The Kentucky Wildcats' run toward perfection has helped boost Final Four ticket prices to record levels.
The University of Kentucky is 38-0 and needs two more wins to become the first undefeated champion in men's Division I basketball in 39 years. With the Final Four in nearby Indianapolis, resale ticket prices are the highest since the market was first tracked in 2011.
The average resale price for an all-session strip of tickets to the semifinals Saturday and title game on Monday is $1,893, according to secondary market ticket aggregator TiqIQ. The price is 25 percent higher than the previous record a year ago.
"Everybody wants to be a part of history," Chris Matcovich, a spokesman for New York-based TiqIQ, said. "And you don't have the Cinderellas coming into play in the Final Four this year. You have the big dogs." The other teams in the Final Four are Wisconsin, Duke and Michigan State.
Of tickets sold so far, 31 percent have come from the state of Kentucky; followed by 24 percent in Indiana; 14 percent from Michigan, and 13 percent from Wisconsin. Just five percent of ticket sales have come from North Carolina.
The cheapest full-session ticket is $643, almost double the $342 cost of entry a year ago at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, according to TiqIQ.
The face-value price for the least expensive lower-level full-session strips is $270, while the upper level begins at $190, according to the NCAA. At least 700 students for each team will have $40 floor seats for their school's semifinal game.
Ticket prices spiked over the weekend after Kentucky squeaked by Notre Dame 68-66 on Saturday, as the average price paid rose 31 percent to $1,625 from $1,239, according to aggregator SeatGeek.
"It's the UK fan base that is driving the record demand we're seeing thus far, and they seem fairly confident they'll see the Wildcats play two games in Indy," said Connor Gregoire, an analyst for New York-based SeatGeek.
Chapman returns to Kentucky's 'Team Stream'
Former UK basketball player Rex Chapman will join Dave Baker and Michael Eaves on Turner Sports' "homer" broadcast of Saturday's Kentucky-Wisconsin game,
The game's primary broadcast from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis will be on TBS at about 8:49 p.m. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery will call the action.
Each team in the Final Four will also be represented by a broadcast trio that will focus its attentions on their squad.
Kentucky's "homer" broadcast will be shown on TNT.
Longtime Lexington sportscaster Dave Baker, who was the Kentucky sideline reporter last year, moves into the play-by-play role. He and Chapman will team with Michael Eaves, a UK alumnus and former Lexington sports anchor who now works for Al Jazeera America. Rob Bromley of WKYT handled the UK play-by-play on last year's debut of the "Team Stream" broadcast, alongside Baker and Chapman.
The broadcast that focuses on Wisconsin will be shown on TruTV, with play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee, analyst Mike Kelley and sideline reporter Phil Dawson.
Cauley-Stein named Wooden All-American
Willie Cauley-Stein added to his cache of awards when he was named a 2015 John R. Wooden All-American on Monday night.
The Kentucky junior forward was one of 10 Wooden All-Americans named. All are finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, which goes to college basketball's top player. The winner will be named April 10.
This season's other nine Wooden All-Americans are Ron Baker (Wichita State), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Jerian Grant (Notre Dame), Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Jahlil Okafor (Duke), D'Angelo Russell (Ohio State), Seth Tuttle (Northern Iowa), Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga) and Delon Wright (Utah).
Cauley-Stein, Grant, Kaminsky, Okafor and Russell have been invited to the awards show in Los Angeles.
Cauley-Stein became Kentucky's 25th consensus first-team All-American on Monday after the Associated Press and National Association of Basketball Coaches selected the 7-footer as a first-teamer. The NCAA recognizes the Sporting News, AP, NABC and United States Basketball Writers Association All-America teams in considering consensus All-Americans. Cauley-Stein was earlier named a first-team All-American by the USBWA and Sporting News.
Cauley-Stein has been one of the main forces behind Kentucky's historic 38-0 season, averaging 9.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per game.
Cauley-Stein, who was named MVP of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and the league's defensive player of the year, also is a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the Naismith Trophy and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.
Calipari named NABC's coach of the year
For the third time in his career, John Calipari has been named national coach of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Only the late John Wooden, with five awards, has more than Calipari.
Calipari previously won the award in 1996 while at Massachusetts and in 2009 at Memphis.
Calipari has led Kentucky (38-0) to its second Final Four in a row and fourth in five years this season.
Calipari was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career earlier this season. He was also Sporting News National Coach of the Year, and is one of four finalists for the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year award.
He is also one of 12 finalists eligible to go in to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. The Class of 2015 will be announced Monday.