ATL gets two more basketball title games

The NCAA is adding more madness to next year’s Final Four in Atlanta.

The Divisions II and III men’s basketball championship games will be played here April 7, the NCAA announced Thursday. That’s the off day between the Division I semifinals and championship game, the annual culmination of March Madness that already was set for Atlanta.

The NCAA said the unprecedented decision to crown the champions of all three of its divisions in the same city on the same long weekend is part of the organization’s grand plan for celebrating the 75th anniversary of college basketball’s national tournament.

“This is a first in the history of NCAA basketball, and our membership is energized to play all three men’s championships games in the same city during the same weekend as a unique and special way to celebrate 75 years of March Madness,” Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances, said in a statement.

The announcement came on the opening day of the Division I basketball committee’s spring meeting in Indianapolis.

The Division I Final Four will be played in the Georgia Dome on April 6 and the championship game on April 8. The title games in the lower divisions will be played on the Sunday of Final Four weekend; the tentative site for the Divisions II and III games is Philips Arena, the NCAA said.

Starting times will be set later. The Division II game will be televised on CBS and the Division III game on CBS Sports Network.

“We could not be happier to host all three NCAA men’s basketball championships as part of the 75th celebration of March Madness,” John Yates, chair of Atlanta’s Final Four host committee, said in a statement.

Last season, the Division II quarterfinals, semifinals and final were played in Highland Heights, Ky., and the Division III semis and final were played in Salem, Va.

Only the championship games in those divisions will be played in Atlanta, NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said, and “both divisions will need to adjust the formats” of their tournaments. The Divisions II and III basketball committees will meet “to decide how to best accommodate the change in format,” Christianson said.