Jacksonville Sports Day

Jacksonville Hosting NCAA ‘March Madness’

By MIKE BONTS

FLORIDA SPORTS WIRE — On Sunday the NCAA announced the eight teams for the second and third rounds of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

 

Bids went to Baylor University, University of North Carolina, University of Arkansas, Wofford College, Harvard University, Georgia State University and the winner of the Brigham Young University-University of Mississippi first round game.
On Monday the organizing committee led by host Jacksonville University, JAXPORTS, SMG and city leaders kicked off the tournament week by announcing the game-day schedule, a free, open practice, a Fan Festival and Speaker Series, and game-day access and security details.
 “This is a big win for Jacksonville, further showcasing our city as a premier destination for top-tier sporting events,” said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.

“These games will bring in fans from across the country, putting Jacksonville in the national spotlight. I look forward to the excitement of March Madness in our city and the electricity the tournament will generate in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.”

A total of three tournament sessions will take place over two days, with two sessions on Thursday and one session on Saturday featuring the four winners from Thursday. Saturday game times will be announced after Thursday’s action.
As host for the tournament and each of the teams, Jacksonville University is providing administrative, logistical and hospitality services, game-day functions and volunteers.
“We are delighted to once again serve as the host institution for this event,” said Dr. Donnie Horner, chief athletic officer for Jacksonville University. “Jacksonville University is proud to be partnering with the City of Jacksonville, SMG and JAXSPORTS to provide an absolutely first-class experience for participating teams and fans.”
Jacksonville has previously hosted the Men’s NCAA second and third-round match up in 2006 and 2010, also with JU serving as the host institution.

“We are thrilled to once again be hosting the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Jacksonville,” said Alan Verlander, tournament director and executive director of JAXSPORTS. “An event of this scale not only brings visitor dollars and national awareness, it is a point of pride for our city and for local fans. We want all fans to come downtown and be a part of the tournament experience in Jacksonville.”
Alex Alston, tournament manager and director of sales and marketing, SMG and Chief Leonard Propper of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office also spoke at the news conference.

JAXSPORTS Speaker Series
On Friday the third JAXSPORTS’ Speaker Series will feature basketball “Legends of March” including: former JU star center and former player for the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics Artis Gilmore; all-time NCAA tournament career-scoring leader Christian Laettner; and former University of Florida player Chris Richard. Individual tickets to the “Legends of March” Speaker Series are available to JAXSPORTS members for $45, to the public for $50, and can be purchased now atwww.jacksonvillesportscouncil.com or by calling 904-798-1700
Tournament Notes
This is the third time Jacksonville has hosted the NCAA Tournament (2006, 2010) and the national champion (Florida in 2006, Duke in 2010) started their title run here. This is the second straight trip for the Ivy League champion to Jacksonville (Harvard). In 2010, Cornell began its Cinderella run to the Sweet 16. Wofford is making its second trip to Jacksonville for the NCAA Tournament.  The Terriers made their NCAA Tournament debut in 2010, losing to Wisconsin in the second round. North Carolina is making its first trip to Jacksonville since 1985 when they played Jacksonville University in the Jacksonville Coliseum.
Arena Security and Access
Arena doors will open one-and-a-half hours before the first game. Attendees should use the main entrance located on A. Philip Randolph Blvd. across from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. All guests will be subject to bag search upon entry and one set of doors will be designated as an express lane for patrons with no bags. All guests will be asked to exit the building between Session 1 and Session 2 and the arena will then re-open to allow entry into Session 2. There will be no re-entry during sessions.

Tickets to the second and third rounds in Jacksonville are available at twww.NCAA.com/MBBTickets.

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