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.”

2016 HOST ROUND SITE VENUE
March 15-16 Dayton First Four Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
March 17, 19 Providence First, Second Providence, R.I. Dunkin Donuts Center
March 17, 19 Iowa State First, Second Des Moines, Iowa Wells Fargo Arena
March 17, 19 NC State First, Second Raleigh, N.C. PNC Arena
March 17, 19 Mountain West First, Second Denver Pepsi Center
March 18, 20 Atlantic 10 First, Second Brooklyn, N.Y. Barclays Center
March 18, 20 Missouri Valley First, Second St. Louis Scottrade Center
March 18, 20 Big 12 First, Second Oklahoma City Chesapeake Energy Arena
March 18, 20 Idaho First, Second Spokane, Wash. Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
March 24, 26 Big West West Regional Anaheim, Calif. Honda Center
March 24, 26 Louisville South Regional Louisville, Ky. KFC YUM! Center
March 25, 27 Big Ten Midwest Regional Chicago United Center
March 25, 27 LaSalle East Regional Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
2017 HOST ROUND SITE VENUE
March 14, 15 Dayton First Four Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
March 16, 18 MAAC First, Second Buffalo, N.Y. First Niagara Center
March 16, 18 Marquette First, Second Milwaukee BMO Harris Bradley Center
March 16, 18 UCF, Stetson First, Second Orlando, Fla. Amway Center
March 16, 18 Utah First, Second Salt Lake City EnergySolutions Arena
March 17, 19 ACC First, Second Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro Coliseum
March 17, 19 Horizon, IUPUI First, Second Indianapolis Bankers Life Fieldhouse
March 17, 19 Tulsa First, Second Tulsa, Okla. BOK Center
March 17, 19 CSU Sacramento First, Second Sacramento, Calif. Entertainment and Sports Center
March 23, 25 Big 12 Midwest Regional Kansas City Sprint Center
March 23,25 Pac-12 West Regional San Jose, Calif. SAP Center
March 24, 26 Memphis South Regional Memphis, Tenn. FedExForum
March 24, 26 St. John's, Big East East Regional New York Madison Square Garden
2018 HOST ROUND SITE VENUE
March 13-14 Dayton First Four Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
March 15, 17 Duquesne First, Second Pittsburgh CONSOL Energy Center
March 15, 17 Wichita State, MVC First, Second Wichita, Kan. Intrust Bank Arena
March 15, 17 Big 12 First, Second Dallas American Airlines Center
March 15, 17 Boise State First, Second Boise, Idaho Taco Bell Arena
March 16, 18 UNC Charlotte First, Second Charlotte, N.C. Time Warner Cable Arena
March 16, 18 Detroit, Mercy First, Second Detroit New Detroit Arena
March 16, 18 Ohio Valley First, Second Nashville, Tenn. Bridgestone Arena
March 16, 18 San Diego State First, Second San Diego Viejas Arena
March 22, 24 Georgia Tech South Regional Atlanta Philips Arena
March 22, 24 Pepperdine West Regional Los Angeles Staples Center
March 23, 25 Boston College East Regional Boston TD Garden
March 23, 25 Creighton Midwest Regional Omaha, Neb. CenturyLink Center

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