Penn State March Madness Travel Guide To Iowa

Written By Corey Sharp on March 14, 2023
Penn State plays in the first round of March Madness on Thursday in Iowa.

Penn State men’s basketball earned a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament and faces Texas A&M on Thursday at 9:55 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. For Nittany Lions fans going to the game, this travel guide tells you everything you need to know.

The Nittany Lions might be a popular team for March Madness betting after an impressive showing in the Big 10 Tournament over the weekend. Penn State, a No. 10 seed in the Big 10, defeated Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana to reach the Big 10 title game.

They ultimately fell short against top-seeded Purdue, 67-65.

Penn State-Texas A&M NCAA Tournament tickets

Penn State fans have the luxury of playing the last game of the day at Wells Fargo Arena.

Here is the schedule for games in Iowa:

  • No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Howard: 2 p.m.
  • No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Illinois: 4:30 p.m.
  • No. 2 Texas vs. No. 15 Colgate: 7:25 p.m.
  • No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Penn State: 9:55 p.m.

By playing the last game of the day, Penn State fans have the opportunity to spend the entire day at Wells Fargo Arena. Here are the two options Nittany Lions fans have:

  • Buy tickets for “All Sessions”: Tickets are good for all four games
  • Buy tickets for “Session 2”: Tickets are good for only the two night games

The cheapest ticket for the All Sessions package is $225, but don’t forget, that’s worth four games. Tickets in the 300 section, the highest level in the arena, cost anywhere from $225 to $350 on Stubhub. Tickets in the second level cost between $320 and $500.

There are few tickets available near center court sections in the first level. Only the corners and seats behind the basket have been made available. Tickets in the first level cost anywhere from $300 to $600.

For those getting to Iowa later, tickets for just the nightcap games are $45 to $70 in the 300 level. Tickets in the second level are between $65 and $200.

Tickets in the first level in the corner and behind the basket run between $70 and $120.

There is more seating open around the center court areas. They are going between $180 and $315.

Flight info from Penn State to Iowa

There are no flights on Thursday from University Park Airport to Des Moines, Iowa that would get you to the game on time. You’d have to leave on Wednesday, and be prepared for a two-stop flight with tickets around $1,200.

There are flights from Philadelphia that leave on Thursday and would get you to the game in time. However, there are no direct flights, either. Airline tickets will cost anywhere from $700 to $1,000.

Parking and hotel information at Wells Fargo Arena in Iowa

Parking is available north of the Wells Fargo Arena with entrances off of the following streets:

  • 3rd Street
  • 5th Avenue
  • Crocker Street

Those lots are located closest to the stadium with convenient access to major highways such as I-235.

Here are some hotels located within miles of Wells Fargo Arena based on price and location:

  • Holiday Inn & Suites Des Moines – Northwest: $93 a night and 8.4 miles away from arena
  • Holiday Inn Des Moines Downtown – Mercy Area: $223 a night and 0.5 miles away from arena
  • Staybridge Suites Des Moines Downtown: $228 a night and 0.6 miles away from arena
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Event Center: $267 and 0.1 miles away from arena
  • Renaissance Des Moines: $280 a night and 0.3 miles away from arena

Does Iowa have legal sports betting?

Iowa launched online sports betting in August 2019 and has 18 online sportsbooks.

Some of the top apps include:

  • DraftKings
  • Caesars
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • BetFred
  • FanDuel
  • Betway

If in-state Penn State bettors want to wager on the Nittany Lions before they leave, PA sportsbooks have Penn State as a 2.5-point underdog against Texas A&M.

There are also 19 available retail sportsbooks to go to and bet on the Nittany Lions while in Iowa. The closest casino to Wells Fargo Arena is Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack, & Hotel. The casino is 10.5 miles away and has a Caesars Sportsbook inside.

Lakeside Hotel & Casino is the next closest casino, located 48 miles south of Wells Fargo Arena. The casino houses a Daily Racing Form (DRF) retail sportsbook.

What to know about Wells Fargo Arena

Wells Fargo Arena holds nearly 17,000 fans and hosts a bunch of different sporting events and shows. There are no major professional sports teams that play in Iowa, however, the arena is home of minor league professional sports: NBA G-League’s Iowa Wolves and AHL’s Iowa Wild.

Wells Fargo Arena is a cashless facility and only accepts credit, debit and gift cards.

The arena has a variety of food selections from vendors such as Chick-Fil-A, Capital Grill, Dippin Dots and more. Alcohol such as beer, wine and seltzers are also available for purchase.

Photo by Erin Hooley / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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