Louisville to play first round of tourney at Rupp Arena

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The NCAA tournament kicks off at Rupp Arena on Thursday. The University of Louisville will face either North Carolina State or Liberty to start off their run for the championship title.

Last year, the University of Kentucky started their run for the championship in Louisville. This year, Louisville starts their journey for the title in Lexington. Fans across the state are hoping for a similar outcome, a Kentucky team taking home the title.

"If you're a Kentuckian then you want a Kentucky team to win, doesn't matter what school," explains Kentucky sports fan Tommy Pasley. "It could be Western, Eastern, Morehead, it doesn't matter, we're all in this together for our state to take home the W."

Local businesses are excited for the tournament to be kicking off in Lexington as well. "The last time we hosted was in 2007 so this is a big deal for businesses downtown and in the surrounding areas," explains Renee Jackson, President of Downtown Lexington. "Lexington has changed so much since 2007 so this will be exciting to see how people react. We have so many bars, restaurants and venues were people can watch the games if they don't have tickets or just want to come downtown to enjoy the energy."

Tens of thousand of supporters are expected downtown starting Thursday.

"This is just an exciting time for the city," explains Pasley, "I hope that both schools can come together and just root each other on."

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