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Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena to host 2019 NCAA Tournament first, second rounds

Vanderbilt v South Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The state of South Carolina’s first crack at hosting March Madness in fifteen years went so well that the NCAA is coming back. And this time, Columbia will be the list. Per a release, Colonial Life Arena will serve as a site for the first and second rounds of the 2019 tournament. It will be the first time the CLA will host a men’s basketball tournament event and Columbia’s first time since hosting an East Regional in 1970.

All this, of course, comes almost two years after the NCAA lifted its ban on the state of South Carolina hosting tournament games for pre-determined championships due to controversy surrounding the Confederate flag flying near the State House in Columbia. When Greenville was awarded first and second round action in October in place of Greensboro due to the NCAA’s decision to pull out thanks to the HB2 controversy, Columbia seemed on track to host sooner rather than later.

Greenville will also host the men’s first and second rounds in 2022 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Greenville hosted the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament along with the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s tournament a few months back - with the Gamecocks notably winning the SEC women’s tournament and advancing out of Greenville on the men’s side.

Columbus, Jacksonville, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, Des Moines, Seattle and Hartford will join Columbia as first and second round hosts in 2019.