Auburn celebrates Final Four berth with Chuma Okeke
Auburn won an overtime thriller over Kentucky to capture the Midwest Region before 17,174 at Sprint Center on Sunday, and that game will have to satisfy Kansas City hoop fans for a while when it comes to NCAA Tournament games.
The NCAA has announced its regional sites — first and second rounds and finals — through 2022.
And Kansas City, which has hosted an NCAA-record 134 tournament games in its storied college basketball history, is not on the schedule.
The reason: Kansas City got caught in a scheduling cycle. Sprint Center was awarded a site late in the previous cycle, holding the Midwest Regional finals in 2017. This is the first year of the next cycle, which runs through the 2022 tournament.
Next year’s Midwest final is in Indianapolis. It goes to Minneapolis and Chicago the following two years.
Kansas City also isn’t on the schedule for first- or second-round games. Next year, the closest sites for the tournament’s first weekend are St. Louis and Omaha.
Bids for the next cycle, beginning with the 2023 tournament, will be submitted late this year, with announcements for future tournaments expected next fall.
The NCAA women’s tournament also doesn’t have a regional round in Kansas City through 2022. Wichita will be the site of a women’s regional in 2022.
But Kansas City won’t be without net-cutting college hoops over the next few years.
The Big 12 men’s tournament is scheduled for Sprint Center through 2024, and next year the women’s Big 12 tourney also returns to Kansas City. It also is set through 2024.
The NAIA men’s tournament will remain in Kansas City at Municipal Auditorium through 2024.
The NAIA format will change in 2021 when Divisions I and II merge. A 64-team bracket will begin with 16 four-team regionals — the 16 winners will then advance to Kansas City. This format will replace the NAIA’s traditional 32-team, one-site tournament.
The MIAA will continue to hold its conference tournament at Municipal.