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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Denver, San Jose and Philadelphia: Here’s how to follow the Gonzaga men, women and WSU women to their NCAA destinations

March 12, 2023 Updated Sun., March 12, 2023 at 8:48 p.m.

Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge, center, leads her team in singing the school fight song during an NCAA Tournament selection watch party at Gesa Field in Pullman. The team will play Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.  (Geoff Crimmins/For The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge, center, leads her team in singing the school fight song during an NCAA Tournament selection watch party at Gesa Field in Pullman. The team will play Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. (Geoff Crimmins/For The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo
By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

Gonzaga heads to Denver for the third time in its NCAA history.

The Bulldogs were 11 seeds both previous times – their only times in program history ranked at No. 11.

In 2011, they beat No. 6 St. John’s before falling to Jimmer Fredette and No. 3 BYU. Then in 2016, the Zags topped No. 6 Seton Hall and the Jakob Poeltl-led No. 3 Utah Utes.

So, in 2023, Gonzaga is headed to the Mile High City again, this time as a No. 3 seed to face No. 11 Grand Canyon .

Tipoff is scheduled for Friday at 4:35 p.m. on truTV in Ball Arena.

Colorado provides Gonzaga with its fourth-most students by state (4% as of 2022), so there likely will be no shortage of Bulldogs supporters in the stands.

As Bulldogs fans from around the country assemble in Denver, here are the costs to get there from Spokane.

(All prices are as of Sunday night.)

Before the luggage is loaded in an overhead compartment or a trunk, it might be beneficial to secure game tickets through Ticketmaster, the official ticketing partner of the NCAA.

There are tickets available on secondary markets for hundreds of dollars more than face value.

On Ticketmaster, a session two ticket ranged from $95 to a verified retail ticket five rows off the court for $1,325.

To watch the morning games, session one tickets are around the same cost.

As No. 3 seeds in the tournament are historically 122-22 in first round matchups, planning to see the Zags on Sunday would be wise.

Sunday tickets are sitting between $110 and the same person selling his or her fifth-row tickets on Friday is also selling tickets for the second round for $1,855 each.

Now, with the tickets secured, it is time to find out how to get down there before Friday night.

The quickest and most convenient way south would be via airplane, with tickets on United being the cheapest option at $618.80 per round -trip economy ticket.

United operates nonstop from Spokane to Denver, so sit back, and enjoy a pack of Biscoff cookies during the two-and-a-half-hour flight.

If planes are a nonstarter, unfortunately Amtrak is not possible between Spokane and Denver, but thankfully, Greyhound is here to save the day.

A round-trip ticket that leaves Thursday night – and arriving on Friday evening – is $667.59.

So for almost $50 more, and 20 hours more of travel time, go ahead and hop on a bus that has more legroom than an airplane and free Wi-Fi.

If 22 hours in a bus is not preferred, driving your own car might be an option.

It would take just more than 16 hours each way – if stops aren’t factored in – and 1,091.4 miles each way.

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

Using that math, it would take 103.5 gallons of gas to get there and back.

Averaging out the five states the car would pass through – Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado – that comes out to $3.71 a gallon.

For a low fee of $383.80, and more than 2,000 miles of road wear, make sure the car has an oil change before the trek.

Unless the car doubles as a bed, you’ll need a hotel. SpringHill Suites by Marriott is the closest choice at $559 a night, plus taxes and fees.

For a less expensive option, the Hilton Garden Inn by Coors Field is $220 a night.

According to the Denverite, in 2022, Denver had the third-highest Uber costs in the country behind New York and Nashville, so don’t forget to factor in those costs.

Gonzaga Women

The Gonzaga women have their own flight to take as they head down the coast to Stanford, just outside of San Jose, Calif.

Friday’s NCAA women’s tournament tickets go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m.

According to SeatGeek, average first -round women’s tickets typically start around $50 per session.

Hopping on an airplane would be $495 for a round-trip ticket via Delta.

Both the flight down and back go through Seattle, taking between four and five hours of travel time.

Using the same math as above (but with Washington, Oregon and California gas price average of $4.36), to drive to San Jose would be 1,815 miles, or 86 gallons of gas for a total of $374.96 worth of gas.

The Greyhound option is $579.62 for a round-trip ticket.

The closest hotel is the Westin Palo Alto for $218 a night. A few miles further is the Best Western Plus Riviera at $132 a night.

Washington State Women

Rounding out the teams who made the tournament from the Evergreen State, the Cougars will have the furthest to travel as their destination is the home of Rocky Balboa.

Thursday’s tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.

Philadelphia is quite the journey. The games will be played at Finneran Pavilion on the Villanova campus.

Delta is really the only option again and to go east then back west would be $738 with a stop in Seattle both ways.

A road trip would be 5,098 miles, which would almost mean an oil change before and after the trip.

For an average of $3.50 for gas between the 11 states that would be traversed, the gas bill would be $845.64.

And finally, the Greyhound choice is the more economical option for $590.12 round trip.

There are a very limited number of hotels around the Villanova campus, but the closest – and nationally recognizable – is the Courtyard by Marriot for $159 a night.

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