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Road Hawks

Kansas City, Mo.

Fly or Drive?

Drive. And make sure to enjoy Kansas’ delightful roads along the turnpike. Google Maps lists the distance from Lawrence to Sprint Center as 40 miles.

Sprint Center Info

Capacity: Approximately 18,000.

History: Opened in 2007.

What to do at the tournament

Sprint Center is adjacent to The Kansas City Power & Light District, a nine-block area that includes more than 50 bars, restaurants and retail stores. During the Big 12 Tournament the area draws thousands of fans from all reaches of Big 12 territory — Colorado, even! — to liven up the atmosphere. Food and drink offerings are numerous, and several sports bars, including McFadden's Sports Saloon, provide a good place to relax during non-Jayhawk contests.

If you feel like adding some basketball to your bar-hopping, try the College Basketball Experience, a hands-on museum dedicated to college hoops. The CBE, which is attached to Sprint Center, includes museum-y features focusing on college basketball as well as hoops games of all shapes and sizes (not just for kids).

After you've worked up a sweat throwing down dunks on the seven-foot goals at the CBE, head into Sprint Center and stop by the in-house QuikTrip for a refreshment that won't empty your wallet.

What to do away from the tournament

• The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street in Kansas City, Mo., which is open until 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, offers an opportunity for hoops fans to gain a bit of culture. The Nelson-Atkins, aside from its famously large shuttlecock, is known for its extensive collection of Asian art.

The Country Club Plaza, Broadway and W. 47th streets in Kansas City, Mo., is a well-known KC attraction for good reason. There's plenty to do for hoops-heads, shoppers and diners in the upscale shopping district. Shop for computers (The Apple Store), clothes (Urban Outfitters) or housewares (Restoration Hardware) during the day. Stop in at the 810 Zone to watch the games and grab a bite in the evening. And finish the night at one of the area's bars or with dessert at Cold Stone Creamery.

Parkville, Mo., about 11 miles northwest of Sprint Center and downtown Kansas City, is unlike any of the region's other suburbs. Instead of sprawl and malls, Parkville offers a several-block downtown strip that feels more like Lawrence's Massachusetts Street than anything in Kansas City. The town offers a few different dining options, including pizza at Stone Canyon Pizza, French cuisine at Cafe Des Amis and traditional fare at The Power Plant.

If you can't find tickets to the tournament, try these KU-friendly establishments in the Kansas City area, as recommended by the KU Alumni Association:

 Johnny's Tavern — 13410 W. 62nd Terrace, Shawnee, Kan. 913-962-5777
 Johnny's Tavern — 6765 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kan. 913-451-4542
 The Cashew — 2000 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 816-221-5858
 The Dark Horse Tavern — 4112 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo. 816-931-3663
 Lew's Grill and Bar — 7539 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo. 816-444-8080
 Jaywalkers Sports Bar & Grill — 3916 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, Kan. 913-671-7464
 Johnny's Tavern — 11316 W. 135th, Overland Park, Kan. 913-851-5165
Johnny's Tavern — 8262 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kan. 913-901-0322

Where to stay

On a budget

Comfort Inn — $89/night — 770 Admiral Blvd.

Hotel Savoy — $109/night — 9th and Central

Holiday Inn Downtown — $129/night — 1215 Wyandotte St.

Going all out

• Hotel Phillips — $149/night — 106 West 12th St.

Hilton President — $152/night — 1329 Baltimore St.

Marriott Downtown — $199/night — 200 West 12th St.

Where to eat

On a budget

Chef Burger — American/Burgers — 1350 Walnut St.

Arthur Bryant's Barbeque — Barbeque — 1727 Brooklyn Ave.

The City Diner — Breakfast — 301 Grand Blvd.

Going all out

Bristol Seafood Grill — Seafood — 51 East 14th St.

The Peachtree — American/Soul food — 31 East 14th St.

12 Baltimore Cafe — American/Steak — 106 West 12th St.

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