Preliminary round sites announced for 2014, 2015 NCAA tournaments
INDIANAPOLIS - Twenty-five preliminary round sites for the 2014 and 2015 Division I Men's Basketball Championships, as well as the 2014 Division II and Division III Men's Basketball Championships, have been selected to serve as hosts for the NCAA men's basketball tournaments. The 25 cities hosting portions of the 76th and 77th Division I Men's Basketball Championship have combined to host nearly 1,000 tournament games in the event's history, including Madison Square Garden in New York.
A host to 71 tournament games between 1943 and 1961, Madison Square Garden will be the East Regional site for the 2014 championship, marking the first time the arena will host the event in 53 years.
The 2014 Division II Men's Elite Eight was awarded to Evansville, Ind., which hosted the championship from 1957-75 and again in 2002. Southern Indiana and the Evansville Sports Corporation will co-host the event at the Ford Center on March 26-27 and 29. The 2014 Division III Men's Basketball Championship will remain in Salem, Va., for the 19th consecutive year. The City of Salem and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference will co-host the semifinals and final, March 21-22, at the Salem Civic Center.
"The bid process was as competitive as ever, with 53 cities expressing the desire to be a part of one of the world's premier sporting events," NCAA vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt said. "We are thrilled for our hosts for the '14 and '15 tournaments, as they include a mix of cities that have proven over the course of several decades how to stage this great event, as well as cities that have come on to the scene in recent years and have embraced the tournament.
"And we are excited about the tournament returning to the world's most famous arena. Only three arenas have hosted more tournament games than Madison Square Garden, despite it being more than five decades since the last time it hosted. That gives you a great sense of the historical significance of bringing the tournament back there."
A number of states had multiple cities chosen to host the first three rounds and regional sites of the championship, with California, New York and Ohio leading the way with each having three cities earn bids. The tradition of the opening of the tournament at the University of Dayton Arena will continue as the venue again has been chosen to host the First Four in 2014 and '15. The site of the start of the tournament each year since 2001, Dayton will host its record 100th all-time tournament game in March. In addition, the state of Ohio will also have Columbus and Cleveland hosting games in 2015, with Columbus serving as a second- and third-round site and Cleveland being the host of the Midwest Regional.
California also will play a prominent role in future tournaments with San Diego hosting the championship for a fourth time, as a second- and third-round host in 2014, and Anaheim hosting the West Regional that same year. It will be Anaheim's sixth opportunity to stage the tournament. Los Angeles, which will host the West Regional in 2013, will do the same in 2015.
In addition to New York City, the Empire State had two other cities selected to host. Buffalo will host second- and third-round games for a fifth time in 2014, while Syracuse, a 10-time tournament host, will be the site for the 2015 East Regional.
North Carolina, the state that has hosted the most tournament games in history, had two cities selected to host second- and third-round games. Raleigh will host for a 15th time in 2014, while Charlotte, tied for third all-time with 86 tournament games in its city, will host for a 22nd time in 2015. The state of Washington also had two cities selected, with Spokane getting a chance to host 2014 second- and third-round contests for the fourth time since 2003, and Seattle being awarded 2015 second- and third-round games. It will be Seattle's 16th opportunity to host the tournament, but the first since 2004.
Florida and Texas had two cities selected as well. Orlando is slated to host second- and third-rounds in 2014 and Jacksonville is picked to do the same in 2015. It will be Jacksonville's third chance to host since 2006, while Orlando will host for the fifth time but first since 2004. After hosting eight regionals or Final Fours, San Antonio is scheduled to host the second- and third-rounds for the first time ever in 2014. Houston will prepare for the 2016 Final Four by serving as the South Regional host in 2015.
Indianapolis is hosting the Midwest Regional in March, marking the 20th time the tourney has been held there. It will also host the Midwest Regional in 2014 in advance of the 2015 Final Four. Other second- and third-round chosen hosts for the 2014 championship are St. Louis, a three-time Final Four host, and Milwaukee, which is hosting the tournament for the seventh time. The 2014 South Regional will take place in Memphis, Tenn.
Additional second- and third-round hosts in 2015 include Louisville, Ky.; Omaha, Neb.; Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.