The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has chosen the city of Pittsburgh as a Second and Third Round site for the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship it was announced today. Duquesne University will serve as host, and Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center will be the home for the event scheduled for March 19 & 21.
The selection marks the fifth time the city of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University has been chosen to host an NCAA basketball championship - and fourth time as men’s host. Duquesne hosted the NCAA Men’s First and Second Round in 1997 & 2002 and the NCAA Women’s East Regional in 2001 at the Civic/Mellon Arena. Last year, DU hosted Second and Third Round men’s games at CONSOL Energy Center.
“We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to host the men’s NCAA Championship,” said DU Director of Athletics Greg Amodio. “The hard work of our staff as well as the staff at CONSOL Energy Center made last year’s event a success. We look forward to working with the city of Pittsburgh and CONSOL Energy Center to put on another first-class event.”
“We are excited that the NCAA has again selected CONSOL Energy Center as a host site,” said David Morehouse, CEO and President of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “We got such a great response to the 2012 tournament games here and look forward to another tremendous experience in 2015. And it gives us another platform to showcase the city and the region.”
“CONSOL Energy Center and AEG Facilities are honored to be selected to host the 2015 Men’s NCAA Championship. Pittsburgh is famous for its strong sports culture, and hosting the Men’s NCAA Championship will once again showcase Pittsburgh as a great sports town,” said Jay Cooper, Regional Vice President of AEG Facilities. “This is a fantastic event for the City of Pittsburgh and the entire region, and we are looking forward to working with our partners, Duquesne University and the NCAA on this iconic event.”
The ‘97 First and Second Round games - which marked the first NCAA tournament games played in Pittsburgh - sent Louisville and Texas to the Sweet 16. The six tournament games, including 15th-seeded Coppin State’s 78-65 first round upset of No. 2 South Carolina and two second round games that were decided by one point each, were played before sellout crowds at the then-Civic Arena.
Pittsburgh was the second opening round site to sell out in 2002, the first year of the current NCAA “pod” system. The hometown University of Pittsburgh and UCLA both advanced to the Sweet 16 from the newly renamed Mellon Arena. UCLA’s memorable 105-101 double-overtime win over No. 1 seed Cincinnati in the second round was the highest-scoring game of the 2002 Championship.
Last year’s event, which also sold out well in advance, drew 56,928 fans for the three tournament sessions (six total games) as Ohio State and Syracuse moved on to regional play from the eight-team field. The opening day second session crowd of 19,413 was the largest for any indoor arena event in Pittsburgh history.
Overall, the 2012 NCAA Second and Third Round games had the highest viewership since 1994.
Additional preliminary round hosts for the 2015 Championship include: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio (Mar. 17-18 First Four); Mar. 19-21: Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Fla. (Jacksonville University), Mar. 19-21 KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky. (University of Louisville), Mar. 19-21 CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Duquesne University), March 19-21 Rose Garden, Portland, Ore. (University of Oregon); Mar. 20-22 Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C. (UNC-Charlotte), Mar. 20-22 Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State University), Mar. 20-22 CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. (Creighton University), Mar. 20-22 and Key Arena,
Regional sites for 2015 are: West Mar. 26-28 Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif. (Pepperdine University), Midwest Mar. 26-28 Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio (Mid-American Conference), East Mar. 27-29 Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y. (Syracuse University), South Mar. 27-29 Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas (University of Houston/Rice University).
The 2015 Final Four, hosted by Butler University/Horizon League/IUPUI, will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Apr. 4 & 6.