On Selection Sunday, March 15th, sixty-five teams are selected for the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament. This begins March Madness and the drive to see who makes it to the Final Four tournament at Ford Field in Detroit.
The NCAA basketball tournament means it’s show time for the venues who host the games. Attendance is expected to soar to over 700,000 this year, making March Madness basketball a mini stimulus package for the host city and a chance for venues to shine on a national stage.
The Road to the Final Four plays through 13 cities. Here’s a tour of the first and second round venues on the Road to the Final Four with basketball games taking place on March 19th and 21st.
Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC
Host: Atlantic Coast Conference
The Greensboro Coliseum is an integral part of the city and the entire town will be working to make fans feel welcome. Fans will have no problem with parking and Greensboro Coliseum has an RV parking area for overnight stays. Don’t miss a trip to the Yum Yum for a hot dog and ice cream.
Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO
Host: Big 12 Conference
The Sprint Center was named one of the top venues in America in 2008. It’s home to the College Basketball Experience, an interactive playhouse for fans. Its excellent location in the city offers ample parking and restaurants near the venue. Inside the Sprint Center you’ll find bargain prices on munchies and drinks at the QuikTrip Convenience Store.
Rose Garden in Portland, OR
Host: University of Oregon
Guests attending NCAA games at the Rose Garden Arena may be surprised at the enthusiasm the locals have for basketball. They are loud and you can expect the arena to be filled. You may want to take the local light rail train MAX to the venue for ease and to save on hefty parking prices close to the Rose Garden.
Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA
Host: St. Joseph’s University
This arena is set up for fun. With excellent memorabilia displays, bands playing and air hockey tables inside the arena basketball can play second fiddle. Diehard fans can rent state-of-the art electronic binoculars to get an up close view of the court from anywhere in the venue.
Taco Bell Arena in Boise, ID
Host: Boise State University
The Taco Bell Arena is located on the campus of Boise State University. It’s one of the smaller arenas to host the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament games, but it has a long history of success. 2009 will be Boise’s 8th time hosting NCAA games tournament games.
UD Arena in Dayton, OH
Host: University of Dayton
Host to championship games for years, UD Arena has a wonderful old school basketball feel. It’s loud, intimate and the fans know their basketball. UD Arena made history in 2001 when they hosted 10 post-season NCAA and National Tournament games in eight days.
American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL
Host: Florida International University
Spring is the perfect time to be in Miami and NCAA basketball in American Airlines Arena is the perfect destination for high-octane hoops and holiday. Head to the game, but hang for the sun and fun. With many restaurants and bars in and around the arena it’s sure to be the hot spot in a hot city.
HHH Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN
Host: University of Minnesota and the Twin Cities
The Metrodome usually host football and baseball, but nearly every year it’s given a round of NCAA games, and for good reason. This place knows its business and since they host over 300 events a year fans can depend on the Metrodome to put on a good hoop parade.
Look for more on the ‘Road to the Final Four’ venues featuring regional March Madness tournament sites and the Championship tournament at Ford Field in Detroit, MI.
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