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Bellarmine, Louisville named hosts of men’s basketball’s 2013 Elite 8 | NCAA

NCAAINDIANAPOLIS—The NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Committee has selected Bellarmine University and Louisville, Ky., to serve as the hosts for the 2013 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight. The games will be played on March 28 and 30 in historic Freedom Hall, which has hosted six NCAA Final Fours.

“The Division II basketball committee is excited to bring the Elite Eight back to Louisville, a historic site for college basketball,” said Eric Schoh, chair of the committee and director of athletics at Winona State University. “Louisville has proven success in hosting basketball events, and given the tradition of Freedom Hall, we are looking forward to a great experience for the student-athletes.”

Bellarmine and city of Louisville served as hosts of the Division II Elite Eight from 1995 to 2000 when the event was held at the Kentucky International Convention Center downtown.

“After being fortunate enough to have played in the last two Elite Eights, the entire Bellarmine community knows what a great event it is, and we’re thrilled to be hosting once again,” said Bellarmine Director of Athletics Scott Wiegandt. “The added bonus of playing in a great and storied venue such as Freedom Hall will provide lifelong memories for all the student-athletes who get to participate.”

In addition to hosting the Men’s Final Four in 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1967 and 1969, Freedom Hall has been the site of NCAA tournament games in four other seasons, with Midwest Regional games in 1976 and 1983 and Southeast Regional games in 1987 and 1991.

“As a great basketball city and with the recent success Bellarmine has had in men’s basketball, I have no doubt that the entire metropolitan area will embrace this event and make it a special experience for all the student-athletes,” said Karl Schmitt, executive director of the Louisville Sports Commission.

Bellarmine and the Louisville Sports Commission have had several successful collaborations in recent years.  This past spring, the entities partnered to host the NCAA Division II National Championships Festival, which crowned national champions in women’s lacrosse, softball, and men’s and women’s golf and tennis. Additionally, Bellarmine and Louisville teamed to host the fall 2010 festival, where men’s and women’s soccer, cross country, field hockey and volleyball championships were determined.

Although Bellarmine has played in the Freedom Hall on multiple occasions as the opponent of the University of Louisville, the use of Freedom Hall as an NCAA Division II men’s basketball venue has occurred just once when Bellarmine defeated Kentucky Wesleyan 84-70 in front of more than 5,500 fans on March 9, 1991 in the regular season finale for both.

The NCAA is celebrating the 75th Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in 2013. As part of the celebration, all three men’s basketball championships (Divisions I, II and III) will be played in the same city and weekend. Therefore, the Division II national championship game will be played at 4 p.m. ET on April 7 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., a week after the quarterfinal and semifinal games in Freedom Hall. CBS Sports Network will air the semifinals live on March 30 at noon and 2:30 p.m. ET, with CBS airing the championship game live at 4 p.m. ET on April 7.

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