NCAA Tournament: Potential Future NCAA Tournament Sites

Schmolik@@Schmolik64Correspondent IIMarch 16, 2012

Hello, college basketball fans!

I hope you are enjoying the NCAA Tournament.

Next year's NCAA Tournament sites (with the exception of the East Regional) have been determined.

But what about beyond that? Here is a list of proposed sites for the future.

Here are my guidelines:

1. No city or metropolitan area should host twice in a three-year span, except that the city that hosts the Final Four usually hosts the tournament the year before.

2. At least two of the regional sites (Sweet 16 and Elite Eight) should be in domes.

3. A tournament site should have at least a 15,000 seating capacity.

4. Regionals at this time will not be listed by geographic area.

5. Only one site during the first weekend should be in a site in the Mountain or Pacific Time Zones to minimize travel (recently there have been two sites in these areas).

I list the second/third round and regional sites for 2014-16 and the Final Four for 2014-20 (the Final Four sites have already been chosen through 2016, though).

These may change dependent on where the East Regional is next year.


My first suggestion would be Philadelphia (currently a second/third round site)  and then choose another second/third round site.

The last time Philadelphia hosted the regional rounds was 2001. They also hosted in 1992 (anyone remember the Duke/Kentucky thriller?).

I also like the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. I have been there for regional finals twice, and it would be the eastern site with the largest capacity if you exclude Atlanta's Georgia Dome (which is next year's Final Four site).

Finally, how about another East Regional in North Carolina, either Charlotte or Raleigh? Raleigh's RBC Center has never hosted a regional, and the state of North Carolina hasn't hosted the regional round since 2008. Charlotte did host the NCAAs last year so I would choose Raleigh.

Next year is the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament, and several sites were chosen because of tournament history. North Carolina is one of the biggest college basketball states in the country—how can you honor college basketball without going through North Carolina?


2014 NCAA Tournament

2nd/3rd Round Sites:

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY 
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Amway Center, Orlando, FL
FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Key Arena, Seattle, WA


Regional Sites:

Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

Final Four:

Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX (chosen already)


This would be the first time I can remember Brooklyn hosting the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament is not going through the New York area this year. Unless they are chosen as the host of the East Regionals, they will not next year.

This would be the first time Orlando's new arena will get a chance to host. The Amway Center hosted the NBA All Star Game this past year.

In 2013, the Los Angeles area, the San Francisco Bay Area (San Jose), and Salt Lake City host. I'm not sure about Key Arena (they haven't hosting the NCAAs since 2004) and the Super Sonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) left. But there isn't much else out there.

Please, no Boise and no Spokane. Since 2000, Boise and Spokane have hosted three times each. No one I know wants to go there.


Indianapolis was chosen for the 2013 Midwest Regionals. However, the 2015 Final Four will also be in Indianapolis. The usual procedure is a Final Four host city hosts the year before as a rehearsal. Will they count the 2013 tournament as their rehearsal or insist Indianapolis gets it again?

Since Auburn Hills hosts in 2013, Ford Field looks to be out. St. Louis hosts the Midwest Regional this year. They need a dome that can host, and Indianapolis looks to be as good a choice as any.


2015 NCAA Tournament

2nd/3rd Round Sites:

TD Garden, Boston, MA
Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
PNC Arena (New Name), Raleigh, NC
US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, OH
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO
KFC Yum Center, Louisville, KY
New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
The Pit, Albuquerque, NM



Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
United Center, Chicago, IL
Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, FL
Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX (hosting 2016 Final Four)


Final Four:

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (chosen already)


Cincinnati last hosted the NCAAs in 1988. Dayton, in my opinion, has hosted too many times. It also does not seat 15,000 (13,455).

I would like to see the Scottrade Center get a chance to host the NCAA Tournament instead of the Edward Jones Dome. There is no reason for them to host second/third-round games in the dome.

I also would like Chicago to host the regionals in 2015. It will be the tenth anniversary of the thrilling comeback victory of my Illini to make the Final Four. The United Center has never hosted the regional round (in 2005, DePaul's Allstate Arena was the host).

You may notice there is no western regional site this year. I don't think there has to be one. There has not been a western No. 1 seed since UCLA in 2008. So the lowest ranked No. 1 seed was sent out west the past four tournaments.


Last year, they skipped the "Midwest" Regional (they went to New Orleans and San Antonio). What is wrong with skipping the West for once?

As for second/third round Western sites, once again the California sites are out (unless they would consider the Sacramento arena that the Kings are trying to get out of) along with Salt Lake City, Denver, and Seattle.


Portland would be a decent choice, but Seattle hosted in 2014. It would probably be good for the Southwest to get a site since they were shut out in 2014.


2016 NCAA Tournament

2nd/3rd Round Sites:

XL Center, Hartford, CT
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Kohl Center, Madison, WI
American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Birmingham, AL
Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA


Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Final Four:


Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX (chosen already)


Hartford last hosted the NCAA Tournament in 1998. I think it is time for the NCAAs to return to Connecticut.

Madison last hosted the NCAA Tournament in 2002. The Bradley Center has hosted more recently, but the Kohl Center is newer.

I would prefer to avoid Greensboro as it is much older compared to Charlotte and Raleigh. But I want to wait until 2017 for the NCAA to skip the state of North Carolina (since I plan to let Atlanta host a regional, and Washington, DC will be available to host again in 2017).

Nashville's Bridgestone Arena has never hosted the regional round.

I am proposing Glendale, Arizona host the 2017 Final Four, so this would be their rehearsal year. The NCAA Final Four hasn't been to the West in the dome era, so this should be the first chance for them.



Future Final Four Sites:

2017: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ


2018: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

2019: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO

2020: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (the NCAA promised them a Final Four an average of once every five years).

Glendale (Phoenix) was chosen to bring the Final Four to the West. After Phoenix hosts, I think it would be the Southeast's turn. Then it should cycle to the Midwest. I like St. Louis over Detroit since Detroit has hosted it more recently (2009 for Detroit vs. 2005 for St. Louis). Finally, Indianapolis gets their Final Four.

Unfortunately, there is no dome stadium (other than the Carrier Dome, which probably isn't big enough to host the Final Four) in the Northeast, so it will be unlikely for the Northeast to host the Final Four in the near future.

This would put regionals in Atlanta in 2017, St. Louis in 2018 and Indianapolis in 2019.

Finally, I list sites I think should get to host the NCAA Tournament regional round that have never had the opportunity. Since my rule is two dome sites each year, it may be a while before these cities get a chance to host.


Barclay's Center, Brooklyn, NY

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

United Center, Chicago, IL (proposed 2015 regional host)

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, FL (proposed 2015 regional host)

Amway Center, Orlando, FL

KFC Yum Center, Louisville, KY

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN (proposed 2016 regional host)

Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK



Since I have Glendale, AZ hosting the Final Four in 2017, I don't think there should be a regional round at a western site in 2017.

Therefore, I would expect one of the 2017 regional sites to be in Texas. Since Houston hosts the Final Four in 2016, that leaves San Antonio and Arlington. Atlanta would host another regional, so the other two 2017 regional rounds should be in northern cities.


At the very least, I am hoping for fewer Western sites in future years.

This year, none of the top-four seeds are from the West. In 2011, only two top-four seeds (San Diego State and BYU) were from the West. In 2010, only one top-four seed (New Mexico) was from the West. The last Pac-12 team that received a No. 4 or higher seed was Washington in 2009.

If you have two western sites for the second and third rounds, you have to send four of the top-four seeds (most often No. 4 seeds) out West.

Wisconsin is making its second consecutive trip west despite being a No. 4 seed both years.

Louisville won the Big East Tournament and was rewarded with a trip to Portland. Vanderbilt won the SEC Tournament, beating Kentucky, and got shipped to Albuquerque.

Both Louisville (No. 4) and Vanderbilt (No. 5) were sent to western sites last year as well and it may have led to both teams being upset.


I'm sure most of the rest of the US is sick of always traveling to the West when it is rare that a good (top-four seed) western team would ever have to leave its home region.

So fewer Western sites (at least until the Pac-12 gets its act together) and no more Boise and Spokane or any other boondock Western cities no one wants to go to. I'm sure Eastern teams wouldn't mind traveling to California, but I can't imagine many teams East of the Mississippi River want to travel to rinky-dink Western cities.

The NCAA Tournament is supposed to be a reward for teams. I can't imagine many NCAA teams would consider Boise or Spokane a "reward." I don't even think Pac-12 teams (especially those in California) would want to be sent to Boise.

I am wondering if the NCAA would ever consider Las Vegas for the NCAAs. I'm sure teams from the East wouldn't mind traveling to Las Vegas. The Pac-12 Tournament is moving to Las Vegas next year.

Will the NCAA ever go there? The MGM Grand Arena would probably be a conflict of interest for the NCAA. But there is always the Thomas and Mack Center. They hosted the 2007 NBA All Star Game.

I've got another idea for the NCAA. How about Honolulu? That would be a trip that Eastern schools would love to take. Unfortunately, the cost would probably rule Hawaii out.


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