Oakland to co-host 2024 NCAA regionals

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) March Madness Tournament is coming to Detroit in 2024, with Oakland University and the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) co-hosting it.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, OU announced the tournament regional round would be in the Motor City. This came together through the Detroit Sports Commission.

“We are grateful to be selected by the NCAA to host the 2024 Men’s Basketball Regionals,” said Dave Beachnau, Detroit Sports Commission senior vice president, in the official press release. “A special thanks goes out to 313 Presents, Little Caesars Arena, Oakland University and the University of Detroit Mercy who helped land this incredible event.”

For the universities that co-host the event, they would have the responsibilities of running communication. The students and season-ticket holders at each school will also receive priority with ticket sales, and they can get better seats.

“Not only is it a great opportunity for Southeast Michigan to showcase the region and the city, it’s a chance for our staffs both at Oakland and Detroit Mercy to get experience running an NCAA event,” Athletics Director Steve Waterfield said.

The Oakland University logo will also be on displayed at the tournament.

Little Caesars Arena hasn’t hosted an NCAA Tournament since it opened in 2017. The last time the NCAA Tournament was in Detroit was in 2008.

“We were extremely interested to [host],” Waterfield said. “We got to the bid package, put together the numbers and put it out there as to why [Detroit] would be a good site, and we’re fortunate enough to be selected for 2024.”

The last time OU was in the NCAA Tournament was in 2011, when they defeated Oral Roberts in the Horizon League Tournament to clinch an automatic berth. That season, the Golden Grizzlies went 25-9 overall, with a 17-1 conference record.

The 13-seeded Golden Grizzlies lost in the 2011 first round in a shootout, 85-81 to the Texas Longhorns. The Horizon League, which Oakland joined in 2013, was represented by the eventual tournament runners-up, Butler University.

Now, the Golden Grizzlies have two chances to compete in an NCAA Tournament game in their backyard. For Waterfield, this would be “pretty special” to see the Golden Grizzlies compete on a big stage with their logo on display

“It’d be immeasurable,” he said. “It would be special, the energy it would bring to the entire area. Not just campus, but Oakland County and Southeast Michigan — it would be one of the highlights of my career to date if that would happen.”