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Plenty of tickets left for NCAA games in New Orleans

Tickets are still available for the University of Kentucky's first-round NCAA Tournament game, and for a second-round game if the Cats get there. But hotel rooms and flights are harder to come by — and pricier.

New Orleans Arena spokesman Bill Curl said he thinks a lot of people, including UK fans and Louisiana locals, will buy tickets at the door. Curl said early ticket sales were a little slow.

Those who purchase a ticket at the door should be able to snag a decent seat, Curl said. New Orleans Arena has the best sight lines for seats in the NBA, he said.

"A lot of people are aware that we're not sold out, and they will be able to buy a ticket at the door," he said. "And I think a lot of them plan to do that."

Curl did not have exact numbers regarding ticket availability on Wednesday, but he said he does not expect the game to sell out. UK has sold its allotment of 550 tickets, UK spokesman John Hayden said.

"I'm sure tickets will be available up to tip-off," Curl said.

New Orleans Arena will host first- and second-round games of the tournament. Tickets are $198 per book, and the books are good for all games on Thursday and Saturday. Tickets for Saturday's session only also are available.

Hotel rooms and flights won't be as easy to obtain as game tickets. A Lexington travel agent said UK fans should be willing to pay premium rates, and it will help if they're flexible on the arrangements.

"We have lots of excitement," said Darlene Silvestri, co-owner of Avant Travel in Lexington. "Everybody is very enthusiastic."

Avant Travel has helped people make hotel arrangements and book flights. Silvestri said the biggest challenge has been getting people on a return flight for Sunday. She said some people have been willing to return to Lexington on Monday.

UK students on spring break have filled many of the flights.

There also aren't a lot of hotel rooms available in popular areas such as the French Quarter, she said.

Most of the people who have contacted Avant Travel already have game tickets, Silvestri said. Avant Travel does not offer tickets.

Tourism officials in New Orleans say there is still plenty of space in the city for guests. And many of the hotel rooms are downtown, which is walking distance from the arena, said Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For information about the arena or tickets, go to www.neworleansarena.com.

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