NCAA hoops: KC gets first regional final since ’95 and Wichita joins the mix

Sprint Center in Kansas City will be the site of the Midwest Regional in 2017.

Denny Medley/Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State basketball fans travel like gangbusters, especially in March. But thanks to the NCAA’s announcement of future men’s hoops tournament sites, they may not have to travel quite as far in the next few years.

First, the biggie: The NCAA announced today that Kansas City will host the 2017 NCAA men’s tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center.

It’s the first time Kansas City has hosted a regional final since 1995. The city, which the NCAA called home until moving to Indianapolis in 1999, has been the site of more NCAA men’s tourney games than any other community.

Wichita’s INTRUST Bank Arena got into the mix, too; downtown Wichita will host the first and second rounds in 2018. And there’s another new, nearby face in the Bracketville rotation: downtown Des Moines, which will host the first and second rounds in 2016.

St. Louis and Oklahoma City will also host the first and second rounds in ’16; Tulsa will do the same in ’17; and Omaha will host the Midwest Regional in ’18.

More goodness: The NCAA has gone back to the conventional naming of rounds in the Big Dance. The "First Four" in Dayton, Ohio, is — well, it’s the First Four again, and the first and second rounds will refer to the rounds of 64 and 32, the first full weekend of games.

So Monday was a victory for common sense. Common sense and the I-35 corridor.


A recap of notable dates and key regional and subregional sites announced today:

2016

FIRST/SECOND ROUNDS

March 17/19 — Des Moines (193 miles from Kansas City)

March 18/20 — St. Louis (248 miles)

March 18/20 — Oklahoma City (349 miles)

REGIONALS: Anaheim, Calif. (West); Louisville, Ky. (South); Chicago (Midwest); Philadelphia (East)

2017

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FIRST/SECOND ROUNDS

March 17/19 — Indianapolis (482 miles)

March 17/19 — Tulsa (269 miles)

REGIONALS

March 23/25 — Kansas City (Midwest)

2018

FIRST/SECOND ROUNDS

March 15/17 — Dallas (504 miles)

March 15/17 — Wichita (196 miles)

REGIONALS

March 23/25 — Omaha (Midwest; 189 miles).

You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @SeanKeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com.