CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tickets are still available at the Charleston Civic Center box office for Saturday's Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic basketball games between Marshall and West Virginia universities.
The women's teams will face off at 1 p.m. The men's teams will play at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be televised live on West Virginia Media Holdings stations across the state.
While upper level seats are still available for Saturday night's game, Marshall and WVU officials are optimistic the game might sell out by tipoff.
"We're hopeful that we'll have a strong walkup and have another great crowd for the Capital Classic," said Matt Wells, WVU's assistant athletic director for marketing and sales.
More about the Capital Classic
This year marks the 25th Capital Classic and the 22nd year in a row that the event has been held at the Civic Center. This is also the second year in a row that the game has been played in December.
From 1997 to 2012, the contests were played in January. But when WVU made its move to the Big 12 Conference, the organizers pushed back the annual event so that it would fall prior to the start of conference play.
However, the move also meant the game would no longer be played during the annual legislative session.
Lawmakers and lobbyists typically reserve large blocks of seats for the games, using the event -- and its associated pre- and post-game parties -- to rub elbows and wine and dine one another.
"In January, on a weeknight when the Legislature was in session, that place was rocking," said Aaron Goebbel, Marshall associate athletic director for external affairs.
While the January had been sellouts for several years running, last year's December game did not fare so well. The 11,512 in attendance was the smallest crowd since 1999.
Last year's men's game was also played on a Wednesday evening, the traditional night for the match up. However, this year, scheduling matters pushed the game to Saturday.
Goebbel said moving the game to a Saturday so close to Christmas has affected the pace of sales this year.
"This Saturday's always a very big Christmas party night, and people like to get shopping done as well," he said. "It definitely has affected (sales), but to the degree in which it's troubling or anything along those lines, it's not."