NCAA Announces 2016-2018 Basketball Tournament Sites
Sunday, November 16, 2014, 7pm
INDIANAPOLIS -- Less than 72 hours after announcing future Final Four sites, the Division I Men's Basketball Committee paved the Road to the Final Four by announcing preliminary round hosts for the 2016-18 championships.
Included among the selections are two sites that have never hosted NCAA tournament games and six cities that have served as a site for at least 20 different tournaments.
One of those veteran hosts is Dayton, which will extend its streak of consecutive years of tipping off March Madness to 18 by the end of this bid cycle. UD Arena has hosted more tournament games (105) than any other venue in tournament history, thanks in large part to hosting the opening round game from 2001-2010 and the First Four since 2011, when the tournament format expanded to 68 teams.
Following the creation of the First Four, the committee changed the name of the Thursday-Friday games from the first round to the second, and the Saturday-Sunday games from the second round to the third, in an attempt to clarify any misperceptions that First Four games were so-called "play-in" games.
After four consecutive years of a First Four winner advancing to at least the third round, highlighted by VCU's trip to the Final Four in 2011 and Sweet 16 appearances by LaSalle in 2013 and Tennessee in 2014, the committee voted last week to rename the opening weekend's games to first- and second-round games, beginning with the 2016 championship.
"The purpose of referring to those games as the second and third rounds was to sway people to use first round or better yet First Four when referencing the games in Dayton," said Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president for men's basketball. "No one in our membership was fond of ‘play-in' games because of the implication that you had to win those games to make the tournament, which couldn't be further from the truth. People now understand the First Four is the start of the tournament, so it will continue to be branded as such, and the weekend games will now go back to being the first two rounds."
The 2016 tournament features two brand new hosts as Brooklyn and Des Moines join Providence, St. Louis, Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Denver and Spokane as first- and second-round sites. The East Regional will be played in Philadelphia, which will be hosting the tournament for the 28th time. The Midwest Regional will take place in Chicago, while the South Regional will be played in Louisville and the West Regional will be held in Anaheim. Houston will host the 2016 Final Four.
The committee selected Salt Lake City, which has hosted 92 games across 18 tournaments, as a first- and second-round site for the 2017 championship, joining Buffalo, Greensboro, Milwaukee, Orlando, Tulsa, Sacramento and Indianapolis, which will host the tournament for the 23rd time. Kansas City, which has hosted more tournament games than any other city (128 in three different venues), will be the site for the 2017 Midwest Regional. It will mark the 30th time that Kansas City has hosted part of the DI men's basketball championship. San Jose will serve as the site for the West Regional and Memphis will be the location of the South Regional, while the East Regional returns to Madison Square Garden in New York in 2017, marking just the second time the famed arena will have hosted the tournament since 1961.
Charlotte will host first- and second-round games of the 2018 championship, marking the 23rd time that the Queen City will have hosted the tournament. It is joined by Pittsburgh, Detroit, Nashville, Dallas, Boise, San Diego and Wichita, which is hosting for the first time since 1994. The committee selected Boston as the East Regional host, while Omaha was selected to host the Midwest Regional, Los Angeles was selected to host in the West and Atlanta, which has hosted the tournament 20 times, was chosen in the South.
"This is a national tournament and the sites selected by the committee being spread out geographically reflect that fact," Gavitt said. "It's also worth noting that the dozen regional sites chosen for this bid cycle do not include any domed venues, which emphasizes our commitment to not necessarily using future Final Four venues as regional sites."