College Sports

Unlike last time Sweet 16 was in KC, team practices will be closed to the public

Photo slideshow: Kentucky basketball practice ahead of NCAA Tournament first-round game

The Kentucky men's basketball team practices ahead of its NCAA Tournament first-round game against Abilene Christian at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 20, 2019.
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The Kentucky men's basketball team practices ahead of its NCAA Tournament first-round game against Abilene Christian at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 20, 2019.

The NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional returns to Kansas City this week minus one perk for fans:

Open practices on the day before the Sweet 16 games.

In 2017, when Kansas was part of the four-team Midwest Regional, KU fans filled the lower bowl at the Sprint Center to watch the Jayhawks’ shootaround before their game against Purdue the following night.

But under a policy enacted last year, no practices are open to the public before the regional round. Fans can still watch teams practice before their first-round NCAA Tournament games, and before the Final Four.

This year’s Midwest Regional features No. 1 seed North Carolina taking on fifth-seeded Auburn at 6:29 p.m. Friday, followed by second-seeded Kentucky playing No. 3 seed Houston around 8:59 p.m. The regional final will be Sunday at a time to be announced after Friday’s games.

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