In a warmup for the 2019 Final Four, the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium will host a series of college basketball games this weekend.
From April 6-8 of next year, U.S. Bank Stadium will host the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four. The downtown Minneapolis venue has already hosted a few major events since opening in 2016, including the most recent Super Bowl, but will require a warmup for the Final Four. NCAA rules stipulate that the host facility be used for at least one basketball game prior to March Madness, so U.S. Bank Stadium is taking the step of hosting four contests over the weekend.
The U.S. Bank Stadium Basketball Classic will begin with a pair of games Friday, with another doubleheader set for Saturday. Those matchups include University of St. Thomas vs. University of Wisconsin – River Falls and University of Minnesota vs. Oklahoma State University on Friday, followed by Saturday’s contests featuring the North Dakota State University vs. Drake University and South Dakota State University vs. University of Northern Iowa. In the buildup to this weekend, work has been underway to prepare the venue for its first basketball games. More from the Star Tribune:
Said Tom McGinnis, senior associate athletic director for the Gophers: “It would have been easy just to check a box and say we hosted one basketball game.
“But they said, ‘Let’s make the first basketball event at U.S. Bank Stadium a great one.’ ”
The change from football stadium to basketball arena sped toward completion Thursday.
The court, transported in 219 pieces from the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., was laid on a platform before the hoops were locked and raised.
Photos of the court in action were shared by U.S. Bank Stadium’s Twitter account on Wednesday:
— U.S. Bank Stadium (@usbankstadium) November 29, 2018
The 2019 Final Four will be the first to be played in Minneapolis since the Metrodome hosted the Final Four in 2001.
Image at the top of the story, tweeted on November 27, courtesy U.S. Bank Stadium.