- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For the sixth time in 16 years, the Division I men’s basketball tournament will return to Washington next spring, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

Georgetown, which has hosted NCAA tournament games frequently during the past decade, will host the East Regional on March 28 and 30, 2013 at Verizon Center.

“Along with Verizon Center, we’re very excited to serve as the host for the 2013 NCAA East Regional,” Georgetown athletic director Lee Reed said in a statement. “It is part of our university’s commitment to be engaged with the community, and we’re happy to bring this great event to our city for Georgetown fans and others who love March Madness.”

In addition to Washington, Arlington, Texas, Indianapolis and Los Angeles also will serve as regional host sites for next year’s tournament. Dayton will host the First Four in 2013 and will be one of eight sites to host second- and third-round games. The Final Four will take place in Atlanta on April 6 and 8.

The East Regional site was the last 2013 NCAA tournament location to be named.

“In 2009, when the committee selected hosts for the 75th tournament, there was a concerted effort to include cities with a rich history to help mark that milestone,” Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances,” said in a statement. “The decision to delay the announcement of the East Regional site was made because the committee wanted to explore several options. In the end, we think celebrating 75 years of one of the country’s favorite sporting events in our nation’s capital and a great basketball city is fitting.”

Recent reports in the New York media had suggested the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., or the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., might be the favorites to land the regional.

This will mark the fifth time Georgetown has hosted NCAA tournament games at the Verizon Center, as it hosted first- and second-round matchups in 2001, 2008 and 2010, and a regional final in 2006.

The NCAA’s selection has received praise from those in the city’s sports community.

“This is such great news for our community and for fans of men’s basketball,” Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog. “This is such a fantastic event, I am truly excited and honored the NCAA has chosen to come back to Washington, D.C.”

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