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NCAA ticket prices are through the Garden roof

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie calls out to his

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie calls out to his team during the first half of a third-round game against Villanova in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., Saturday, March 22, 2014. Credit: AP / Bill Wippert

It has been 53 years since Madison Square Garden hosted an NCAA Tournament game and 63 since it was the site of an East Regional, so a bit of pent-up ticket demand is understandable.

Sure enough, the secondary market for this weekend’s three games is sizzling hot.

Connor Gregoire, a communications analyst for the secondary market aggregator SeatGeek, said selling prices have been the highest the site has observed for an NCAA regional since it began monitoring the market in 2009.

What’s more, he called Friday night’s regional seminal doubleheader “by far the most expensive college basketball event the Garden has ever hosted.’’

As of early Monday, the average price paid for a full weekend strip was $570, nearly double the $288 average for the Midwest Regional.

The previous high for a regional was $480 at the Rock in Newark in 2011.

SeatGeek said the $355 average price for Friday night’s doubleheader featuring Connecticut against Iowa State and Virginia against Michigan State tops the previous single-session record for the building of $266 for last year’s Big East semifinals, which included the final conference meeting between Syracuse and Georgetown.

Much of the demand is being driven by UConn, which has a loyal (and nearby) fan base. More than 40 percent of traffic to SeatGeek’s East Regional page had come from Connecticut since the Huskies' upset Villanova Saturday.

TiqIQ, another site that monitors the resale market, also was noting sky-high prices early Monday. In terms of asking prices (as opposed to completed sales), the average was $969.57 for a full strip compared to $280.01 for the South.

The average asking price for Friday night’s doubleheader alone was $651.09, with a low of $299.

New York Sports