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NIT championship rounds moving to Las Vegas

Updated August 12, 2022 - 4:21 pm

Las Vegas continues to expand its footprint as the spring home of college basketball.

Orleans Arena will play host March 28 and 30 to the final four teams in the National Invitation Tournament this season as the event shifts away from its traditional home in New York.

“We are excited to grow our lineup of collegiate basketball events in March with the addition of the National Invitation Tournament semifinals and championship games,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “We look forward to welcoming its players and fans to the Greatest Arena On Earth.”

Las Vegas already is home to 10 conference tournaments in basketball and will host an NCAA Tournament regional in 2023.

NCAA officials made the NIT announcement Friday after previously revealing in March it would explore new venues for the event that had taken place at Madison Square Garden nearly every year since 1938. There was no tournament in 2020 and the 2021 event was played exclusively in the Dallas area under COVID-19 restrictions.

The 2024 semifinals and finals of the 32-team tournament will take place at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Early rounds the next two seasons will continue to be hosted at campus sites.

Last season followed the traditional format of playing down to the final four at campus sites before shifting to Madison Square Garden for the last two rounds. But NCAA and arena officials reportedly agreed to explore alternatives for the future. Xavier defeated Texas A&M in the championship game to take the 2022 title.

The event was once the marquee postseason college basketball event, but gradually fell way behind the NCAA Tournament.

Regular-season conference champions who fail to qualify for the NCAA Tournament receive automatic bids to the NIT field, which is filled out with at-large selections.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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