WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Final preparations for the NCAA tournament are being made at Mackey Arena. A number of changes have been made to accommodate fans before the first play-in games on March 18.
The scene outside the arena has been hectic with buses moving teams in and out of practice and workers making final adjustments before the first tip-off. Players, TV crews, police and others have been bustling about.
The most noticeable change is to the court. A NCAA branded court has been placed over the original Purdue court which has been covered and protected. Next to the court, team benches will extend into the bleachers.
Fans will be seated in the upper bowl and socially distanced. The concourse will have limited concessions with social distancing markers and other health safety measures.
Assistant Athletic Director and Event Manager Katie Egloff says these measures are a top priority.
"We want to make sure we can have all these games and keep people as healthy and safe as possible," Egloff said.
"But remember that we didn't get to have this last year so it's really fortunate that we've made it to this point and can have these games."
Egloff says she's noticed the excitement players have had entering the new-look Mackey and hopes fans feel the same.
They've been excited as they've come down our tunnel and gotten to see the court. So hopefully their player guests and the fans that are coming will have that same excitement when they come into Mackey," Egloff said.
the first tip-off is at 6:27 p.m. tomorrow with Drake playing Wichita State. UCLA will take on Michigan State at 9:57 p.m.