The NCAA announced 25 preliminary round sites for the 2014 and 2015 men's tournament on Monday and Madison Square Garden in New York is back in the rotation for the first time since 1961. The Garden will serve as the East Regional site for the 2014 championship.
Madison Square Garden hosted 71 NCAA tournament championship games between 1943 and 1961 but this will be the first return in 53 years. The 25 cities selected to host rounds of the 76th and 77th NCAA championship have combined to host nearly 1,000 tournament games.
"The bid process was as competitive as ever, with 53 cities expressing the desire to be a part of one of the world's premier sporting events," NCAA vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt said. "We are thrilled for our hosts for the '14 and '15 tournaments, as they include a mix of cities that have proven over the course of several decades how to stage this great event, as well as cities that have come on to the scene in recent years and have embraced the tournament.
"And we are excited about the tournament returning to the world's most famous arena. Only three arenas have hosted more tournament games than Madison Square Garden, despite it being more than five decades since the last time it hosted. That gives you a great sense of the historical significance of bringing the tournament back there."
Gavitt, the son of the late Dave Gavitt, founder of the Big East Conference, left the Big East office in Providence earlier this year to assume his current position with the NCAA. The Big East holds its conference tournament at The Garden.
Read the entire NCAA press release and see the sites for the 2014 and 2015 tournament here.