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Best March Madness Games Played In Salt Lake City

Mar 1, 2024, 9:50 AM

March Madness Salt Lake City...

SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 27: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Butler Bulldogs defends against Jamar Samuels #32 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the west regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena on March 27, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – For the first time in five years, the NCAA March Madness Men’s Basketball Tournament will return to the state of Utah.

From March 21 to March 23, games in the first and second rounds of the tournament will be played at Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

Full History Of March Madness In Utah

The first tournament games in the state of Utah were played at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah in 1960.

The Fieldhouse hosted the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in 1962, 1963, and 1965. The first two rounds of the tournament returned to Provo in 1970.

Following its construction in 1971, the Marriott Center held Regional rounds in 1972, 1977, 1979, and 1982. Neilsen Fieldhouse hosted the first two rounds in 1968.

The Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan has hosted some tournament games as well. The home of the Aggies held the first two rounds in 1971, 1973, and 1982.

The Jon M. Huntsman Center has hosted the most tournament games in the state. The home of the Runnin’ Utes hosted the first two rounds of the Big Dance in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006.

The Huntsman Center had two years of holding Regional rounds in 1971 and 1981. Finally, they held the Final Four and National Championship game in 1979, featuring Magic Johnson and Michigan State facing Larry Bird and Indiana State.

Delta Center, the home of the Utah Jazz, has also hosted some NCAA Tournament games, starting in 2010 with the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games. It hosted the first two rounds in 2013, 2017, and 2019.

Jon M. Huntsman Center

1979 – Indiana State Sneaks Past DePaul In Final Four

No. 2 DePaul was down by one with 30 seconds left but couldn’t hit the game-winning shot with 5 seconds left, sending Larry Bird and No. 1 Indiana State to the National Championship game with a 76-74 win.

Bird scored 35 points to lead Indiana State, while Alex Gilbert was the second-leading scorer with 12 points.

1979 – Michigan State Knocks Off Indiana State For National Title

It is still one of the best matchups in NCAA Tournament history as two college legends and future NBA Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Magic Johnson squared off at the Huntsman Center for the National Championship.

The No. 2-seed Spartans had a 37-28 lead at halftime, but No. 1-seed Indiana State’s comeback fell short and they lost 75-64.

Magic Johnson had 24 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for MSU. Larry Bird had just 19 points on 7-of-21 shooting from the field.

1993 – Santa Clara Upsets Arizona

It was one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history when No. 15 Santa Clara knocked off the powerhouse No. 2 Arizona Wildcats, 64-61.

Pete Eisenrich scored 19 points for the Broncos, Steve Nash had 10 points off the bench to go with his 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

2003 – Arizona, Gonzaga Play Two Overtimes

It was a double-overtime thriller between No. 1 Arizona and No. 9 Gonzaga.

With 16 seconds left in the first OT, Gonzaga scored a go-ahead bucket. Arizona got an easy look in the paint to tie the game and send it to double overtime.

With less than two minutes left, the Wildcats had a one-point lead that they wouldn’t lose.

Arizona reached the Elite Eight when they lost to No. 2 Kansas.

Delta Center

2010 – Butler Stuns Kansas State, Punches Ticket To Final Four

The No. 5 Butler Bulldogs knocked off the No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats with a 9-2 run in the final minutes of the game.

Future Jazzman Gordon Hayward led all scorers for the Bulldogs with 22 points.

Butler went on to infamously lose by two points in the NCAA Championship in Indiana. Even worse, Hayward’s last-second half-court attempt was inches from finding the bottom of the net.

2010 – Kansas State Beats Xavier In Double OT Thriller

The loss to Butler was extra painful considering what the No. 2 Wildcats went through in the previous round.

The No. 6 Xavier Musketeers took the Cats to double overtime.

With 27 seconds left in 2OT, K State led by just one. Some good defense and two trips to the free-throw line secured the Wildcats a trip to the Elite Eight.

2017 – Gonzaga Avoids Second-Round Upset, Northwestern Comeback

The No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs held a 21-point lead over the No. 8 Northwestern Wildcats with 18 minutes left in the game.

Led by Bryant McIntosh with 20 points, the Wildcats stormed back to make it a 6-point game with 1:30 left.

Northwestern was forced to play the free throw game and the Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet Sixteen to see West Virginia.

2013 – Wichita State Dethrones Gonzaga

The No. 9 Wichita State Shockers shocked the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in the third round on their way to a Cinderella Final Four appearance in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fred VanVleet nailed a three to put Wichita State up by five with less than two minutes left.

The Shockers pulled out the 6-point win despite a 26-point performance from Zags forward Kelly Olynyk.

2013 – Another 2013 SLC Upset

The No. 14 Harvard Crimson knocked off the No. 3 New Mexico Lobos in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament before losing to No. 6 Arizona in the next game.

Harvard had four players score in double figures, led by Wesley Saunders with 18 points and Laurent Rivard with 17 points.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Best March Madness Games Played In Salt Lake City