They're not in Kansas anymore, but the Ford Center should feel like home for Big 12 powers Kansas and Kansas State Thursday when they open the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in Oklahoma City.
Kansas, the Big 12 regular season and tournament champion, is the NCAA Tournament's No. 1 overall seed. The Jayhawks face No. 16 seed Lehigh, the Patriot League champion, in a Midwest Regional opener Thursday. Game times will be announced later Sunday.
It marks the Jayhawks' first NCAA Tournament game in Oklahoma City since 2005 when they were stunned by No. 13-seed Bucknell in the first round. It also means KU freshman Xavier Henry, a McDonald's All-American at Putnam City High School, will make his NCAA tourney debut in his hometown.
As of Sunday, the Oklahoma City regional was one of only four first-round sites with tickets still available. Single-game tickets had yet to go on sale. All-session passes are $204 and are available at ticketmaster.com. But the assignment of Kansas and Kansas State to the Ford Center means fans from the Sunflower State could devour the available tickets quickly.
Kansas State, the No. 2 seed in the West Region, faces No. 16 North Texas, the Sunbelt Conference champion.