13 March 2012

Where will the East Regional in the 2013 NCAA Tournament be held?

We'll take a short detour from 2012 NCAA Tournament coverage to talk a little about next year's tournament as there is still one major question about who will host a regional. The First Four will again be in Dayton with second and third round games being played in Auburn Hills, Lexington, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Dayton, Austin, Kansas City and Philadelphia with the West regional in Los Angeles, the Midwest regional in Indianapolis and the South regional in Arlington. But where will the East regional be? There are four major contenders.

UPDATE: The NCAA has thrown a little bit of a curveball and has announced that the East Regional would be hosted by Georgetown at the Verizon Center. As somebody who goes to school in D.C., I'm loving this.

Everybody knows that the NCAA wants the East regional to be played at Madison Square Garden, only the most famous arena in America. But there are some problems in that plan. First, the NIT, which is also owned by the NCAA, has their semifinals and finals at MSG and it would be very tough to stage the regionals a few days after the conclusion of the NIT. The second concern is that the Garden is currently undergoing renovations in the summers in the offseason of the NBA and the NHL. These renovations would not take place and interfere in anyway with the East regional but the NCAA has said that they would prefer to wait until renovations are compete.

Other venues in the mix, according to NJ.com, are Prudential Center in Newark, which hosted the East regional a year ago, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will open this fall, and the Carrier Dome up in Syracuse, which has hosted the East regional six times, most recently in 2010.

So where do I think the East regional next year will be held? I'd put my money on the Barclays Center, which would give that high-profile arena the first major event in its history. I think the NCAA will wait on MSG and go bold by going to a sparkling new venue.

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