Excitement is brewing in Connecticut because the UConn men’s basketball team will be playing in the Sweet Sixteen tonight against Iowa State tonight at Madison Square Garden.
UConn is expecting a lot of fans to make the short trip to New York to support the team and Metro-North has added an extra New Haven Line train today to accommodate fans traveling to New York City.
The Metro-North train will leave New Haven at 4:15 p.m., make a stop in Bridgeport at 4:36 p.m. and arrive in Grand Central Terminal at 6 p.m.
This game is so hot that tickets are even more expensive than for the Final Four in Texas.
On StubHub, ticket prices range from $500 to well over $1,000.
Officials from UConn’s athletic office said NCAA allocated 1,250 tickets to the university. Those tickets go to the players and coaches for their families and UConn staff as well as major donors, The 200 tickets that were left were available to students, based on a lottery.
John Shuster, a senior from Manchester, said he'd love to go, but it's a little much and people grabbed tickets pretty fast, even with the high prices.
Dan Garofalo, a junior from Southbury, said he supports the team and goes to all the games, but it is not fair to students that the tickets are so expensive.
“We've got more interest in this game than any other game the entire year,” Jay Mullarkey, vice president of TicketNetwork, a national online marketplace based in South Windsor, said.
He attributes part of the high interest to proximity.
"Everyone wants to see a basketball game at Madison Square Garden and the fact that UConn's in the game makes it even more desirable," he said.
He also attributes it to history because UConn was ineliglible last year.
Since not everyone can go to the game, parties are also planned in Manhattan.
The UConn alumni association will be holding a pre-game pep rally at Affinia Manhattan Ballroom, 371 Seventh Ave., in New York. Tickets are $25 per person and pre-registration is required.
You don’t need a game ticket to attend, but you do have to wear blue and white.
The alumni association is also inviting people to watch the game with fellow Huskies at The Thirsty Fan, 254 W 31st St.
Metro-North is adding extra cars on several trains leaving New Haven between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., especially the 3:50 p.m. train from New Haven.
After the game, Metro-North will add cars to New Haven-bound trains, where possible, on trains departing Grand Central between 9:30 and 11:22 p.m., according to UConn.