UIW may open gym to Final Four teams

By Alma Solis

San Antonio is hosting the NCAA Final Four tournament March 30-April 2 at the Alamodome but UIW may be opening its gym for teams to practice.

In addition, “we are a part of the host team bidding on the Women’s and Men’s Final Fours in San Antonio for future years,” Dr. Brian Wickstrom, UIW’s director of athletics, said.

This year marks the fourth time the city has hosted the tournament in the past 20 years. The last time was 10 years ago when the four teams were Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA and Memphis. Kansas ended up beating Memphis in the championship game.

The four-day event not only includes two semifinal games and the final game but also has a Fan Fest, music festival, river rally and awards show.

The Fan Fest will take place at Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center from March 30-April 2. The event will have games, autograph-signings, free cheer clinics and celebrity appearances. San Antonio Spurs players Danny Green and Tony Parker are among those who will be signing autographs Saturday

The music festival will be free and open to the public at Hemisfair Park March 30 and April 1. Jason Aldean and Kelsea Ballerini will be performing Friday, March 30. Imagine Dragons and Luis Fonsi will be performing Saturday, March 31. Maroon 5, One Republic, Panic! At The Disco and Daya will perform Sunday, April 1.

The four teams set to play this year are Loyola University-Chicago’s Ramblers, University of Michigan Wolverines, Villanova University Wildcats and University of Kansas Jayhawks.

The Loyola Ramblers are 32-5 this season and 15-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Ramblers beat Miami, Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State to make it to the Final Four. They will face the Michigan Wolverines March 31.

Michigan is 32-7 this season and 13-5 in the Big 10 Conference. The Wolverines beat Montana, Houston, Texas A&M and Florida State to advance to the Final Four.

The Villanova Wildcats are 34-4 this season and 14-4 in the Big East Conference. The Wildcats beat Radford, Alabama, West Virginia and Texas Tech to qualify for the Final Four. They will face the Kansas Jayhawks March 31.

The Jayhawks are 30-7 this season and 13-5 in the Big 12 Conference. The Jayhawks beat Pennsylvania, Seton Hall, Clemson and Duke to advance to the Final Four.

San Antonio was chosen to host the 2018 Final Four tournament in 2014 when the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Committee announced the sites of the tournament for 2017-2020.

When it was announced San Antonio would be hosting the Final Four in 2018, then-San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor said, “San Antonio is one of the best cities, if not the best city, for hosting the Final Four.”

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