Men's title game takes big stage
Salem, Va., has been the home of the Division III men's basketball championship game for the past 17 seasons, but the game will take a one-year hiatus from the Roanoke Valley this upcoming year.
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The 2013 Division III men's basketball championship game is leaving Salem next season for a one-time shot on the big stage. The Division III and Division II title games will be played at the D-I Final Four in Atlanta as part of the NCAA's celebration of the 75th year of the championship.
The title game is scheduled for Sunday, April 7, on the off day between the Division I semifinals and championship. No provision was announced to acommodate schools who do not play on Sundays for religious reasons, including Hope, Wheaton (Ill.) and Calvin, among others.
The women's championship will not be affected, although sources told D3sports.com that a future season could see a similar treatment for the Division III women's basketball championship.
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“We will pay tribute to the special moments and history of the tournament, and we will celebrate coaches and teachers as well as the community service contributions made by student-athletes and universities across the country,” Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances, said in an NCAA release. “This is a chance for us to highlight the entire collegiate athletics experience through the platform of men’s basketball.”
Philips Arena, home of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, is the tentative site of the Division II and III championships and exact times will be announced at a later time. The Division II championship will be broadcast live on CBS, as it has in past seasons, and the Division III championship will air live on the CBS Sports Network, returning to its former television home.
While many of the details have yet to be worked out, a proposed schedule included the following, since the D-I Final Four is a full two weeks after the Division III season would normally be complete. It was suggested that there could be a full week off between Selection Sunday and the beginning of the Division III NCAA Tournament. It's possible that the first weekend of games could then be played as scheduled, one week later, with Sweet 16 games played the following weekend. The remaining eight teams would then go to the Salem Civic Center for the quarterfinals and semifinals, with the two remaining teams advancing to Atlanta.