The decision comes after a five-month long process by the NCAA to name the five hosts of the Final Four between 2012and 2016. This is great news for the Big Easy and a clear indicator that the city is back as a viable candidate to consistently host major sporting events (speaking of, anyone want to guess when the Crescent City will host another Super Bowl?).
Here's a couple of fun facts about the New Orleans and the Final Four:
This is the fifth time that New Orleans has hosted the Men's Final Four in the Superdome (the other four years were 1982, 1987, 1993 and 2003).
The 2012 Final Four is just one of many sporting events headed for the Big Easy in the next decade. The Crescent City is also set to host first- and second-round games in 2010, a men's regional in 2011 and the Women's Final Four in 2013. The Superdome is also "anticipating" getting the Super Bowl in 2013 and there's talks about getting another NBA All-Star game.
The previous four Final Fours held in New Orleans are arguably among the most memorable in NCAA men's basketball history. Let's recap:
The 1982 final was played by two of the most storied teams in college basketball: The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Georgetown Hoyas. Future NBA star Patrick Ewing, James Worthy and Michael Jordan shared the court in that game. It was also a young Jordan that hit the late game-winning jump shot to seal the win for the Heels.
The 1987 final also had high drama, with Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers pulling out a 79-75 win in the title game against Jim Boeheim's Syracuse Orangemen. It would be Knight's last championship as a college basketball coach. It also be noted that 1987 was Rick Pitino's breakout year as he led a Cinderalla Providence team to its first National semi-final in 14 years.
The 1993 Final Four may be remembered more for the team that lost (Michigan) rather than the team that won (North Carolina) the final game. Remember, this was the infamous "Fab Five" game where Chris Webber did this:
The 2003 Final Four was also a nail-biter that came down to the wire. It once again featured Jim Boeheim's Syracuse Orangemen beating the Kansas Jayhawks 7875. This year's tournament will be most fondly remembered as the year a young freshman named Carmelo Anthony burst onto the national scene and won the tournaments Most Outstanding Player award.