All eight teams participating in the Columbus sub-regionals held open practices Thursday at Nationwide Arena. Kentucky had by far the largest number of fans watching its practice.
The Robinsons were hoping to find tickets for tonight's game or the one Sunday if the Cats win as expected tonight. However, tickets were hard to come by, and some fans said they paid as much as $600 to get into both sessions.
"We've seen a few people selling tickets, but mainly it is people wanting to buy tickets. We didn't buy tickets early because you never know for sure which teams will be playing here until the pairings are made, and by then it was too late," Sam Robinson said. "But this is still a treat just to see the Wildcats in person."
They have seen the Wildcats play in Cleveland, Indianapolis and Athens, Ohio, in recent years. They've even been able to get tickets to a few games at Rupp Arena during the Christmas holidays. However, they were hoping to see UK play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time here.
They looked on eBay for tickets, but decided the asking prices were too high. Pam Robinson was planning to be at the arena this morning to see if any participating school returned tickets that would go on sale.
"We are still hoping, but we are not optimistic," Sam Robinson said.
They were also a bit disappointed that actress Ashley Judd was not at Thursday's practice. But at least Erik Daniels was.
"He's our favorite player," Pam Robinson said. "We are really going to miss him next year. We just love the way he plays."
The couple does not get back to Kentucky often. However, Sam Robinson does come to one UK football game every year with Steve Sullivan, the former Lincoln County and Garrard County football coach who is now the computer coordinator at Boyle County.
"We sent Steve an e-mail that said: 'Bed ready. Bring tickets.' But we never heard back from him," Pam Robinson said. "But we're not giving up. If we don't get tickets Friday, then we'll just try again for Sunday."