Hartford Has It: American Men’s Hoops, Spirit Festival Nationals & St. Pat’s Parade

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Tournament Schedule

The American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship will begin with three first-round games on Thursday, March 12. Two quarterfinal doubleheaders will be played Friday, March 13, followed by a semifinal doubleheader Saturday, March 14. The final will take place Sunday, March 15. Tickets can be purchased by the session (using the links below) or for the entire championship.

First Round – Thursday, March 12
Game 1: 3:30pm #8 East Carolina vs #9 UCF
Game 2: 6pm #7 Tulane vs #10 Houston
Game 3: 8pm #6 UConn vs #11 USF

Quarterfinals – Friday, March 13
Game 4: 12pm #1 SMU vs Winner Game 1
Game 5: 2pm #4 Temple vs #5 Memphis

Quarterfinals – Friday, March 13
Game 6: 7pm #2 Tulsa vs Winner Game 2
Game 7: 9pm #3 Cincinnati vs Winner Game 3

Semifinals – Saturday, March 14
Game 8: 3pm Winner Game 4 vs Winner Game 5
Game 9: 5pm Winner Game 6 vs Winner Game 7

Championship Game – Sunday, March 15
Game 10: 3:15pm Winner Game 8 vs Winner Game 9

Basketball Fan Fest, XL Center Exhibition Hall
Friday, March 13, 11 am – 9 pm
Saturday, March 14, Noon – 5 pm
Sunday, March 15, Noon – 3 pm
Fan Fest activities are free and open to the public. Highlights include an exhibition from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, a Half Court Challenge where you can test your basketball skills against fellow fans, a Kids Zone with basketball inflatables, sign making and activities for children, a Man Cave & Game Room lounge area, a Beer Garden with a full-size trailer bar, a photo booth, First Alert Weather Center, Sports Desk, social media hub, giveaways and more. Enjoy the Taste of the American featuring specialty menu items from each of the participating universities (tokens must be purchased to sample foods).

Championship Pep Rally, XL Center
Sunday, March 15, 1:00 pm
Cheer on the top two teams as they compete for The American title. The event features appearances by each university’s bands, cheerleaders, and mascots and will take place on the court in Fan Fest.

A downloadable Fan Guide and additional information about the tournament can be downloaded from the XL Center‘s website.

Dining
Looking for fans of your favorite team? Each school has been assigned a fan base restaurant in Hartford, shown on the map below. Show your ticket stub or tournament credentials at any of these restaurants during the tournament and to receive 15%* off your bill.

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The following restaurants will also offer discounts to basketball game ticket holders:

Infinity Music Hall Bistro, 32 Front Street
Nixs Hartford, 40 Front Street
Peppercorn’s Grill, 357 Main Street
Salute, 100 Trumbull Street
Ted’s Montana Grill, 35 Front Street

*15% discount Does not include alcohol, tax, or gratuity

Looking for something different? View additional downtown Hartford restaurants and bars.

Saturday, March 14: Directions and Parking

The Hartford Parking Authority and Police Department have implemented specific traffic and parking plans for those visiting the XL Center for the games on Saturday, March 14, due to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Spirit Festival Nationals. Patrons will be required to follow HPA & HPD instructions and park in designated areas associated with the highway exit taken. Hartford Ambassadors will be stationed throughout the city to provide assistance and answer questions; and staff and volunteers will be providing assistance on social media.

Highway off-ramp access into Downtown Hartford will be available only at these exits on Saturday:

  • I-84E, Exit 49, Chapel Street/High Street/Ann Uccello Street
  • I-84 W, Exit 50, Downtown Hartford
  • I-91N & I-91S, Exit 32B, Trumbull Street

The images below show the available access routes, along with suggested parking options.

Parking & the dash
Thursday & Friday: Many downtown garages and surface lots near the XL Center will offer a Special Event Parking rate of $6 if the driver presents a game ticket, credential, or wears a hat or clothing item of one of the participating basketball teams.
Saturday & Sunday: Downtown garages and surface lots located North of Asylum St. and South of Pleasant St. will offer a Special Event Parking rate of $6 per day.

The map below highlights the preferred parking locations and includes the dash shuttle bus route.
fAAC_Guide_map

Rides on the dash are free; operating hours are as follows:

  • Thursday: 7am to midnight
  • Friday: 7 am to midnight
  • Saturday: 3 pm to midnight
  • Sunday: 7 am to 7 pm