College basketball madness takes over in, around Palace of Auburn Hills

Published On: Mar 20 2013 10:49:09 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2013 11:55:56 PM EDT

Michigan and Michigan State kick off tournament play Thursday in Auburn Hills.


It's the calm before the storm in Auburn Hills. Michigan State will start the madness just after noon Thursday at the Palace.

The hotels are full with flags flying. Player buses jam the parking lots. If you want a room, good luck. The Crown Plaza had about three rooms left Wednesday night, and that's through the weekend.

However, no one has as primo a spot to take advantage of the madness than The Venue Bar and Grille, which sits right across from the Palace. Staff there were in major preparation mode Wednesday night.

"We have some people coming in at 6:30, 7 o'clock, and our chef was working really late tonight. He was here until about 8 o'clock preparing for tomorrow," said Greg Marselis, of The Venue.

The Venue will open its doors at 9 a.m. Thursday for fans, and those fans already have been out to watch Wednesday's practices.

"Good chance to get up close and personal, hear the players, hear the coaches talk and all that," said Joe Crook, a Michigan State Spartan fan.

Both teams are sure to be represented well in the seats.

"It feels awesome. I can't believe I'm even here right now. I've been dreaming of being here and watching Michigan in real life, because I love them," said Justin Proctor, a Michigan fan.

While the hotel rooms are nearly gone, some tickets at the Palace still are available.


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