More than 200 students compete for NCAA tickets at lottery


Jennifer Johnson (left) and Lauren Sadler start to worry as fewer and fewer spots were left available during the student ticket lottery for the UK basketball games in Louisville for the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The lottery took place in Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky., on 3/12/12. Photo by Mike Weaver

By Les Johns

They drove from Frankfort, Ky., for a random chance at scoring student tickets to watch the Cats compete in the NCAA Tournament.

Biology sophomore Andrew Slucher and psychology and political science sophomore Lauren Henderson were second and third in line as the doors opened at 4 p.m. for the ticket distribution lottery.

More than 200 students showed up for a 50-50 shot at the 100 student tickets up for grabs at the NCAA student ticket lottery at Memorial Coliseum Monday afternoon.

“We are excited for the chance to get these tickets. We decided last night, and we came on over and it turns out we were the first in line,” Henderson said. “I haven’t been to an NCAA Tournament ever and I think it’s going to be a great experience. It’s going to be a lot of fun. “

The Cats will play at 6:50 p.m. Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. They’ll play the winner of Tuesday’s Mississippi Valley State/Western Kentucky game.

“I’m really excited about seeing the Cats play in Louisville,” Slucher said. “I would have loved to see the Cats win the SEC Tournament, but I actually think it is real good for them to have lost. It shows that they can’t run through the NCAA with just raw talent. They are going to have to want it. I will be disappointed if I don’t get a ticket.”

When the lottery was just a few minutes away from starting, it was clear that more than 100 students would be in attendance.

“Go to Florida. Stop coming in,” could be heard from a group waiting in section W, row 13.

“I am trying to make sure I get a ticket. I’ve had bad luck (with lotteries) recently, but hopefully I can get a ticket,” said Quentin Kenner, a freshman in row 13.

“We have four people here and we are splitting it up two ways. They’re all going to give me a ticket,” he said, laughing, while explaining his strategy.

Because each student with a winning number could bring another person along to claim a ticket, some in attendance made instant friends. Such was the case for Joey Schmidt.

Schmidt randomly chose pre-pharmacy sophomore Zach Clary to accompany him to the tournament games.  When it became apparent that Schmidt was solo in the ticket-claiming area, multiple students clamored for his attention, wanting to be chosen to see the Cats play in Louisville.

“I live in Louisville, so getting to go to a game there is going to be awesome,” Schmidt said.

“That guy (Clary) was the most boisterous of all of them,” Schmidt said when asked how he determined who would be going with him.

As in the actual games taking place this weekend, there were winners and losers Monday.

Kenner won his tickets late in the process.

“I’m so happy. I was doubting if I was going to get one, but I am so happy,” Kenner said.

Despite being second in line to start the process, Andrew Slucher did not come away with tickets.

“I was one number off on that last ticket drawn,” Slucher said. “I’m extremely disappointed right now. I want to punch things.”