Furman to Host NCAA Tournament: Here's What We Know
March Madness is coming to town!
Furman University, along with the Southern Conference and the City of Greenville, has been chosen as a host for a number of NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament games. According to the NCAA, “For only the third time in its history, the NCAA undertook a site selection process where most of its championships were put out for bid at the same time… The NCAA received more than 3,000 bid submissions from NCAA member schools, conferences, sports commissions and cities vying to host predetermined rounds for 86 of the NCAA’s 90 championships.”
The results? Furman and the Southern Conference are set to co-host NCAA Basketball Tournament play in 2022, 2023 and 2026. The Southern Conference and Furman will host NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship regionals at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in 2023, followed by first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in 2026. In 2017, it was announced that Furman will host preliminary rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2022.
Here’s what people are saying:
Furman Director of Athletics Jason Donnelly remarked, "Furman University is honored to partner with the City of Greenville, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena and the Southern Conference for this prestigious opportunity. We are beyond excited to host NCAA tournament basketball in one of the nation's best cities and venues in 2022, 2023 and 2026. Thank you to the NCAA selection committee for your consideration."
Southern Conference Commissioner Jim Schaus commented, “Thanks to the city of Greenville, Bon Secours Wellness Arena and Furman University for this great team effort.”
Bon Secours Wellness Arena general manager Beth Paul said, “It is an enormous privilege to host NCAA basketball championships and together with our partners at Southern Conference, Furman University and VisitGreenvilleSC, we will deliver an incredible experience for student-athletes, fans and NCAA officials, just as we did in 2017.”
The announcement will certainly create a number of opportunities and build excitement for Paladin players and fans. The games and tournament itself “will bring 16 teams to the Upstate from across the country with an estimated 26,000 attendees and $11.7 millions of direct spending to Greenville,” according to VisitGreenvilleSC Vice President of sales David Montgomery. Current Furman star player Noah Gurley said, “Playing at the ‘Well’ is electrifying to be honest. It’s cool to be downtown in Greenville before games. The arena can hold a lot more people [than Timmons] so that’s cool. The major difference for [Furman] would be when we play downtown, it feels like we have the whole city of Greenville behind us. There are more Greenville residents at the Well games than Timmons games. So, I think it’s an opportunity to show everyone what Furman Hoops and Greenville is all about.”
If history is any indication, Furman men’s and women’s teams will surely position themselves well to have a shot at competing in the NCAA Tournament. The men’s team went 15-3 in Southern Conference play with an overall record of 25-7. The Lady Paladins went 8-6 in conference and 19-12 overall in the 2019-2020 season.