Columbus to host men's, women's NCAA Tournament games this weekend
Don't be surprised to see a wave of Memphis blue or Vermont green around the Arena District this week.
Dribbling the news: March Madness is back in Columbus, with our city hosting games in both the men's and women's basketball tournaments this weekend.
- On top of that, the Ohio State women's team plays its first tournament game (and, hopefully, second!) at home.
Why it matters: In a city without a pro basketball team, the coming week is your best chance to see the top collegiate teams in the country up close.
State of play: This marks the fifth time Columbus has hosted men's tournament games.
- The last was in 2019, which generated millions in local spending, per the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.
The Buckeyes didn't make March Madness this year, but you can still enjoy the novelty of unique matchups at Nationwide Arena.
The schedule: Eight teams play here on Friday:
- 12:15pm: No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 USC
- 2:45pm: No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 15 Vermont
- 6:50pm: No. 1 Purdue vs. the winner of No. 16 Texas Southern and Fairleigh Dickinson
- 9:20pm: No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic
Details: Winners play Sunday for a chance to reach the Sweet 16.
- Tickets are available for three sessions, each netting you a pair of games: Friday afternoon, Friday evening or the Sunday contests.
Plus: A Party on the Plaza is planned throughout Friday outside Nationwide Arena, featuring tournament games on a large TV and public drinking, as the Arena District's DORA is in place.
The Schottenstein Center will first host Thursday's play-in game at 7pm between 11-seeds St. John's and Purdue.
- The winner takes on North Carolina at the Schott this Saturday at 4pm.
Also that day: The No. 3 Buckeyes (25-7) facing No. 14 James Madison at 1:30pm.
- Saturday's winners play a second round contest on Monday, with the winner going to the Sweet 16.
Details: Tickets to attend both Saturday games are $20.
- A bundle including the Monday game is $35.
Looking ahead: The women's Final Four returns to Columbus in 2027.
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