Final Four returns

March Madness comes to New Orleans in 2022


Adelaide Basco

NCAA announced in November that the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four will return to New Orleans in 2022. The year marks important milestones for the history of the tournament when played in the city, being 40 years after Michael Jordan won his famous college championship in 1982.

For the sixth time in the city’s history, the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball Final Four will head to the Big Easy.

The NCAA announced on Nov. 10 that the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will host both the men’s Final Four and men’s National Championships in 2022. The announcement came after a surprising decision by the men’s basketball committee to forgo the standard site selection process.

Despite rejected bids to host the Final Four in 2017 and 2021, the NCAA gave New Orleans the chance to host in 2022 without going through the normal process. This decision stems from the NCAA’s apprehensions surrounding venue availability. A statement from the NCAA vice president for men’s basketball championships, Dan Gavitt, reinforced these concerns.

“With the Final Four competing for many of the same venues that host major events such as the Super Bowl and College Football Playoff, we did not want to wait until 2018 to make the announcement for the 2022 Final Four,” Gavitt said. “That, combined with the milestone anniversaries we’ll celebrate at that time, made the decision to move forward with New Orleans hosting in 2022 the sensible thing to do.”

When the Superdome hosts the championships in 2022, it will tie Louisville’s Freedom Hall for the second-most times that a single venue has hosted the NCAA championships with six apiece.

The Final Four has a storied history in the Crescent City. New Orleans first served as the host of the Final Four in 1982, when a last second jump shot from Hall of Famer Michael Jordan propelled the North Carolina Tar Heels over the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas.

Since then, the city has hosted the tournament in 1987, 1993 and 2003. 2012 was the most recent year that New Orleans hosted a Final Four tournament, in which current Pelicans forward Anthony Davis led a talent-laden Kentucky team to a national championship over the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

1982 and 2012 were iconic moments in college basketball history. Both occurred in New Orleans, and both will celebrate anniversaries in 2022. It will be the 10th anniversary of Davis’ win, and the 40th anniversary of Jordan’s comeback victory.

“New Orleans is a festive place that embraces this event and makes it special for participating student-athletes and fans,” Gavitt said. “With a little luck, we’ll get some of the same Final Four magic we’ve been treated to in the past.”

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