We’ll cheat here and jam about 100 ideas into one: Pick up the (ahem) Star Tribune’s Essential Twin Cities Guide that published Thursday. Tons of ideas. On your phone: m.startribune.com/guide.
Practice your acting and accents. You can wander around downtown and, in your best Southern accent, randomly yell “War Eagle!” and see what happens. (Nice folks in orange and blue will yell back: “War Eagle!”). Or practice your Texas twang and shout “Guns up!” (... Actually, please be a little careful with that one. It is Texas Tech’s cheer, though.) Or just make new friends with your own sayings and accent, doncha know.
STAR TRIBUNE SPORTS