2020 March Madness Dates, Games and Locations
Even casual sports fans know that 2020 March Madness is right around the corner. Let’s face it, the name is a dead giveaway of when it draws near. This is truly one of the great sporting events every year for hardcore basketball fans and casual observers. The beauty of the NCAA Tournament is that it’s not a one-day event or a one-game situation. March Madness lasts for weeks and takes place all over the country, giving fans plenty of opportunities to catch all of the action and score March Madness tickets to one of several venues hosting games. Let’s learn everything there is to know about attending March Madness 2020.
First things first, how many games in March Madness? Well, with the tournament field including 68 teams and the tournament being single-elimination, there are 67 tournament games. Those 67 games will be played at 13 different host sites that are spread out across the entire country. Regardless of where you live, most Americans live less than a day’s drive or a short plane ride away from at least one of the host cities, giving everyone ample opportunity to get tickets and experience March Madness in person.
First Four in Dayton
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011, there have been four so-called play-in games to quickly whittle the field down to 64. Every year, those four games take place at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. UD Arena has long been considered one of the best college basketball venues in the country, making it the perfect location to kick off the NCAA Tournament every year. This year’s First Four will consist of a pair of double-headers on Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18.
First and Second Rounds
Once the opening round is complete and there are 64 teams left standing, the real NCAA Tournament can begin with the first and second rounds that take place over the course of four days. There are eight venues used to host these two rounds with each venue hosting six games. Some venues will host four games on Thursday, March 19, and two games on Saturday, March 21, while others will host four games on Friday, March 20, and two games on Sunday, March 22.
The Times Union Center in Albany, New York will host games on March 19 and 21. The arena located in downtown Albany and is the current home court of the Siena basketball team. The Times Union Center has previously hosted both the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament in men’s hockey.
The Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington will also host games on March 19 and 21. Nicknamed Spokane Arena, the venue is the current home of the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. This will be the sixth time it’s used to host the NCAA Tournament.
Enterprise Center in St. Louis is another venue hosting games on March 19 and 21. The arena is located in downtown St. Louis and best known for being the home of the St. Louis Blues and the site of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. However, it’s also been used to host many other sporting events, including conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida is the final venue that will host games on March 19, and 21. The Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL is the arena’s primary tenant. However, it has previously hosted the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament, as well as both the ACC and SEC conference tournaments.
The Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina will host March Madness games on March 20 and 22. The arena frequently hosts the men’s and women’s ACC Basketball Tournaments while also serving as the home court of the UNC Greensboro men’s basketball team and the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA G League.
CHI Health Center Omaha in downtown Omaha, Nebraska will also host games on March 20 and 22. The Creighton men’s basketball team uses the arena as its home court. The venue has hosted the NCAA Tournament on four previous occasions, including the Midwest Regional in 2018.
Golden 1 Center in Sacramento is also serving as a March Madness host site on March 20 and 22. The arena opened in 2016 as the new home of the Sacramento Kings. However, this will be the second time it has hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, doing so also in 2017.
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland will be the final host site for March Madness games on March 20 and 22. The venue serves as the full-time home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and has one of the largest seating capacities in the NBA. It also hosts both the men’s and women’s Mid-American Conference Tournaments every year.
Regional Semifinals and Finals
Once the tournament field is down to 16 teams, four different cities will host the regional semifinals and finals, more commonly known as the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Two sites will host two games on Thursday, March 26 and one game on Saturday, March 28, while two other sites will host two games on Friday, March 27, and one on Sunday, March 29.
Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis will host the Midwest Regional on March 26 and 28. This is a beautiful venue in downtown Indianapolis that serves as the home of the Indianapolis Colts and has a capacity of roughly 70,000 people for basketball games.
The Staples Center in Los Angeles will host the West Regional on March 26 and 28. In addition to being the home floor for both the Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, the Kings of the NHL, and the Sparks of the WNBA, the Staples Center is used to host countless other events, including the Grammy Awards.
The Toyota Center in Houston will serve as the host for the South Regional on March 27 and 29. The arena is located in downtown Houston and usually serves as the home of the Houston Rockets.
Madison Square Garden in New York is the final regional site, hosting the East Regional on March 27 and 29. As arguably the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden is home to the NBA’s Knicks, NHL’s Rangers, and St. John’s men’s basketball team. It also hosts many college basketball games during the season aside from St. John’s home games, including the Big East Tournament.
Atlanta has the honor of being this year’s host city for the Final Four. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened in 2017 as the home of the Falcons of the NFL and Atlanta United FC of MLS, will be the site of the national semifinals on Saturday, April 4, and the national championship game on Monday, April 6. While still a relatively new venue, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has already hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship and the Super Bowl.