March 20 and 22, CHI Health Center
This is an event that plays well in any city because, well, it’s the best of Division I men’s basketball.
This will be the ninth time some portion of the NCAA men’s tournament will be played in Nebraska. Marquette, led by Hall of Fame coach Al McGuire, earned its first and still-only NCAA hoops championship in 1977 by winning its first game of the tournament at Civic Auditorium, a 66-51 victory over Cincinnati.
Lincoln took its turn as a tournament host at the Devaney Center three times in the 1980s. Twice the eventual national champion — Louisville in 1980 and Kansas in 1988 — began its title chase at Devaney. Jim Valvano brought his 1988 North Carolina State team to Lincoln, only to lose to Murray State in the first round.
The final victory for legendary DePaul coach Ray Meyer also came in Lincoln. That win came in the second round of the 1984 tournament, a 75-61 rout of Illinois State. The Blue Demons played only one game in Lincoln; the tournament field was still at 48 teams.
First- and second-round games will be played in Omaha for the fourth time. The first three were in 2008, 2012 and 2015. The 2020 tournament will be the fifth time March Madness games have been played at the downtown arena; the 2018 Midwest Regional Sweet 16 and Elite Eight match-ups were in Omaha.
Kansas defeated Duke 85-81 in a memorable Elite Eight game to advance to the Final Four, where the Jayhawks were routed in the national semifinals 95-79 by eventual champion Villanova.
Which schools will make the 2020 tournament memorable? Will there be a No. 15 seed like Norfolk State, which upset No. 2 seed Missouri in Omaha in 2012?
Or maybe two schools from the same state who haven’t played each other in more than two decades, like Wichita State and Kansas in Omaha in 2015?