MILWAUKEE -- Officials at the BMO Harris Bradley Center were putting on the finishing touches Tuesday, March 14th before the NCAA Tournament takes over the building for the rest of the week. This will be the seventh time the building has hosted the tournament.
"It's a great event, not only for the facility, but for the City of Milwaukee and the entire area -- bringing in a lot of people from out of town," said Paul Jansen, Bradley Center vice president of business.
On Tuesday, the floor was in place and so were the signs.
"We're really pleased we can do it one more time before the building closes next year," said Jansen.
Jansen said the spectacle seems to get bigger each time it passes through town.
"It's certainly more complicated this year than it was, even in 2014, 2010, or back to 1992 when we first hosted the tournament," said Jansen.
Preparing the arena meant a number of changes most people won't notice. Storage areas have become work spaces, and concession stands have become platforms.
Officials with Trinity Three Irish Pub and The Harp Irish Pub always put a tent in the street for St. Patrick's Day, and this year, the holiday falls between the two sets of tournament games.
"We're going to have the tent up for three days so there's going to be TVs everywhere, some live entertainment," said Tina Lawler, marketing director.
With millions of eyes about to be on Milwaukee, the hosts were busy getting everything in order both outside and inside the arena.
"Seventh and final time and we're looking forward to going out with a bang," said Jansen.
The excitement begins Wednesday, as all eight teams will have open practices that are free to the public. As far as the games Thursday and Saturday, we've been told tickets are still available at the box office.
The following teams will face off in Milwaukee Thursday:
- No. 5 seed Iowa State and No. 12 seed Nevada
- No. 4 seed Purdue and No. 13 seed Vermont
- No. 4 Butler will face No. 13 Winthrop
- No. 5 Minnesota and No. 12 Middle Tennessee