Buffalo to host first and second rounds of 2026 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament


Official March Madness 2020 tournament basketballs are seen in a store room at the CHI Health Center Arena, in Omaha, Neb., Monday, March 16, 2020. Omaha was to host a first and second round in the NCAA college basketball Division I tournament, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The NCAA announced on Wednesday that the city of Buffalo and KeyBank Center will host the first and second rounds of the 2026 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Buffalo is scheduled to be the host city for the first and second rounds of the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament as well. Those games will take place at the KeyBank Center on March 17th and 19th in 2022.

“It is great to see that Buffalo was awarded the 2026 NCAA Men’s Basketball First and Second rounds, to be hosted at KeyBank Center,” MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said. “The ladies and gentlemen from Canisius, Niagara, KeyBank Center, Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Sports Commission are always a great bunch to work with, and are accustomed to hosting first-class events. NCAA Basketball is already set to return to Western New York for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, but it is great to say that it won’t stop there. We look forward bringing these events back to Buffalo.”

Canisius, Niagara and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) will serve as the host group for the event. The 2026 tournament will be the eighth time since 2000 that the city’s downtown arena hosts the NCAA basketball tournament. Buffalo has been a host city for the basketball championship six times already for basketball, and twice for the Frozen Four hockey tournament.

“I believe Buffalo and the Western New York region has proven to be one of the premier host sites for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and this announcement today speaks to that point,” Canisius Director of Athletics Bill Maher said. “To be awarded the opportunity to host the 2026 tournament, which will be our 10th NCAA Championship event hosted at KeyBank Center, is real point of pride for the area. Hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a community-wide effort and we are proud to partner with the MAAC, Niagara University, Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Sports Commission to bring one of the nation’s favorite sporting events back to Buffalo.”

“Niagara University is proud to once again partner with the MAAC and Canisius College on hosting the 2026 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship First and Second rounds,” Niagara Director of Athletics Simon Gray said. “The City of Buffalo and KeyBank Center have proven on multiple occasions, including the 2019 Men’s Frozen Four, that they are ideal hosts for elite sporting competitions. Having the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament returning to this region is a testament to the incredible fan base in this area. We are all looking forward to hosting the 2022 and 2026 first and second rounds.”

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