Well, my parents had people over for Easter on Saturday, and we were watching some of the Final Four game between Duke and Michigan St. As Duke began pulling away, my g/f, a big Duke fan (meh) starts scheming ideas about going to the championship game on Monday since she didn't have to work until Wednesday. Prices were still quite high for our tightass tastes (at least $300/ea on StubHub for nose bleeds), but I thought if Wisconsin won, there was a chance that prices would fall. Wisconsin shocks Kentucky and I was right about the prices. So most of the day Sunday we kept an eye on prices and they started to gradually fall. And for the first time I could remember, other sites were offering better prices than StubHub! We kept looking at Vivid Seats, SeatGeek and Razorgator. At times they were floating in the $120/each range. But around 6:30pm or so, I am sensing things are about to change. So I push to buy the tickets from Razorgator for about $135/ea. Once we bought them, I almost immediately regretted it. I was also a bit wrong on the price, we could have got them for about $115/ea at the lowest if we waited a bit more. Mainly my concern was it was unclear how their tickets would be delivered. Most of the time they mailed the things it sounded like! For last minute deliveries it said they would “contact you”, but the problem was, they wouldn't reopen until 8am Central! The only solace is that we saw the word “flash tickets”, but this is a method I never used, so I was still worried about it. I got more freaked out than I should have over it, and g/f got quite mad at me about my paranoia...ugh But after an hour I realized there wasn't much I could do about it. Have a late dinner and try to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Nope, I still worried. Slept terrible. Also planned on calling the place exactly at 8 am Central. Problem was it was more like 8:01 I called, and I was now on hold for ~30 minutes. The employee insisted the tickets will be credited to a “Flash Ticket” account that you create on the web with your email address and attach the tickets to your credit card as your ID. But the other issue is, someone has to manually add those tickets to be flash tickets. And she said the vendor who does that doesn't start until 8:30am Central, and may take 1 to 2 hours after that! Ugh! I wanted to be on the road in an hour, and would like to know my tickets were there! So we basically leave town on faith that they will be there, and I made it clear I'd be calling back from Indy if they weren't. We stop at White Castle for a bite to eat. Shortly after 10 now and get an email saying: Thanks Mark! Why couldn't they have explained the process better in auto generated emails?? But now I feel tons better about leaving for Indy, and we book a hotel in Shelbyville, about 30 minutes from the stadium, and conveniently near a racino. We trudge along the roughly 4 hour drive without stops to Indy. Probably more like 4.5 to the hotel. Keep an eye out for places to eat, but nothing sounds good to us. Tons of signs saying White Castle, but we already ate that! So we end up checking into the hotel, and eat Cracker Barrel as nothing else sounded better. Saw a couple of Duke fans in there as well. Lots of hotels at the Shelbyville exit, and we assumed that there was a lot more people like us in the hotels. After that, it's about 5pm, and we decide to run off to the Indiana Grand Racino for a bit. It's a very nice place and opened in 2009. It's the only gaming operation in the Indy metro area, so it was quite busy, even on a Monday! Looking at the March data, it is the 2nd highest grossing racino/casino in the state at $22.48M for last month. Only Horseshoe Hammond is higher ($41.5M). So we look around the place, and eventually I decide to get a beer. $4.50 for a pint...damn Midwest. But I feel like I made a pretty good choice. A local brew originally from Shelbyville, Daredevil Lift Off IPA (7.2% ABV). Image from: http://louisvillebeer.com/reviews/beer-reviews/daredevil-lift-ipa-review/ Early on, I make a big scan of the floor. Lots of slot variety, and decent VP for a place with no direct competition. 9/5 JoB (98.45%) is on the floor everywhere for quarters through dollars. And 9/6 JoB with a $1195 SF (99.52%) at $5. And the best “gimmick” game...my favorite! 9/6 DDB w/Double STP (99.48% w/DSTP)! But unfortunately, that paytable was only for dollars; I'm too poor for that. Many other multi-line dollar games in the 99% range as well. But of course time was ticking away, and I wanted to play a little! I decide to be uber cheap though and settle on a fairly generous 7/5 Bonus (98.01%) 100-play penny game. Two quads in short succession kept me afloat. I actually quit ahead a nickel. Lol G/f joins me after getting roughed up by the slots, but there is only one penny unit, so she plays on the nickel units next to it. She plays 6/5 Super DDB (97.69%) without even asking about the best game available on the unit. Well, yeah, that one was, she's really starting to catch on. And this helped her forget about her earlier losses. Now she's up $15 and we run off to the game. Another online purchase, we buy parking for the game. We pay $19.48, saving a whopping 52 cents by doing so. Tons of bars and restaurants by our garage, and floods of people wearing red were eating and drinking at various establishments. Mainly drinking. Mostly will let captions and pics do the talking from here. Wisconsin Players Getting on the Team Bus ESPN Broadcast of the Badger Team Bus Leaving Front of Lucas Oil Stadium At this point, we have to enter the stadium. Wasn't too bad, everyone did get wanded though. And me worrying so much about those tickets. Silly. It worked like a charm! Pic of Duke warming up from Section 101, where we wished we sat! At this time, we wait in line about 10 minutes to buy a souvenir shirt for my g/f, her dad, and I at $25 a piece. Ugh. Movin' on Up! And a shot of the previous NCAA Tourney Logos held in Indy. Not our seats! 400 Section... Still not there! Now we finally get to our section. After examining our section, g/f decides to go get a soda and nachos right away as we are in the dead middle. Also if you ever buy tickets from this place, don't buy a row with N attached to it. Those rows are adjoining folding chairs that don't spring back when people stand. I'm a very clumsy person and almost fell backward when trying to scoot by all 10 people in our row that sat down before us. I didn't move for the rest of the game. Finally a shot from our seats: Bo Ryan greeting Coach K Tipoff! This pic above shows how much her camera can zoom. Here is the tipoff off of my Galaxy S5 at max 4X zoom. My g/f is being thoughtful for the VMB members. Interesting stat to me... Coach K during a substitution. Wisconsin Cheerleaders Wisconsin Band and Student Section. Scoreboard late in 1st Half The last Duke shot of the first half taken from my phone. 31-31 at Half. Half Time Show with Speed Painter David Garibaldi. Some of his work appeared in my last Vegas TR. He made this for Terry Fator in Feb. 2009. The works he did Monday night. Took him about FIVE minutes. Halftime stats, first halftime tie since 1988. Duke band and students. More Cheerleaders! Duke free throw from Tyus Jones Then Wisconsin got on a big run and was up 9 with about 13 minutes to go. I was preparing for a Duke loss for sure and prepping for a crappy post-game trip. But Grayson Allen started to help Duke claw back fortunately. Stadium pic with Duke down 5. We accidentally sat in the Wisconsin end, but the upper deck was pretty mixed. Unfortunately g/f and I were getting more into the game, so pics began to lack. Attendance shot More Cheerleaders! A shot Kaminsky? missed? with a few minutes to go on my phone. One of the handful of places the refs helped Duke out. We were in a lot better spirits now. Jones trying to wrap it up. Duke wins! Coach K interview Tyus Jones named Most Outstanding Player (MOP...lol) Confetti! Final Stats Cutting down the nets. Coach K's turn. NCAA Tourney Bracket projected in front of the JW Marriott The Fan Fest we unfortunately missed out on. CBS Sports Network post game. On the way out of the game, we got handed some of these. Nice free souvenir. Might be able to find a Wisconsin one if you go to Honduras...lol Walking back to the garage and bars/restaurants were still a mess. I wouldn't have minded stopping in at the Yard House for a pint or two if it wasn't full. On the way back to the garage, we see two guys in Cincinnati Reds gear. Yep, they went to Opening Day earlier that day! Why didn't we think of that?!?! On the way to the hotel, saw this which I thought was cool, but I suck at pic taking. We talked about going back to the racino, but it was past one now, and g/f was wearing out. So we just get a bite at McDonald's (Hi Ken!) on the way home. Big wait thanks to another person's order. We end up chatting with the drive thru cashier for a bit. Sounds like she currently lives in an extended stay hotel. And they jacked up their rates to $500 for the week thanks to this event. She hinted that her paycheck was $700 for two weeks...Ugh. She was very nice and friendly though, helped pass the time a bit. I'm still wired enough to stay up til 3. And we slept through the “free” breakfast window that ended at 9:30. After checking out, we go back to the racino a bit. That was a bit of a mistake. G/f was even, but I sunk $35 pretty quickly. And this time I decide to get 32 ounces of that beer. It was National Beer Day (which I wasn't aware of until later). Also a new record of comments for this shirt I was wearing. Three employees in two different places commented on it. Get back to Terre Haute and I see a 6 pack of Bell's Two Hearted Ale (7% ABV) at Kroger for $7.98, the cheapest I've ever seen it. Img from: http://www.pintlog.com/2012/01/bells-two-hearted-ale-review.html I was a bit lucky being able to buy it too. Missouri and Illinois had elections that day. Indiana did not. Why does it matter? No beer sales in Indiana on election days until polls close. Yikes! After the surprise beer find, the rest of the ride home was uneventful. Had a great time! Hope all in Vegas fought the urge to bet Wisconsin! Can't wait to go back in twelve days!!!