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Renovated Pit to host NCAA in 2012

UNM’s new-look basketball arena, The Pit, will host first and second-round men’s games in 2012. The games are scheduled for mid-March.

The NCAA announced preliminary round sites for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournaments on Monday.

UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs said in a statement that this wouldn’t have happened without financial support from Gov. Bill Richardson and the State Legislature.

“It’s great to see the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship return to Albuquerque and The Pit,” Krebs said.

Four games are slated for the first round of the tournament at The Pit on March 15. The two second-round games are scheduled for March 17.

It’s the 10th time UNM hosted the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, which has played a total of 37 games in Albuquerque since 1968 and the first time Albuquerque has hosted the men’s basketball tournament since 2005, when The Pit hosted a regional semifinal and final.

“The NCAA men’s basketball tournament was not coming back to The Pit without the renovations that are currently being made,” Krebs said. “So the return of the investment is already being seen. With eight teams coming, that’s roughly $2 to $3 million economic boon to our community.”

The nationally televised games will showcase The Pit’s renovations, said Greg Remington, associate athletics director for Administration and Media Relations.

“Our fans will have seen them for almost two years before the NCAA tournament comes to town,” he said. “It is something that is going to appeal every fan — not just Lobo fans — that walk through its doors.”

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