NCAA Tournament Host Cities Happy With '12 Results, Look Toward Future Bids
Organizers of the second- and third-round NCAA men's basketball tournament games at Portland's Rose Garden said that the games "proved to be so much of a success on and off the court ... the plan is to bring the tournament back in 2014 or 2015," according to Aaron Fentress of the Portland OREGONIAN. The total two-day attendance for the six games in Portland was 52,736 "with a combined capacity of 59,427." The total "fell short of the last time Portland held the event in 2009," though attendance that year "received a boost from the presence of regional teams Washington and Gonzaga." Portland ranked third in attendance among the tournament's eight regions for the second- and third-round games. Univ. of Oregon Senior Associate AD Jim Bartko said that the partnership among UO -- the host of the games -- the Oregon Sports Authority and the Rose Garden "has worked wonderfully and that the plan is to go at [it] again." Fentress reports the group next year will "seek either the eight-team field for second- and third-round games, or a four-team regional that would decide a Final Four participant." UO still "harbors hopes of hosting games in Eugene" at the school's $227M Matthew Knight Arena that opened last year. However, the arena's capacity is only 12,369 and Eugene may "lack the hotel capacity to accommodate eight teams and their fans" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/20). Meanwhile, Pittsburgh held second- and third-round games for the first time in 10 years, and NCAA Championship & Alliances staff member Ron English said Consol Energy Center "did a very good job." English: "The people from Duquesne did a very good job. Overall the experience was very good." SMU AD and NCAA tournament committee member Steve Orsini said, "Consol Energy Center was designed, you can tell, with events like this in mind. The staff here was fantastic." Duquesne Univ. AD Greg Amodio, whose school hosted the games, said that the school "would 'like to explore the opportunity' of hosting regional semifinals and finals" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/20).
GEORGIA ON MY MIND: In Atlanta, Tim Tucker reports Atlanta is hosting the South regional semifinals and final this weekend because the NCAA "typically places a region's semifinals/final in a venue one year before it hosts the Final Four, although the setup of the two events is quite different." The court this week "has been installed on one end of the Georgia Dome, and about half of the 72,000-seat stadium will be curtained off from view," nearly the same as the venue’s setup for the '11 SEC tournament. However, the court for next year's Final Four "will be installed in the center of the stadium, and all seats will be used." The NCAA initially "put about 22,500 lower- and middle-level seats on sale for this week's games." Once those seats sold out, upper-level seats "were added to the available inventory on Sunday, increasing capacity by another 10,000-plus." Georgia Tech Senior Associate AD Paul Griffin said that a "significant difference between the two events, in addition to the size of the crowd, is that the Final Four is accompanied by many external activities while the regional is mostly an in-venue happening" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/20).