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Preliminary rounds for 2016-18 men’s basketball championships announced

First Four to remain in Dayton; Brooklyn and Des Moines to host tournament for first time Committee also changes description for opening weekend’s games

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 2016-2018 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 straight 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 over 18 tournaments, as a first- and second-round site for the 2017 championship, joining Buffalo, 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 Division I 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 City in 2017, marking just the second time the famed arena will have hosted the tournament since 1961.

Pittsburgh, Detroit, Nashville, Dallas, Boise, San Diego and Wichita, are 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,” said Gavitt. “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.”

Here is a full list of the 2016-18 preliminary round sites:

2016 Dates Host Round City, State Facility
March 15-16 University of Dayton First Four Dayton, OH UD Arena
March 17/19 Providence College 1st/2nd Rounds Providence, RI Dunkin Donuts Center
March 17/19 Iowa State University 1st/2nd Rounds Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
March 17/19 TBD 1st/2nd Rounds TBD TBD
March 17/19 Mountain West Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Denver, CO Pepsi Coliseum
March 18/20 Atlantic 10 Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
March 18/20 Missouri Valley Conference 1st/2nd Rounds St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
March 18/20 Big 12 Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena
March 18/20 University of Idaho 1st/2nd Rounds Spokane, WA Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
March 24/26 Big West Conference West Regional Anaheim, CA Honda Center
March 24/26 University of Louisville South Regional Louisville, KY KFC YUM! Center
March 25/27 Big Ten Conference Midwest Regional Chicago, IL United Center
March 25/27 LaSalle University East Regional Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
2017 Dates Host Round City, State Facility
March 14-15 University of Dayton First Four Dayton, OH UD Arena
March 16/18 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Buffalo, NY First Niagara Center
March 16/18 Marquette University 1st/2nd Rounds Milwaukee, WI BMO Harris Bradley Center
March 16/18 University of Central Florida/Stetson University 1st/2nd Rounds Orlando, FL Amway Center
March 16/18 University of Utah 1st/2nd Rounds Salt Lake City, UT EnergySolutions Arena
March 17/19 Atlantic Coast Conference 1st/2nd Rounds TBD TBD
March 17/19 Horizon League/IUPUI 1st/2nd Rounds Indianapolis, IN Bankers Life Fieldhouse
March 17/19 University of Tulsa 1st/2nd Rounds Tulsa, OK BOK Center
March 17/19 California State University, Sacramento 1st/2nd Rounds Sacramento, CA Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Center
March 23/25 Big 12 Conference Midwest Regional Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
March 23/25 Pac-12 Conference West Regional San Jose, CA SAP Center
March 24/26 University of Memphis South Regional Memphis, TN FedExForum
March 24/26 St. John’s University/Big East Conference East Regional New York, NY Madison Square Garden
2018 Dates Host Round City, State Facility
March 13-14 University of Dayton First Four Dayton, OH UD Arena
March 15/17 Duquesne University 1st/2nd Rounds Pittsburgh, PA CONSOL Energy Center
March 15/17 Wichita State University/Missouri Valley Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Wichita, KS Intrust Bank Arena
March 15/17 Big 12 Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
March 15/17 Boise State University 1st/2nd Rounds Boise, ID Taco Bell Arena
March 16/18 TBD 1st/2nd Rounds TBD TBD
March 16/18 University of Detroit, Mercy 1st/2nd Rounds Detroit, MI New Detroit Arena
March 16/18 Ohio Valley Conference 1st/2nd Rounds Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
March 16/18 San Diego State University 1st/2nd Rounds San Diego, CA  Viejas Arena
March 22/24 Georgia Institute of Technology South Regional Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
March 22/24 Pepperdine University West Regional Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center
March 23/25 Boston College East Regional Boston, MA TD Garden
March 23/25 Creighton University Midwest Regional Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center Omaha

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