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Eastern Washington University Basketball

Getting to Indy: What Gonzaga, Eastern Washington fans should know about traveling to the Big Dance

By Justin Reed For The Spokesman-Review

For the first time in school history, Gonzaga secured the No. 1 overall seed to the NCAA Tournament.

In a year unlike any other, the entirety of the NCAA Tournament will happen in Indianapolis – with a few games in nearby Bloomington and West Lafayette, Indiana.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the 16-seed play-in game between Norfolk State and Appalachian State, while Big Sky champ Eastern Washington faces blue blood Kansas.

Time to load up the luggage in your overhead compartment or trunk and head to the Hoosier State.

But if you can’t secure tickets to the games, you’re out of luck before you even begin.

A quick check on the ticket markets indicates they’re going for anywhere between $30 and upward of $750 per ticket.

Tickets are only on sale for the first four games, first round and second round. Sweet 16 and Elite Eight tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Tickets are sold per venue, per round and per game. There will be no all-session tickets this tournament.

Unfortunately, the NCAA hasn’t announced times or venues for matchups yet.

Now, what are the options to get to Indianapolis?

On Sunday, round-trip plane tickets are going for $500 to $1,000 across all airlines. If you want to go, it’s time to grab that credit card and book those flights, as prices likely will rise as the week and month goes on.

The flight would require a stop, and total travel time is around six hours.

Flying at 30,000 feet in a metal tube with wings not your cup of tea? Don’t worry, it wasn’t for NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky either. But don’t fret, there’s always the automobile.

A 29-hour jaunt cross-country and 1,948 miles from downtown Spokane, and you’ll find yourself at “The Crossroads of America.”

To get there and back, plus driving around Indianapolis, would be approximately 4,000 miles.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average fuel economy for a car/truck/SUV is 21.1 miles a gallon.

So a 4,000-mile trip would take about 190 gallons of gas.

Taking the average gas prices from the eight states you would have to drive through comes out to $2.86 a gallon.

Doing the math, it would cost around $542 for gas alone, vehicle depending. Plus, an oil change would be on the horizon after a trip like that.

Maybe you’ve been wanting to give Amtrak a try. A mixed service (both passenger and freight cars) ticket to Indianapolis and back would be around $500.

Now, if we’re really counting the pennies, maybe a classic ride on the Greyhound bus is more your speed.

A round-trip, nonrefundable ticket is $375, but you’d have to endure a 43-hour ride. Be ready to make some new friends, or if you’re feeling like an isolationist, pack those headphones.

All right, you’ve made it. Hopefully a bed is available, and hopefully this was figured out before you left the Lilac City or Cheney.

Worst case, you could sleep in your mode of transportation if you drove. But most likely a hotel is in the cards.

A stay at the InTown Suites would be $35 a night. Or if you want a pool and a continental breakfast, a stay at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis is $285 a night. There are plenty of options, but as with the flights, expect prices to go up and availability to plummet.

Now you’ll need a way to get around town.

If you drove, that price was already factored in. Uber’s price estimator currently has rates just above $1 a mile, if you’re using the service for at least a 10-mile trip.

Or just pack your most comfortable Nikes and enjoy the Midwest weather a bit more.

Shorter rides are more expensive per mile and surge times (more demand) also lead to price increases.

Factor in a minimum of $15 a meal, and your food bill will add up quick.

Taking everything into account, a trip to Indianapolis offers many options and is feasible if you don’t procrastinate, leading to a ballooned budget.

If you want to watch every possible Bulldog or Eagle game (if either wins the national championship), an almost 20-day stay would be needed for the entirety of the madness.