NCAA Regional packs downtown

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Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be one busy place starting later today as fans get ready to cheer their teams on to the Final Four in Atlanta.

If you're hoping to get a hotel room downtown, you would be hard pressed to do so.

The tourney, and its teams, are a huge draw. And hotels and restaurants are expected to be packed this weekend as a result. Because two of the teams are from neighboring states, the expectation from organizers is anywhere from $15-million to $17-million in economic impact from more than 40,000 visitors. 

"It's a virtual sellout in terms of hotels downtown, according to VisitIndy," said John Dedman of the Indiana Sports Corporation. "Fans have started to move into the I-465/suburban areas for that. So the demand has been great. We've sold 33,000 tickets through a capacity of 36,000, so the interest in the event is extremely high."

Brandon Reef, who works at the Omni hotel downtown, said, "We've been sending people outside central Indiana to Carmel, to Noblesville, and as far as Muncie even." 

Rental cars are scarce as the NCAA Regional falls on spring break for many local schools. 

And if you are staying home for Easter, but you haven't made reservations for brunch at local restaurants, you may want to plan something at home to avoid the downtown crowds.