Michigan State University is set to make its 25th consecutive men’s NCAA Tournament appearance.
As part of the East Region, MSU will be playing in Columbus, Ohio on Friday afternoon against USC.
The first round game takes place from Nationwide Arena, which is a relatively short drive for most Michigan natives.
If deciding to make the trip to Columbus for the weekend, here’s what you need to know about the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
NCAA Tournament First Round in Columbus
Michigan State enters the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed in the East.
The Spartans will kick off play on Friday at Nationwide Arena against No. 10 USC at 12:15 p.m. ET. The game will air live on CBS.
Friday’s game for the Spartans is the first of four games taking place that day in Columbus, all as part of the East Region. The full schedule looks like this:
- 12:15 p.m.: No. 10 USC vs. No. 7 Michigan State
- 2:45 p.m.: No. 15 Vermont vs. No. 2 Marquette
- 6:50 p.m.: No. 16 Farleigh Dickinson/Texas Southern vs. No. 1 Purdue
- 9:20 p.m.: No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 8 Memphis
The winners of the four games will advance to Sunday’s second round. The winners of the afternoon games will meet up, while the evening winners will face off. Game times for Sunday will be announced on Saturday.
Michigan State NCAA Tournament tickets
Tickets for the games in Columbus are sold by session, and MSU will be playing USC in Session 1 at Columbus.
A ticket for Session 1 will get you that game and the Vermont/Marquette matchup. As of Wednesday morning, the least expensive tickets were going for $64 in the upper levels at Ticketmaster.
For lower-level seating, tickets start at about $120.
Getting to Nationwide Arena
Columbus isn’t too far of a drive for most Michiganders. It’s similar to a trip to Chicago.
You can fly, but driving is a much more affordable option.
Nationwide Arena is located at 200 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215.
Coming from Michigan, you will work your way down to the southeast corner and find yourself on either I-75 S or US-23 S. If coming from 75, you will eventually work your way onto US-23 S.
From US-23 S, work your way onto OH-315 S as you get about 20 miles from Columbus.
As you close in on Columbus, take exit 1F toward Neil Ave. Neil Ave. will take you to Nationwide Boulevard, where you will see Nationwide Arena on your left.
Another option to get to the arena is using the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). You can visit COTA.com for schedule info as to which lines to take based on where you are coming from in Columbus.
Parking at Nationwide Arena
Nationwide Arena boasts that its has over 15,000 parking spaces within a 10-minute walk.
There are a variety of surface lots and parking garages available.
Parking for arena events is available for advanced purchase and day-of purchase.
All pick-ups and drop-offs using ride sharing services take place on West St.
Does Ohio have legal sports betting?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Ohio, as it launched on Jan. 1. Despite being two years behind legal sports betting in Michigan, Ohio managed to handle more than $1 billion in sports bets in its opening month.
While you can place wagers on your phone in Ohio, you won’t find a retail sportsbook at Nationwide Arena.
A rumored BetFanatics sportsbook was in discussion, but has yet to materialize.
You can find a list of available sportsbooks in Ohio at PlayOhio.com.
What to know when visiting Nationwide Arena
Like Michigan’s pro sports venues, Nationwide Arena is a cashless venue.
All purchases within the arena need to be made with a debit or credit card. Mobile wallet options like Apple Pay or Google Pay are also accepted.
Nationwide Arena offers Cash-2-Card reverse ATM’s at the box office, main concourse and upper concourse. These allow you to exchange cash for a no-fee debit VISA card to use in the arena. The cards can also be used anywhere VISA is accepted.
Mobile ticketing is also used in the arena.
Alcohol is sold at Nationwide Arena, since it is a venue that hosts a professional hockey team.
Food options at the arena also include gluten friendly and vegan friendly options.
Nationwide Arena also offers sensory inclusion packs for those that may feel overwhelmed in the environment. Packs include fidget toys, a weighted lap pad, sunglasses, non-verbal cards and noise-reducing headphones.
For any other questions on Nationwide Arena, check out their A to Z Guide.