March Madness is under way in McKenzie Arena as men's and women's basketball teams from 12 Southern Conference schools - followed by about 4,000 of their diehard fans - play for the title of SoCon champion and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The SoCon tournament tipped off Thursday with three women's games. The Lady Mocs are scheduled to play Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of the Wofford-UNC Greensboro game.
Men's tournament action starts with the Davidson-UNC Greensboro matchup at 2 p.m. today. The Mocs will play their first game Saturday at 7 p.m., taking on the winner of the Furman-Samford game.
Early games will be televised on SoConTV. Sunday's semifinals will air on SportSouth. The women's finals will air Monday on SportSouth, the men's championship on ESPN2.
Today and Saturday: 9 and 11:30 a.m
Sunday: Noon and 2:30 p.m. (semifinals to be televised on SportSouth)
Monday: 4 p.m. (championship game on SportSouth)
Today and Saturday: 2, 4:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Sunday: 6 and 8:30 p.m. (semifinals to be televised on SportSouth)
Monday: 9 p.m. (championship game on ESPN2)
Due to limited parking around McKenzie Arena, a free SoCon Shuttle will run from the front of the Chattanooga Visitors Center, 215 Broad St., to Gate 3 of the arena.
The Visitors Center is also a stop for a CARTA free electric shuttle. Ryan Peck of UTC's athletics department noted that the CARTA shuttle passes many downtown hotels on its route, making it possible for out-of-town visitors to catch the electric shuttle to the Visitors Center, where they can pick up the SoCon Shuttle. Peck advises riders to make sure they are getting on the correct shuttle.
SoCon Shuttle schedule: 8 a.m.-12:30 a.m. today and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Sunday, 3 p.m.-midnight Monday.
CARTA electric shuttle schedule: 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. today and Monday, 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tournament books with tickets to all men's and women's games are $75 with a $3 handling fee. Tickets to individual games are $15. Students (with valid ID) pay $38 and $8.
Saturday is Youth Day. Students/kids may purchase a single-session (two games) general-admission ticket for $5.
Purchase tickets online at www.tickettracks.com or call 266-6627.
SOCON BLOCK PARTY
Fans of all SoCon teams are invited to gather before or after their games tonight for live music, food and drink at Waterhouse Pavilion in Miller Plaza and the adjacent Market Street Tavern. The block party lasts from 6 p.m. to midnight.
MOCS PREGAME PARTY
Mocs fans are invited to Buffalo Wild Wings on Broad Street at 4:30 p.m. Saturday for a warm-up party before the Mocs play at 7 o'clock, according to Patrick Miles in the UTC Alumni Office.
"We'll have a small pep band there and members of our spirit squad. Anyone wearing blue and gold or who presents their UTC alumni card will get 10 percent off food purchases that evening," said Miles.
If the Mocs advance into Monday's finals, a second pep rally/party is being planned that night at Buffalo Wild Wings. It will start about two hours before the championship game's 9 p.m. tipoff.
For more information, contact either Miles at 425-4785 or Brandon Potts at 425-4233.
National anthem singers: Include Gretchen Potts, Mackenzie Morgan, Michael Mays and Rachel Holder.
Halftime acts: Include Ocoee Middle School Trash Can Band, twirler Jenny Hannah, United Twirling, Funkabuckets, Hot Shots elementary-age basketball players and Excalibur Magic.