Boys’ Sweet 16 kicks off Wednesday at Rupp Arena
Knott County Central and Elizabethtown will kick off the tournament at 11:00 a.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Last March, COVID-19 cancelled the remainder of the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena.
Now one year later, on this very same floor, a sense of normalcy returns with the Sweet 16 back in action.
“I was teasing the arena staff earlier I said it’s great to be back, but can we stay the whole week this time or maybe two? said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “You have to kinda smile about it. It’s a relief to see this thing get started.”
Knott County Central and Elizabethtown will kick off the Boys’ Sweet 16 Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., but Rupp Arena will look a bit different this year.
“People will notice that seats are further apart even the seats down on the floor the press table and things will be further apart,” added Tackett. “Everybody is going to be in a mask or they will be asked to leave. There’s a lot of things that are different.”
Things like 25% capacity. A little over 5,000 tickets will be sold for each game and unlike years past, a ticket gets you one game versus two.
“One of the things we had to allow for was the opportunity after the game to clean the seats and get things somewhat sanitized and we could not do that playing doubleheaders,” said Tackett. “That was not going to work. They got the whole end zone, so that is what will look really different.”
The Sweet 16 will look different but over the next two weeks, 32 teams get the chance to compete for a state title once again.
“Those cheerleaders will be in those end zones, the bands will be up there playing, our teams will be playing and we’ve used every mitigation strategy we knew,” said Tackett. “We’ve worked with public health and our school systems along the way to try to make it safe and we think it’s going to be a great two weeks.”
Here is Wednesday and Thursday’s schedule for the Boys’ Sweet 16:
Wednesday, March 31 (1st Round)
11 a.m. – Knott County Central vs. Elizabethtown
2 p.m. – Bowling Green vs. University Heights
5 p.m. – Madison Central vs. Ballard
8 p.m. – George Rogers Clark vs. Oldham County
Thursday, April 1 (1st Round)
11 a.m. – Muhlenberg Co. vs. Highlands
2 p.m. – Bullitt East vs. McCracken County
5 p.m. – Boyle County vs. Paintsville
8 p.m. – Knox Central vs. Ashland Blazer
Friday, April 2 (Quarterfinals)
11 a.m. – Region 14/5 vs. Region 10/8
2 p.m. – Region 11/7 vs. Region 4/2
5 p.m. – Region 12/15 vs. Region 13/16
8 p.m. – Region 6/1 vs. Region 3/9
Saturday, April 3 (Semifinals/Championship)
11 a.m. – Semifinal #1
2 p.m. – Semifinal #2
8 p.m. – Championship
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