WICHITA, Kan. – Area basketball fans won’t have to wait long for another taste of March Madness. Wichita has been selected as a First and Second Round site for the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships, the NCAA announced Wednesday.
Wichita State University will serve as host at INTRUST Bank Arena, in partnership with Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, Visit Wichita, Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita.
In November of 2014 members of that group completed a successful bid for 2018 First and Second Round games, returning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships to Wichita for the first time in 24 years. Tuesday’s announcement continues the momentum.
“Landing the 2018 tournament was significant, but our goal all along has been to make Wichita a regular host. Securing a second bid for 2021 is another step in that direction,” said WSU Associate Athletic Director and tournament manager Brad Pittman. “We’re grateful for the many groups that pulled together to make this happen and look forward to another opportunity to showcase our university and community.”
The four First Round contests on Friday, March 19, 2021 and two Second Round matchups on Sunday, March 21 will all take place at INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita.
It will be the men’s tournament’s 11th stop in Wichita and second at INTRUST Bank Arena (including 2018). Wichita State’s Levitt Arena played host to 22 games spanning eight different tournaments between 1956 and 1981. In 1994, the Kansas Coliseum hosted six NCAA Midwest Sub-Regional contests.
“Being selected by the NCAA to host the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship again in 2021 is an honor and we’re thrilled about the opportunity to host this prestigious event for a second time,” added A.J. Boleski, SMG General Manager for INTRUST Bank Arena. “The success of Wichita State University’s men’s basketball program has helped put Wichita on the map as a host site for NCAA events and we look forward Wichita’s world-class facilities being showcased on a national stage in both 2018 and 2021.”
Wichita was selected from a highly competitive group of qualified cities. Several hundred bids are submitted from venues across the country to host the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, but only 14 sites are selected as hosts each year. Collaboration between the partners who submitted the bid and Wichita State’s men’s basketball momentum helped position Wichita well.
“Today’s announcement is another example of the excitement this community has for basketball and its Shockers,” said Susie Santo, president and CEO of Visit Wichita. “We know that teams, coaches, families and fans will have an amazing time in Wichita this next year. Now, we will welcome them back to Wichita again for 2021.”
“Hosting this tournament has long been a dream of ours – one we’ll have the opportunity to experience in March 2018 and now again in 2021,” said Bob Hanson, president and CEO for the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. “As we build toward 2018, when we’ll host this tournament but also the Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships, the Sports Commission will continue to advocate for hosting the very finest sporting events in our city.”