Well, that took long enough!
For the most part, I can now stop my daily check of NCAA.com and Google News for information about tournament sites for the next few seasons (with one exception that I'll talk about shortly.) With the 2009-2010 season quickly approaching, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee today announced the cities that will host games in the 2011 through 2013 editions of March Madness. This is the first time I can remember an announcement a mere year before the event. Typically, if you look at the listing of Championship sites, you'll see at least three years worth of arenas listed. You'd think they'd need more time at this point to get all of the wood together to build the boring, generic courts that are now present at the majority of tournament sites.
The group of cities selected for 2011-2013 is a good mix of old standbys with some new locations. I'll talk more about them after the jump.
2011-2013 Opening Round: Dayton will continue to be the host of the Opening Round for these three years. These three games, in combination with the six First/Second Round tilts that the UD Arena will host in 2013, will push that facility past Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium as the building to host the most NCAA games.
Houston was already selected to host the 2011 Final Four, which will take place at Reliant Stadium. Here's a look at the other 12 sites selected for the preliminary rounds.
First and Second Rounds - Thursday, March 17 and Saturday, March 19
Denver: The Pepsi Center last hosted games in 2008.
Tampa: The St. Pete Times Forum will host for the third time. Like Denver, it will be just a three-year wait for the Tampa Bay Area.
Tucson: The tournament returns to the McKale Center for the 11th time, but the last was in 2005.
Washington: Like Tampa and Denver, Washington also last played host to the tournament in 2008.
First and Second Rounds - Friday, March 18 and Sunday, March 20
Charlotte: The Queen City also played host to the 2008 tournament, but as a regional site.
Chicago: The United Center hosts for the first time since 2007.
Cleveland: Cleveland State hosts for the first time since 2005, but at a different site. Instead of using the on-campus Wolstein Center, CSU will move the games to the Quicken Loans Arena downtown.
Tulsa: The tournament returns to Tulsa for the first time since 1985, but the venue will be very different this time, the brand new BOK Center, host of this year's Conference USA tournament.
Regionals - Thursday, March 24 and Saturday, March 26
Anaheim: The Honda Center last hosted in first and second round action in 2008.
New Orleans: New Orleans Arena has been the venue of choice here lately. But the tournament returns to the Louisiana Superdome for this regional, the test event for the 2012 Final Four.
Regionals - Friday, March 25 and Sunday, March 27
Newark: The Prudential Center hosts its first NCAA tournament games.
San Antonio: The Alamodome last hosted a regional in 2007.
The Final Four returns to the Louisiana Superdome for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. The four teams who make that trip will get there through these sites.
First and Second Rounds - Thursday, March 15 and Saturday, March 17
Albuquerque: The Pit hosted a memorable regional in 2006, with Louisville knocking off future conference mate West Virginia to make it to St. Louis.
Louisville: This city's hosted the tournament on 12 previous occasions, but not since 1991. A big reason for that is the state of Freedom Hall. It will be replaced by a new downtown arena in time for 2010-11 season.
Pittsburgh: Mellon Arena last hosted games 2002, and the new Consol Energy Center will host 10 years later.
Portland: The Rose Garden hosted for the first time in 2009.
First and Second Rounds - Friday, March 16 and Sunday, March 18
Greensboro: Greensboro will host for the 12th time, the last being in 2009.
Nashville: For this group of cities, it's been a relatively long wait for Music City, which last hosted in 2005.
Omaha: The Qwest Center will host for the second time (2008).
Regionals - Thursday, March 22 and Saturday, March 24
Boston: The TD Garden hosted 2009's East Regional, featuring an exciting Pitt-Xavier semifinal and Pitt-Villanova final.
Phoenix: Between the US Airways Center and University of Phoenix Stadium, the Phoenix area has hosted the last two West Regionals. The story is incorrect, however, in stating that a venue has not been announced. The NCAA press release lists the US Airways Center as the site.
Regionals - Friday, March 23 and Sunday, March 25
Atlanta: The Georgia Dome will host the South Regional in preparation for the 2013 Final Four.
St. Louis: The Edward Jones Dome last hosted a regional in 2007. It will host another one in 2010.
The Final Four will be in Atlanta in 2013.
First and Second Rounds - Thursday, March 21 and Saturday, March 23
Auburn Hills: The Palace at Auburn Hills last hosted first and second round action in 2006.
Lexington: Rupp Arena hosted first and second round action in 2007.
Salt Lake City: Much like the venue in Cleveland has changed from an on-campus arena to an NBA building, EnergySolutions Arena (a regional host in 2010) will replace the Huntsman Center as the venue of choice in Salt Lake City.
San Jose: The HP Pavilion last hosted NCAA games--the West Regional--in 2007. However, they will host first/second round games this season.
First and Second Rounds - Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24
Austin: The Erwin Center hosted a memorable regional in that season of memorable regionals, 2005.
Dayton: UD Arena hosted first and second round games in 2009.
Kansas City: The Sprint Center hosted first and second round games for the first time in 2009.
Philadelphia: The Wachovia (or whatever they'll be calling it) Center hosted in 2009 as well. Temple will be the host, so expect Villanova to schedule the minimum number of games here in 2012-13.
Regionals - Thursday, March 28 and Saturday, March 30
East: TBD--In 2008, Madison Square Garden expressed an interest in hosting a future regional. I have to think this is still a possibility.
Los Angeles: This will be the first time for the Staples Center, host of the Pac-10 Tournament, to host NCAA games.
Regionals - Friday, March 29 and Sunday, March 31
Arlington, Texas: JerryWorld hosts the South Regional in preparation for its first Final Four in 2014.
Indianapolis: As Lucas Oil Stadium will host the 2015 Final Four, I'd imagine they'll be hosting games of some sort in 2014 as well.
Two of the more noteworthy cities to not get games this time around are Wichita, which just opened the Intrust Bank Arena and last hosted at the Kansas Coliseum in 1996, and Grand Rapids, which has yet to have NCAA games at Van Andel Arena.