BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The NCAA basketball tournament will not be coming to Cincinnati in 2002 or 2003. The Crown, a finalist for a sub-regional in those two years, was passed by Thursday.
Xavier Athletic Director Mike Bobinski, whose school would have been host to the event, said that Bill Hancock, director of Division I men's basketball championships, was nevertheless encouraging.
He was very complimentary about the changes in the facility, Bobinski said. It just didn't work out this time.
We're disappointed but we're not discouraged. We'll just stay after it.
Bobinski said he expects Xavier and the Crown will apply to play host to NCAA Tournament games for 2004 or 2005.
Hancock told Bobinski that Cincinnati was not considered for the 2002 tournament because the East and Midwest regionals play on the same days, and that the Midwest site could not be in the same time zone.
As for 2003, Dallas and Indianapolis were awarded first- and second-round games, and Minneapolis the regional.
Bill Hancock told me it was very competitive. We just didn't win out, Bobinski said.
Xavier and the Crown applied at the end of August to bring the NCAA Tournament to Cincinnati for the first time since 1992, when the Southeast Regional's first- and second-round games were in then-Riverfront Coliseum. In October, they made the cut as finalists.
Hancock toured the Crown in October and was impressed by the renovations. Bobinski said he wished the committee would have been at Xavier's Dec. 5 game against Purdue at the Crown, which he called an NCAA Tournament-like atmosphere.
That place was pretty strong in terms of presentation, Bobinski said. I feel badly we didn't get a shot this time around.
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