GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Soon eight of the best women’s college basketball teams in the country will be in Upstate for the NCAA March Madness tournament.

Excitement is building in and around Greenville as tip-off nears for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 tournament games.

“Everyone loves it,” Nick Milcinovic, an Upstate resident, said.

“It’s definitely a boom to the economy and I’m sure that all the people here appreciate the influx of people actually,” local resident Steve Collins, said.

Banners could be seen flying above the streets downtown as the city of Greenville gears up for a weekend of hoops.

“It’s been a great month for basketball. We have really been the epicenter of women’s college basketball in the month of March here in Greenville,” Heath Dillard, President and CEO of Visit Greenville, S.C., said.

With a number of people expected to be in town and around the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville Police said they’re planning ahead.

“What we are going to be doing is having plenty of officers outside directing traffic, directing people across the street, and have officers inside providing event security,” Sergeant Johnathan Bragg, with Greenville Police, said.

In previous years, Sgt Bragg along with the Greenville Police Department said all of the visitors, at times, clogged up the roadways.

“The biggest thing is making sure people know where to park and how to safely get to the arena,” Bragg explained. “We encourage a lot of people that are driving in to park at different parking garages throughout the city and throughout the downtown area.” 

Police said several medians will be closed off to pedestrians in an effort to create a smoother commute for drivers.

“There won’t be any road closures other than just the closing the medians so that people can’t run across the street,” said Bragg. “We did that for SEC tournament and it worked out really well. So, we want to make sure people utilize the sidewalks.” 

Extra officers will also be in and around the arena for security.

“They’ll be on the concourse and addressing any issues that occur inside near the event or outside of the event on the concourse,” Bragg said.

Safety is an effort that leaders with Visit Greenville said makes traveling to the area more comfortable.

“Safety is certainly an important topic when it comes to travel and tourism. People want to travel to places that make them feel very safe. When people think of Greenville, they think about the ability to shop; eat a ton of food,” said Dillard. “We have really great hotels. Having an event like the NCAA, and having a facility to have the ability to host these really big events, is huge for us.”

The event is one, Dillard said, the city is excited for.

“We are just excited to have the ability to showcase Greenville to fans across the country and to put ourselves on the map as a basketball town,” according to Dillard.

Games are scheduled to begin on Friday, March 24, and run through Monday, March 27.