NCAA announces New Orleans will host 2022 Final 4

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2008, file photo, color lights play on the Louisiana Superdome at twilight before the BCS championship college football game in New Orleans. The NCAA has announced that New Orleans will host the 2022 men's basketball Final Four. The announcement, made Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, means New Orleans is set to host college basketball's men's semifinals and championship game for the sixth time — each time in the Superdome. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2008, file photo, color lights play on the Louisiana Superdome at twilight before the BCS championship college football game in New Orleans. The NCAA has announced that New Orleans will host the 2022 men's basketball Final Four. The announcement, made Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, means New Orleans is set to host college basketball's men's semifinals and championship game for the sixth time — each time in the Superdome. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans has been selected as the host city for the 2022 men’s college basketball Final Four, the NCAA announced on Thursday.

The decision means New Orleans is set to host college basketball’s men’s semifinals and championship game for the sixth time — each time in the Superdome.

“New Orleans has an incredibly rich history of hosting the Final Four, and for a variety of reasons it was determined that 2022 was the perfect year to bring the event back to the Crescent City,” said Dan Gavitt, vice president for men’s basketball championships. “New Orleans is a festive place that embraces this event and makes it special for participating student-athletes and fans. With a little luck, we’ll get some of the same Final Four magic we’ve been treated to in the past.”

Gavitt said the NCAA also was eager to grant the 2022 event to New Orleans because it comes on the 40th anniversary of the 1982 Final Four, which also was held in New Orleans and was highlighted by Michael Jordan’s game-winning jump shot that lifted North Carolina to the national title over a Georgetown squad let by Patrick Ewing.

New Orleans last hosted the Final Four in 2012, when Kentucky, led by current New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis, defeated Kansas for the national championship.

The NCAA stated that its men’s basketball committee decided to forego the traditional site selection process for the 2022 Final Four and move decisively to secure the event in New Orleans, which narrowly missed being picked during the last bid cycle that concluded with Phoenix, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Indianapolis awarded the 2017 through 2021 Final Fours.

A Final Four site selection process slated to begin next year remains on schedule, but now will focus on the 2023, 2024 and 2025 locations, which are expected to be announced by the summer of 2018, the NCAA said.

“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.”

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