Buffalo getting another taste of March Madness

In this March 18, 2017 file photo, West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad (23) goes to the basket against Notre Dame guards Rex Pflueger (0) and Matt Farrell (5) during the first half of a second-round men's NCAA Tournament game at KeyBank Center.

Buffalo was already set to host first- and second-round games in the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Wednesday, it was picked for even more.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced it was picked, along with the Ivy League, to host some level of NCAA championship competition each year from 2023 to 2026. Announced for '26 was another set of NCAA Tournament games at KeyBank Center, co-hosted by Niagara University and Canisius College.

Buffalo has served has a host city for NCAA Tournament games in 2000, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2017, with 2022 and 2026 now upcoming. The MAAC, Niagara and Canisius also hosted the NCAA Division I Frozen Four in 2003 and 2019. 

“It is great to see that Buffalo was awarded the 2026 NCAA Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds, to be hosted at KeyBank Center,” MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor said in a statement. “The ladies and gentlemen from Canisius, Niagara, KeyBank Center, Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Sports Commission are always a great bunch to work with, and are accustomed to hosting first-class events. NCAA Basketball is already set to return to Western New York for the 2022 NCAA Tournament, but it is great to say that it won’t stop there. We look forward to bringing these events back to Buffalo.”

“I believe Buffalo and the Western New York region has proven to be one of the premier host sites for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and this announcement today speaks to that point," Bill Maher, Canisius' director of athletics, added in a statement. "To be awarded the opportunity to host the 2026 tournament, which will be our 10th NCAA Championship event hosted at KeyBank Center, is real point of pride for the area. Hosting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a community-wide effort and we are proud to partner with the MAAC, Niagara University, Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Sports Commission to bring one of the nation’s favorite sporting events back to Buffalo.”

The MAAC will also host first- and second-round games in the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany, which will also hold regionals of the Women's Basketball Tournament in 2024. The conference will team up with the Ivy League to host the 2025 Women's Rowing Championship Finals at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. 

The NCAA received more than 3,000 bid submissions from NCAA member schools, conferences, sports commissions and cities vying to host predetermined rounds for 86 of the NCAA’s 90 championships. The sites were selected by the respective NCAA sports committees and approved by the divisional competition oversight and championships committees.

“It’s an exciting day for the MAAC and our partner facilities and cities,” Ensor said. “We appreciate all of the work that has gone into the bid process, that culminated today with the announcement that we had multiple bids approved in multiple locations for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s rowing.”

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