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March Madness: Ticket prices for East Regional at Madison Square Garden slowly falling

Nigel Hayes of the Wisconsin Badgers reacts after

Nigel Hayes of the Wisconsin Badgers reacts after a play against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 18, 2017 in Buffalo, N.Y. Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Losses by No. 1 seed Villanova and No. 2 Duke last weekend are starting to have a negative effect on the resale ticket market for this weekend’s NCAA East Regional at Madison Square Garden.

That comes as no surprise. If anything, the surprise is that it appears to be occurring in slow motion.

TicketIQ.com, which tracks a number of secondary market sites, said that as of Wednesday the cheapest asking price for Friday’s games (Baylor vs. South Carolina, Florida vs. Wisconsin) actually is up slightly compared to early last week, from $177 to $189.

But the lowest asking price for Sunday’s regional final is down 50 percent from last Monday, to $80 from $162.

Another sign that a market adjustment might be nigh: The average asking price for Friday is $672, but the average sales price so far is $373, an unusually big gap that suggests asking prices will fall further over the next 48 hours.

At a similar point in the run-up to the East Regional at the Garden in 2014, the cheapest regional semifinal ticket was $253 and the cheapest regional final ticket was $146. (Connecticut, a huge area draw, was in that regional.)

TicketIQ said about 40 percent of the tickets for Friday night are in the 100s level of the Garden, and have an average asking price of over $1,000. It is likely those prices will fall significantly.

With the Midwest Regional being held in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas in the field, that region has been a stubbornly tough ticket.

The average sales price has been $432 for the regional semifinals Thursday and $242 for the final Saturday. Why the disparity? Fans are waiting to make sure Kansas wins Thursday over Purdue and advances.

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