How To Travel To Des Moines & Buy Tickets For Penn State Hoops’ NCAA Tournament Game

Who’s ready for some March Madness? For the first time since 2011, Penn State men’s basketball is going dancing. As the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region, the Nittany Lions will play the No. 7-seeded Texas A&M Aggies at 9:55 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 16, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Although Iowa’s capital city is almost 900 miles away from State College, there are multiple ways to get there and purchase tickets for those interested in making the trip for the game. If you fall into this category, look no further because we’ve got you covered.


Ticketing for the first round of the NCAA Tournament is split into three sessions — two sessions on March 16 since there are four games (two games per session), and then session three for both of Saturday’s games. Since the Nittany Lions play at 9:55 p.m. on Thursday night, purchase tickets for session two if you only plan on watching Penn State play.

In the event Penn State advances, purchase tickets for session three’s games, too. According to Ticketmaster, tickets for session two start at $44, while tickets for session three are far more expensive with prices starting at $116.

Meanwhile, tickets that include all sessions start at $258 on Ticketmaster.

On StubHub, prices for session two start at $32. Meanwhile, SeatGeek’s prices are almost the same, starting at $35.

For session three, StubHub’s prices start at $108, while on SeatGeek they start at $52. For both websites, tickets for all sessions start at $200. Of course, all prices are subject to change.



According to Google Maps, driving from State College to Des Moines takes 12 hours and 39 minutes. The route is a straight shot through the Midwest on I-80 through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, eventually continuing into Iowa. The highway narrowly avoids major cities such as Chicago and Cleveland, so traffic shouldn’t be that big of a concern for most of the drive.


Flying from State College, Pittsburgh, or Philadelphia to Des Moines is doable. However, it can be more or less expensive depending on where you look, what time you decide to fly, and the airport you fly out of. So as always, prices are subject to change.

Most roundtrip flights from Wednesday, March 15 to Sunday, March 19, on Expedia start at several hundred dollars since it’s such short notice.

United and American Airlines offer flights to Des Moines from State College. United’s roundtrip from March 15 to March 19 from State College is currently $2,035 with a layover in Chicago. The airline offers two more options for $1,567 with two layovers in Chicago and Denver. All three of these flights leave at 6:30 a.m. The first option arrives in Des Moines at 11:08 a.m. Central Time, while the other two arrive at 4:05 p.m. Central Time.

Meanwhile, American Airlines’ least-expensive option costs a whopping $2,350. The flight leaves from State College at 10 a.m. and has layovers in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. While there are more options, they only get more expensive from here, according to American Airlines’ website.

Conveniently, Wells Fargo Arena is only a 12-minute drive from the airport.


While it’s possible to travel from State College to Des Moines by bus, we wouldn’t recommend it. Greyhound’s trip from State College to Des Moines takes over 27 hours and costs nearly $200. The trip back to State College is roughly the same, with similar costs.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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