INDIANAPOLIS -- Preliminary round tickets to the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will go on sale in October as part of its enhanced ticketing system, the NCAA announced Tuesday. Fans will have the opportunity to buy the best available tickets for all price ranges and seating levels at each of the 13 sites.

“In the past, NCAA basketball fans purchased a year in advance without knowing seat locations,” said Greg Shaheen, the NCAA’s interim executive vice president for championships and alliances. “Feedback from fans reflected a strong preference to purchase the best possible tickets so we are excited to provide that opportunity through the enhanced ticketing process. Available tickets will be placed on sale in October in conjunction with NCAA Midnight Madness which will only add to the excitement as practice gets underway across the country.”

Tickets will be available by visiting www.ncaa.com/mbbtickets. The 2012 tournament begins with the First Four, played Tuesday and Wednesday after Selection Sunday. 2011 Final Four participant VCU was one of the eight teams that emerged from the first round of the championship.

Second- and third-round sites include Albuquerque, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Portland, which will host games March 15 and 17. Sites hosting second- and third-round games March 16 and 18 include Columbus, Greensboro, Nashville and Omaha. Regional action takes place in Boston and Phoenix on March 22 and 24, and in Atlanta and St. Louis on March 23 and 25.

The NCAA also announced that general public ticket applications for the 2012 Men’s Final Four reached the established limit of 20,000 applications prior to the deadline, the first such occurrence since the application limit was set in 2009. The 74th Final Four will be played at the Louisiana Superdome on March 31 and April 2 in New Orleans. It will mark the fifth time the city has hosted the event, the first since Hurricane Katrina. “It’s clear that NCAA basketball fans are ready for the Final Four to return to New Orleans,” Shaheen said.

Final Four ticket and hospitality opportunities are available through The NCAA Experience program, which is offered via PrimeSport, the official ticket and hospitality package provider for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Complete details can be found at www.NCAA.com/hospitality.

Tickets may not be offered as a prize in a promotion, sweepstakes or contest, or auctioned for fundraising purposes unless authorized in advance by the NCAA, which reminds fans that purchasing tickets from unauthorized vendors may result in fraudulent purchases.