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Minnesota to bid for NCAA Final Four tourney in new stadium


Minneapolis is one of eight finalists under consideration to host college basketball's premiere event, the men's NCAA Final Four tournament. In tournament parlance, the city has already made the Elite Eight in the selection process.

The Pioneer Press reported that business leaders and sports figures will join Gov. Mark Dayton at the Capitol for a Tuesday afternoon news conference to detail the state's bid for the event, to be held at the new $1 billion Vikings football stadium. Minnesota leaders are applying to host the final games of the March Madness event in any year from 2017-20.

Lat month, Minnesota locked up the right to host the Super Bowl in 2018. The winning bid for the NFL's big event stressed the area's new hotels coming online by 2018, the updated transit offerings, the size of the airport and presence of the Mall of America.

The local bid for the basketball tournament already has been submitted, according to Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. She noted that the NCAA likes to have sites that host the Final Four host an earlier round of the tournament the previous year. That means 2017 is out, and the next year, the stadium will host the Super Bowl. So the local bid will likely look to host the event in 2019 or 2020, with preliminary rounds in earlier years, she said.

The selection will be made in November. The NCAA website notes the other finalists for the men's tournaments between 2017 and 2020 are Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix/Glendale, San Antonio and St. Louis. The Final Four tournament will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2015 and at Reliant in Stadium in Houston in 2016.

The NBCSports website College Basketball Talk is already thinking about a Minnesota three-peat for one storied college hoops program, speculating that "...Duke is probably rooting for a Final Four return to Minneapolis. The Blue Devils and Coach K won the title there in both 1992 and 2001."

The Twin Cities also hosted the Super Bowl in 1992 and Major League Baseball's All-Star Game will be played at Target Field in Minneapolis later this summer.

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