Asheville’s SoCon hoops action returns! Here’s your guide to the tournament

SoCon basketball game file photo

A guide to special events,
links to the matchups,
parking information and more

The Ingles Southern Conference Men’s and Woman’s Basketball Tournament returns to the Arena on March 7-11. Tickets are still available and there are lots of special events planned to coincide with the tournament, such as the Downtown Dribble, Hometown Heroes Night and Teddy Bear Toss!

Here’s what fans need to know about attending the games, as well as important information about traffic and parking.



With the most stacked tournament field in years, the 2019 Southern Conference Tournament is expected to be one of the best events of the year. Attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets prior to arrival to ensure their spot in this hoops-heavy weekend. Tickets are available for purchase online here or at the U.S. Cellular Center box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


Special events

The Ingles SoCon Experience is a free, fully interactive, and family friendly event space featuring concerts, a pep rally stage, basketball themed interactives/activities, food and drink options, a big screen viewing area, and much more.

The event space is located across the street from the main entrance of the U.S. Cellular Center and will be open from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9; and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 10.

It will also feature live music:

  • Joe Lasher will perform at 6:15 p.m. Friday, March 8;
  • Ryan “RnB” Barber – Boogie Therapi will perform at 11 a.m. Saturday;
  • The Carolina Lowdown Band at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9; and
  • Fans can hear Lyric at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10.

Find more information at this link.

Hoops Against Hunger (All Tournament): Childhood hunger statistics report that one out of five children does not have enough food at home. Many times, the meals hungry children receive at school are the only foot that they will have to eat. Anyone bringing an approved food item will receive a $5 of a single session ticket for any session. Collection bins will also be located at all host hotels during the tournament. Visit for more information.

Hometown Heroes Night (7 p.m. Monday, March 11): The final day of competition at the 2019 Ingles SoCon Championship Presented by General Shale will honor the people and organizations that help enrich and keep people safe every day. Members of the military, fire, police, emergency and medical services, charitable organizations, government, and civil service will be afforded an opportunity to witness the men’s championship game at 7 p.m.

SoCon Teddy Bear Toss (4 p.m. Sunday, March 10): Make a donation to the Mountain Child Advocacy Center and you will receive a stuffed teddy bear to throw on the court during the 2019 Mission Children’s Hospital Teddy Bear Toss. The toss will take place during the 4:00 p.m. men’s semifinal. Bears tossed back onto the court will be donated to the Mission children’s Hospital for children receiving treatment but also to the North Carolina Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies to give comfort to children whose families are in accidents. Over 1,000 bears are available and ready to put a smile on a child’s face.


Children’s events

Education Day Programs: As part of the Southern Conference’s tournament community outreach, over 5,500 local elementary and middle school students will join in on the festivities for planned activities on Thursday and Friday of the tournament.

The 2019 Southern Conference Downtown Dribble and Kids Fest presented by Champion Credit Union will take place on Saturday, March 9, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Pack Square Park.

Children participating in the event will be provided a free basketball, T-shirt, and tickets to the noon session of games at the U.S. Cellular Center. Children will enjoy a pep rally filled with inflatables, obstacle courses and more. Following the pep rally, children will dribble their SoCon basketballs in a parade from Pack Square to the U.S. Cellular Center. To enter the venue for the tournament event, parents and children will both need a ticket for admittance. Tickets will be available for purchase at Pack Square Park and at the venue box office. For more Information, visit this link.


Parking and traffic

Ahead of this year’s seminal event, there will be various parking lot closures during the event week. We encourage attendees to arrive early to avoid last-minute delays.

The following street closures will be in effect during March 7-11:

  • Wednesday through Friday: Hiawassee Steet and Flint Street will close at 7 a.m.
  • Saturday: Hiawassee Street and Flint Street to be closed at 7 a.m.
    *Please expect elevated traffic during 8 to 11:30 a.m., due to Southern Conference Downtown Dribble Presented by Champion Credit Union.
  • Sunday: Hiawassee Steet and Flint Street will close at noon.
  • Monday: Hiawassee Steet and Flint Street will close at 6 p.m.

Each day/night, streets will re-open after last game ends of that day ends. Time varies by game time and related aspects.

Parking lots: The City will have three parking lot closures to accommodate the participating during the tournament week. The lots will be clearly marked and your car could be towed if you park in them during this time.

  • Lot 18 at 63 Page Avenue: Diamond parking lot directly across the street from the front entrance
  • Lot 14 – Open air parking lot, located on Rankin Avenue
  • Lot 15 – Open air parking lot, located on Rankin Avenue
  • Gravel lot on Cherry St (75 Cherry Street North, corner of Flint Street and Cherry Street)

For a full listing of available parking in or around the U.S. Cellular Center Asheville, visit this link or download the free Asheville App for its Find Parking feature, which shows parking spaces available at City and Buncombe County garages in real time. You can also find the information at this link.


Getting here

Due to the high volume of expected attendance over the 5-day tournament, we encourage guests to arrive early to ensure ample time of traveling, parking, and, most importantly, cheering on your favorite team!

For directions to the venue, please visit this link.


Plan your experience

Who will take home the trophy this year? Is there a Cinderella team waiting for their chance to shine? March Madness is coming to Asheville this weekend and we can’t wait for it!

For a full listing of games and schedules, visit this link.