By Monday evening, 3,000 of the 3,500 tickets allocated to the University of Utah for this weekend's Final Four in San Antonio had been sold.
Tickets were only available to the biggest donors to the Ute program Monday and the next two levels of Crimson Club members Tuesday. No tickets will be available by Wednesday afternoon when the tickets were supposed to go on sale to the general public.The most excitement over tickets came at 6:15 p.m. Monday when the list of student lottery winners was posted on the Huntsman Center door.
A crowd of about 30 students couldn't wait to see if they were among the 175 lucky winners to receive two tickets after signing up six hours earlier. They crowded around the door when the list finally appeared, and many of the students shrieked in excitement.
"I'm there, I'm the first name on the list," shouted Jason Adams. "I'm there, baby."
"Yes, we're going to San Antonio," exclaimed medical student Gavin West as he high-fived his brother-in-law, David Durham. West said he'll gladly miss his gastrointestinal organ-system test next Tuesday, so he can attend the Final Four.
Friends Peter Duberow and Dale Walker had felt confident about their chances since they had both put their names in the lottery and figured one would win and take the other with him. "I'm driving down no matter what," Walker said. A few minutes later he and Duberow found they both made the list and now would have to find two more friends to take along.
To make sure students don't scalp the tickets, they won't be able to actually pick up their tickets until they show up at the Alamodome ticket office with their student ID's later this week.
With most flights into San Antonio and nearby cities, such as Austin, Houston and Corpus Christi already long since booked, many of the students will be forced to drive down on their own, a 1,250-mile trip or perhaps bus down.
STAYING HOME: Speaking of tickets, how about all of those overconfident Arizona fans who had already made arrangements to attend the Final Four in San Antonio this week?
A story in the Arizona Daily Star put it this way, "Some fans are feeling a bit like the jilted prom queen. They're all dressed up with no place to go."
Some 700 people had already made reservations for the trip through the Bon Voyage Travel Agency, with seven chartered airplanes standing by. Fortunately, the entire package, which included game tickets and hotel rooms, was contingent upon the Wildcats' participation in the Final Four.
"There's a lot of sad people," said agency president Peter Evans, "but nobody's out any money."
Except Evans, whose company stood to make out big from the trip to Texas.
HELP FROM DOC: Long after Ute practice ended Monday evening, former NBA guard Doc Rivers was draining long jumpers all alone on the Huntsman Center west basket.
Rivers is in town to help with the broadcast of Tuesday night's Jazz-Suns game, but he took time out Monday to address the Ute team after practice. He was waiting to go out to dinner with Ute coach Rick Majerus, who coached him at Marquette University.
The personable Rivers spoke of education more than anything, said Majerus, but also spoke of being the best player you can be and on how to play in big games.
UTE NOTES: After participating in a pep rally tonight at the Huntsman Center (6:30 p.m.), the Utes will head out Wednesday for San Antonio on Jon Huntsman's plane again . . . Majerus says he knows a good restaurant to take the team to Wednesday evening after practice . . . The Tar Heels have been installed as 8-point favorites over Utah. Arizona was a 101/2-point favorite . . . Utes are just 1-7 all-time against North Carolina with their only win coming in 1970, 105- 86, in Salt Lake.