UK Men's Basketball

Lexington to host NCAAs in 2013

With 2013 marking the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament, organizers wanted to pick sites imbued with basketball history.

So no surprise that the NCAA chose Lexington as one of its first- and second-round sites for the 2013 tournament.

The effort for historical ties helped the NCAA select such sites as Kansas City (where North Carolina won the 1957 championship game in triple overtime) and Philadelphia (where Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater enabled Duke to beat Kentucky in the 1992 East Region final).

"Arguably the greatest game in the history of the sport," NCAA spokesman David Worlock said on Monday.

The game the NCAA linked to Lexington was the 1985 championship game, the famous Villanova upset of defending champ Georgetown.

"I think it's wonderful that they selected Lexington," said Rollie Massimino, then Villanova's coach and now heading the basketball program at Northwood University, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Massimino said he's moved on in his professional life, but fans often bring up the 1985 game.

"It was a wonderful experience for everybody, especially the players and the institution," he said, "and, obviously, for me and my family."

Massimino chuckled while noting the game occurred on April Fool's Day. Villanova seemingly needed a perfect game to beat Georgetown and nearly got it. The Wildcats made 22 of 28 shots (78.6 percent).

"Other than the turnovers we committed, which were 17, it was almost a perfect game played on both sides," Massimino said.

The NCAA received almost 70 bids from cities hoping to play host to the tournaments in 2011, 2012 and 2013. That was a record number of bids, which Worlock said spoke to the growing interest in the NCAA Tournament.

The 2013 bid will mark the 22nd time Lexington has been a host city. That number includes 10 years NCAA Tournament games were played in Memorial Coliseum (beginning in 1955) and 12 years in Rupp Arena.

Louisville was selected for first- and second-round games in 2012. That will mark the 13th time the NCAA selected Louisville as a site, and it will be the first at the city's new downtown arena.