Road To Final Four Continues: Three New Regionals Await
March 23, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS--Venues in Glendale, Ariz., Indianapolis and Memphis will be hosting the Division I Men's Basketball Championship for the first time, with regional competition taking place Thursday through Sunday.
West Regional games Thursday include top-seeded Connecticut going up against fifth-seeded Purdue at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The second regional semifinal pits No. 2 Memphis against third-seeded Missouri, while the winners of those games will meet Saturday for the right to go to the Final Four. This will be the 21st time that the state of Arizona has hosted the NCAA tournament, including the sixth regional. This is the first time Glendale has served as host.
The East Regional will also take place Thursday and Saturday, with top-seeded Pittsburgh facing No. 4 Xavier in the first semifinal and second-seeded Duke meeting No. 3 Villanova in the nightcap. These games will take place at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. This is the fifth time that the state of Massachusetts has host tournament competition, with the previous four times all being first- and second-round sites, including twice previously at this facility.
The Midwest Regional will take place Friday and Sunday in a familiar city but a new venue, as Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium will be the site when top-seeded Louisville squares off against No. 12 Arizona in a game pitting the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament against its lowest remaining seeded team. That winner will get the winner of Friday's second semifinal between No. 2 Michigan St. and No. 3 Kansas. This will be the 31st time that the state of Indiana has hosted the men's basketball championship. Lucas Oil Stadium becomes the fourth different Indianapolis venue to host.
South Regional competition begins Friday with a fourth No. 2 vs. No. 3 regional semifinal, as second-seeded Oklahoma takes on Syracuse. The second game of the night features No. 1 North Carolina facing fourth-seeded Gonzaga. Those games, as well as Sunday's regional final, will be played at FedExForum in Memphis. The state of Tennessee is hosting the NCAA tournament for the 19th time, with Memphis serving as the site four previous times, but never in this arena.
The 65-team field is down to 16 teams, and features the top three seeds from each region advancing to the regional round for the first time in tournament history. The field also includes five teams from the Big East Conference, the most from one league to ever advance this far in the tournament.
Lucas Oil Stadium and University of Phoenix Stadium both have seating capacities of approximately 39,000 for regional competition. Nearly 24,000 tickets have been sold for the Midwest Regional, while more than 21,000 tickets have already been sold to the West Regional.
The winners of the four regionals advance to the Final Four, which takes place April 4 and 6 at Ford Field in Detroit.