PITTSBURGH - The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has chosen the city of Pittsburgh as a First/Second Round site for the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship it was announced today. Duquesne University will serve as host, and Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena will be the home for the event scheduled for March 15 & 17.
The announcement marks the third time in seven years that CONSOL Energy Center will serve as a host venue and sixth time the city of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University have been chosen to host an NCAA basketball championship. Duquesne hosted the NCAA Men’s First/Second Round in 1997 & 2002, the re-named Second/Third Round in 2012 and will host Second/Third Rounds again this March. DU also hosted the NCAA Women’s East Regional at the Civic/Mellon Arena in 2001.
“We are pleased that the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has once again recognized Pittsburgh as a great city for college basketball,” said Duquesne Director of Athletics Greg Amodio. “The people of Pittsburgh have embraced March Madness in the past, and our staff looks forward to once again partnering with PPG Paints Arena to stage a first-class event.”
The ‘97 First/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.
The 2012 event - the first at CONSOL Energy Center - 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.
The NCAA has changed the nomenclature of the rounds of 64 and 32, switching back to the First/Second Round after several years of calling those two rounds the Second/Third Round. The opening games will continue to be called the First Four.
Preliminary round hosts for the 2018 Championship include: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio (Mar. 13-14 First Four); Mar. 15-17 CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Duquesne University), Mar. 15-17 Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kan. (Wichita State), Mar. 15-17 American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas (Big 12), March 15-17 Taco Bell Arena, Boise, Idaho (Boise State); Mar. 16-18 Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C. (UNC Charlotte), Mar. 16-18 New Detroit Arena, Detroit, Mich. (Detroit, Mercy), Mar. 16-18 Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn. (Ohio Valley) and Mar. 16-18 Viejas Arena, San Diego, Calif. (San Diego State).