Duquesne University and the city of Pittsburgh already are sure winners in the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament.
It's way too soon to start filling out brackets and placing wagers for March Madness 2012, but Duquesne already has been drafted to serve as host for the first and second rounds of the tournament in 21/2 years. Since this is the third time Duquesne's bid has beaten other competitors for the games, it's obvious the NCAA liked what it saw in both previous performances. In 1997 and again in 2002, games in Mellon Arena sold out quickly, and Pittsburgh fans generated enthusiasm in the stands while the nation's top-tier college players created excitement on the court.
Organizers are counting on the new Consol Energy Center, still under construction as the future home ice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, to make the experience even better. The facility is scheduled to open next year, so it will have all the latest features in lighting, scoreboard and other amenities. It will accommodate 18,450 fans, 1,400 more than Mellon Arena could handle.
For Duquesne's basketball team, hosting means that, if the Dukes make the tournament, they'll have to play at a different regional site. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers -- who won their games in the 2002 tournament at Mellon Arena -- and the Robert Morris Colonials both would welcome the chance to appear as the home team for the first- and second-round games.
For now, the congratulations go to Duquesne University for its success in luring another tournament to the city.