WHERE, OH WHERE WILL TENNESSEE'S TOURNEY JOURNEY BEGIN?

 
Photo credit: Photo-Mojo
If you, like me, are wanting to travel to the first and second round weekend of the NCAA Tournament to see the Vols play, you have a problem. The phrase "all dressed up and nowhere to go" comes to mind. The bracket isn't set until this Sunday at 6:00, and then you have only a few short days to arrange travel, tickets, and accommodations.

Yeah, I know. So I thought I'd poke around and see what all of the experts were saying about where and when Tennessee would play its first game. I thought I'd find a wide disparity of opinion, but actually, it's practicially unanimous: The Vols will likely open up the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 21 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Now just because almost all of the bracketologists agree does not mean it's set in stone. After all, the "experts" I consulted range from ESPN to Pajama Sam. And yes, I made that up. Shoot, these guys could all be wrong. We won't know for certain until Sunday.

In any event, the following folks all predict that the Vols will be in Birmingham: BracketProject, ESPN, CBS Sportsline, Draft Express, Bracketography, The Bracket Board, BracketDobber, BracketWag, BracketWatch, Feature Presentation, ThermoCaster, MikeOnSports, NY Post, Orlando Sentinel, Warren Nolan.

There are other possibilities, though, and the information is below for quick reference on Sunday.

First and Second Rounds:
Thursday and Saturday, March 20 and 22, 2008 
First and Second Rounds:
Friday and Sunday, March 21 and 23, 2008
Honda Center
Anaheim, California
Host: Big West Conference
Ticket Price: $153
Phone: 714/704-2500
Web site: Honda Center
BJCC Arena
Birmingham, Alabama
Host: Southeastern Conference
Ticket Price: $153
Phone: 800/732-4849
Web site: South Tix
Pepsi Center
Denver, Colorado
Hosts: Mountain West Conference and CSU
Ticket Info: SOLD OUT
Ticket Price: $168
Phone: 719/487-2479
Web site: The MWC
Alltel Arena
Little Rock, Arkansas
Host: University of Arkansas-Little Rock
Ticket Info: SOLD OUT
Ticket Price: $158
Phone: 501/975-9000
Web site: UAL Trojans
Qwest Center Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska
Hosts: Creighton University and Missouri Valley Conference
Ticket Info: SOLD OUT
Ticket Price: $159
Phone: 402/599-6818
Web Site: Qwest Center Omaha
RBC Center
Raleigh, North Carolina
Host: North Carolina State University
Ticket Info: $165
Phone: 919/865-1510
Web site: Go Pack
Verizon Center
Washington, D.C.
Host: Georgetown University
Ticket Info: SOLD OUT
Ticket Price: $228
Phone: 202/784-6222
Web site: GU Hoyas
St. Pete Times Forum
Tampa, Florida
Host: University of South Florida
Ticket Info: $198
Phone: 813/301-2500
Web site: SP Times Forum

By the way, did you know you could still get Final Four tickets for face value? The NCAA uses something called First Dibz, described thusly:

A 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four DIBZ secures the right to purchase a FACE- VALUE ticket to both the 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal Games April 5th and the National Championship game April 7th.

For example, you can buy 8, 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four DIBZ for your favorite team. If your team makes it to the 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four then your DIBZ give you the right and obligation to pay face value for your tickets and you will be on your way to the 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four.

From the day you buy your DIBZ and up until your team is eliminated or the market is closed you have the ability to sell your DIBZ in the marketplace to other fans of your team. However, if you hold on to your DIBZ and your team does not make it to the 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four there is no refund of the price paid for your DIBZ.

So it appears that the Final Four tickets are "face value," much in the same way that season tickets are: you need an up front payment to secure the right. For Tennessee, the right, or the "dibz" ranges from $79 for upper level seats to $299 for lower level. So there you have it.

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