Kansas City’s love affair with college basketball stands out more than ever during the month of March, as the city prepares to host postseason play for four organizations: the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), the Big 12 Conference, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Each tournament showcases the highest level of talent in their respective levels of play, as well as rabid fan bases ready to support their teams through the final possession. Tickets remain for all three events—but they sell out quickly.

Kansas City rolls out the red carpet every March, hosting more college basketball games than anywhere else in the country. In 2017, the total comes to 62 teams and 57 games in just 16 days.

80th Annual Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship

March 15-21, Municipal Auditorium

NAIA Basketball Tournament in Kansas City

  • As college basketball’s oldest national championship, the men’s tournament returns to Kansas City for the 72nd time in 2017 (1937-1943; 1945-1975; and 2002-present).
  • Attracts nearly 40,000 fans over its six-day stretch.
  • The NAIA is comprised of nearly 300 accredited small colleges and universities in North America.
  • The competition will host 32 teams in a 31-game, single-elimination format. The field of participants includes 17 automatic qualifiers, one host berth and 14 at-large bids.
  • Tickets are still available. Single-game tickets start as low as $5 per person and all-tournament passes begin at $75. Purchase tickets here, the Municipal Auditorium box office or by calling 816-595-8122. Use code “NAIA Downtown” to receive $5 off adult tickets and $3 off student tickets.
  • Special events include Meet the Players at KC Live! (March 14), DST Family Day/Youth Day (March 18) and KC Star $5 Night (March 20). Returning in 2017 is the NABC-NAIA Shoot & Slam, presented by US Bank, a three-point and dunk contest presented by US Bank on March 18. For more information, visit naiahoops.com.

2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship Midwest Regional

March 23, 25, Sprint Center

  • The 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship returns to Kansas City for the first time since 2013. This year also marks the first time that Sprint Center has hosted Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games. 
  • The competition—known colloquially as the "Big Dance"—is a single-elimination tournament that features 68 teams vying for a chance to play in the title game, which will take place in Phoenix, Ariz. in 2017.
  • Depending on timing, tickets may be sold out but can still be purchased through The NCAA Experience and NCAA Ticket Exchange. More info can be found here.
  • All four teams advancing to the NCAA Midwest Regional will have one-hour practice slots on Wednesday, March 22, between noon and 4 p.m. Practices are free to attend and open to the public. Doors open at 11 a.m. Please enter through the Grand Street entrance. 

The College Basketball Experience

College Basketball Experience KC

All month long, The College Basketball Experience (CBE) and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame will host extended operational hours during the month of March. For a complete schedule of extended hours, go to collegebasketballexperience.com. (This offer cannot be used with other available CBE discount offers for admission). 

History of College Basketball in Kansas City


Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO

Basketball in Kansas City is more than just another sport—it’s a regional pastime. From James Naismith, innovator and inventor of basketball, to college basketball’s longest running tournament the NAIA’s National College Basketball Tournament, Kansas City remains a fervent basketball town.

See the History

Contact Visit KC