In 1995, the road to the Final Four looks like it will include a trip down Howard Street.
Officials on the NCAA's Division I men's basketball committee have given a thumbs up to the Baltimore Arena to play host to the first- and second-round tournament games in 1995.
The committee, which also invites and seeds teams to the March tournament, recommended that the Arena play host to games on March 16 and 18, 1995, joining the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, N.Y., as opening-round sites in the East Regional.
Jim Marchiony, an NCAA spokesman, said the recommendation will be forwarded to the 44-member NCAA Executive Committee, which will meet in Kansas City, Mo., next Monday.
Marchiony said it is "rare" for the Executive Committee to overturn a recommendation from the basketball committee on a tournament site.
UMBC put in the bid for the tournament, and UMBC athletic director Charlie Brown said he and members of his staff will begin planning for the 1995 tournament by visiting first- and second-round sites at this year's tournament.
"It's a very, very big operation and we know that the entire university will have to mobilize for it," said Brown.
"It's the kind of thing that lets people know that we're serious about our program. This is the kind of thing that we hope will help put us on the map."
Although the tournament appeared at College Park on Maryland's campus last March for first- and second-round games and will come to the Capital Centre in 1994, March Madness has never been staged in Baltimore, a factor UMBC officials were able to use to their benefit.
Brown said the committee also was impressed with the fact that 11 hotels are within walking distance of the Arena.