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Lots of $20 tickets for Columbia NCAA games. But to see Zion, it’ll cost you

Time-lapse video: Colonial Life Arena transformed for NCAA Tournament

The University of South Carolina's Colonial Life Arena is getting ready to host the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
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The University of South Carolina's Colonial Life Arena is getting ready to host the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

If you’re bargain hunting for tickets to the NCAA basketball regional tournament in Columbia, you have a lot of options. But if you want to see Zion Willliamson and the Duke Blue Devils, it’ll cost you.

Ticket’s for Session 1, which feature features the nation’s No. 2 team Virginia versus tiny Gardner-Webb of Boiling Springs, N.C., and Oklahoma versus Ole Miss, are selling on the secondary market for a little as $10, with the majority of the upper deck priced at $20.

And even lower bowl tickets can be had for as little as $30 on StubHub.

But if you want to get into Colonial Life Arena Friday evening to get a glimpse of the phenom named Zion, you’re going to have to pull out your wallet. The cheapest ticket for the game between Duke and either N.C. Central or North Dakota State is about $100, with lower bowl tickets selling from $160 to $350.

Session 2 also features Virginia Commonwealth versus Central Florida.

And Session 3 on Sunday, which features the winners of the Friday matchups, are selling from $112 to about $350.

The ticket system works like this: You have three official options to purchase tickets from tournament partner Ticketmaster. or from secondary markets like StubHub.

You can either buy tickets for individual sessions or for the regional as a whole, called a “full strip.” On Tuesday, full strip tickets were available on StubHub for from $179 for nosebleeds to $900 for center court seats.

In Columbia, games will be played on Friday and Sunday.

There will be two sessions on Friday — one in the afternoon and one in the evening. And one session on Sunday.

The Friday afternoon session features the South regional with No. 8 seed Ole Miss versus No. 9 seed Oklahoma. at 12:40 p.m. At 3 p.m. No. 1 Virginia plays No. 16 Gardner-Webb.

After the two afternoon games, Colonial Life Arena will be cleared and prepared for the evening session, which will feature the East regional with No. 1 Duke versus the winner of the N.C. Central-North Dakota State game. (That game, called a play-in game or “First Four,” will have been played Wednesday in Dayton with the winner going against Duke as a No. 16 seed.)

The second game of the East regional will feature No. 8 Virginia Commonwealth University versus No. 9 Central Florida.

On Sunday, there will be two games: the winner of Duke-N.C. Central/North Dakota State will play the winner of VCU/UCF and the winner of Ole Miss/Oklahoma will play the winner of Virginia/Gardner-Webb.

The two remaining teams after Sunday will advance to the regional finals, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, (South regional) and Washington, D.C. (East regional).

And you want to know a pro tip? If either Virginia or Duke is upset on Friday (No. 16 University of Maryland-Baltimore County beat No. 1 Virginia last year), the price of those Sunday tickets could drop dramatically.

South Region

(8) Ole Miss vs. (9) Oklahoma, 12:40 p.m. Friday (truTV)

(1) Virginia vs. (16) Gardner-Webb, Approximately 3 p.m. Friday (truTV)

East Region

(1) Duke vs. (16) NC Central-North Dakota State winner, 7:10 p.m. Friday (CBS)

(8) VCU vs. (9) UCF, Approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday (CBS)

The State's Andrew Ramspacher previews the stars and storylines for the NCAA Tournament in Columbia.

Follow more of our reporting on Columbia is a host city for the first two rounds of March Madness 2019. This will be a place for relevant stories from The State covering host city game info to be tagged and curated.

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